A gem of an evening in the woods

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On Saturday, June 13 the “Wood People Connective” was proud to present, “Wilding”, a free, off-grid, forest arts event in Church Wood, Hastings. Supported by an Arts Council England / National Lottery grant, they commissioned six local artists to create site-specific art installations using foraged timber and natural materials. Artists included Turner Prize nominated Project Artworks. According to organiser Beccy McCray the different pieces “were inspired by woodland dens, ideas of home, shelter, wilderness and innate wildness.”

Each artist is paired with a local community group, from schools to people with dementia and those surviving the streets, to create and where possible build together in the woods. They also curated intimate, acoustic music and nature themed storytelling to place amongst the installations alongside a participatory craft workshop. Beccy McCray added: “all by the community, for the community, unplugged and in the woods!”  The project knows that Hastings in parts is a disadvantaged area, with the highest child poverty level in England. For this reason all events are free.

Timberlina, who lives in Rye and is well known for his wonderful performances, was chosen for just such a free event in the woods. It was the most idyllic space for his environmentally inspired songs and jokes, with guitar, and his personal creation of yoga poses with a drink.

The group of about thirty, sitting on wooden stools specially made for these occasions, (with distancing observed) laughed, clapped and asked for more. The beautiful trees shaded the audience from the sun but it glistened through the leaves, just a great atmosphere and feeling.

“Wilding” ultimately tries to get people out into nature for their wellbeing, to connect people with trees and nature through creativity.

Image Credits: Heidi Foster .

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