The Arches Launch

Friday 14 September 2018 marked the launch event for our new space, The Arches at Fineshade Wood. Expanding our programme into this newly renovated space is part of celebrating Fermynwoods Contemporary Art’s 20th anniversary and the Forestry Commission’s 100th.

The Arches launch was marked by speeches and a ribbon cutting by our Director, James Steventon, and Forestry Commission Forest Managing Director, Paddy Harrop, together with our first Artist in Residence Edwina fitzPatrick thanking all of the many participants in her project,

The Arches will serve as a project space and artist studio for The Forest Is the Museum, our programme of artists in residence and associated activity. Our launch event coincided with the culmination of Edwina fitzPatrick’s The Archive of the Trees.

In early 2018, Edwina fitzPatrick asked Fineshade Wood visitors, residents and Forestry Commission workers if weather and climate change should be addressed culturally or scientifically. In response to their unanimous answer of “both”, The Archive of the Trees combines scientific data with cultural anecdotal information, taking a local approach to a complex global phenomenon.

At the heart of the project are cores collected from mature trees in Fineshade Wood by Swansea University’s UK Oak Project. Collecting these cores – the tree’s own individual archive – does not harm the tree and reveals the tree’s age, growing patterns, past weather conditions, stresses such as diseases, as well as its individual reaction to diverse and changing weather conditions dating back several decades. Each artwork features a tree core image, as well as a timeline and excerpts from 60 conversations with diverse people who care about Fineshade Wood. The artworks span topics that affect both trees and humans in similar ways – such as pollution, seasonality, adapting to new environments or healing from wounds – as well as some very human preoccupations.

Visitors can view Edwina’s work inside The Arches, each day from 10am – 4pm, as well as within the forest itself, until December 2018.

Fineshade Wood is a natural habitat and ancient mixed broadleaf and conifer woodland, heritage site and leisure facility in Northamptonshire, 13 miles outside of Corby. The Arches is located at the main visitor centre, across from the cafe.