Winter at Marton Wood

Winter is naturally a season of slowness, and Marton Wood is no exception. As a Slow Art project, we’ve been embracing this season to think about ideas and develop the direction of the project.

We’ve also had the opportunity to spend more time with the local community of Marton cum Grafton. As well as the artists using the wood for their own artistic exploration. 

Here’s what’s been happening in our Marton Wood project this Winter.

Marton cum Grafton Creative Workshop Taster Session

In February, we invited Marton cum Grafton residents to a free drop-in creative session. Held at the local Memorial Hall, we offered two different creative workshops on the day. Both activities were suitable for all ages. The workshops were run by Sue Harrison and Laney Birkhead, two artists who are exploring Marton Wood in their practices.

Felt-making with Sue Harrison

Sue Harrison ran a felt-making workshop. Using the wet felting technique, attendees were invited to make ‘pockets’ from natural fleece, trapping woodland materials within the layers. Participants could quickly make a pocket, or spend more time adding embellishments and cords.

During her wanderings through Marton Wood, Sue is aiming to understand herself as part of the natural landscape by recording the responses of all her senses, mental and physical. It leads her to wonder at the intertwined entanglement of life forms and ever-changing cycles of growth and decay and reminds her that we are part of these cycles. 

Printing-making with Laney Birkhead

Laney Birkhead ran a print-making workshop.

Participants began with an introduction to the phenomenon of Canopy or Crown Shyness – where the branches of the trees do not touch each other, forming a canopy with channel-like gaps. They were then invited to trace a section of the tree canopy onto a template, carve it out, and print the tree section onto a collaborative canopy. 

All participant's work will be a part of a large collaborative print inspired by the natural patterns found in Marton Wood. 

Over the last twelve months, Laney has been observing the tree canopy in the woodland, developing ideas related to the relationships between the trees, plants, and wildlife, and is now planning new artwork in response to these findings. She wants to explore how interactions with light shape the woodland, develop different ecotone areas and benefit the environment and wildlife. 

School Workshops

Following our Autumn school workshops, we’ve run two creative workshops this February. Laney Birkhead taught the students about the same crown of shyness concept and invited them to create their own prints. Due to a lack of time in an often busy classroom environment, Laney will be adding these prints to the collaborative canopy over the coming weeks. We’re looking forward to seeing the canopy all put together.

Later this month, Sue Harrison will be leading felt-making sessions at the school.

Research and Collaboration

Over the past few months we’ve continued to meet with potential collaborators at Marton Wood. Carolyn Thompson, our CPD Manager, has met several times with Simon Pickles of the North and East Yorkshire Ecological Data Network. We’re keen to explore ways data can be used and shared around the wood.

After months of conversations and ideas, we’re excited to welcome Simon to the Wood for his first session with our small group of involved artists. He’ll be running a sound recording session in the wood on 29 March. 

We've also been meeting with other local organisations, which we hope to have more to tell you about soon.

This week marks a Spring Equinox. As the wood shakes off the frost and snow of this past Winter, we’re looking forward to spending more time there.

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