Fermynwoods Friday 1 – Light Night

To celebrate 20 years of Fermynwoods Contemporary Art, every Friday throughout the year we will be making a blog post looking back at some of our favourite activity. For our first Fermynwoods Friday, our founder Rosalind Stoddart recalls some of her favourite moments.

It started twenty years ago in 1998 with an exhibition in my front room with the help of artist and friend David Holmes. I hand made all the private view cards on my direct litho press. Over the next eleven years more and more people came and found us in rural Northamptonshire and friendships were forged which last to this day. We started running workshops and people gave me exhibitions after seeing my work in my studio. We formed a partnership with the Forestry Commission, became a charity and had good support from Arts Council England and other funders.

I have so many highlights to recall, but James has asked me to mention only a few:

I will never forget urban-centric Kurt Laurenz Theinert sitting outside the cottages at the beginning of his residency in 2008 looking lost – “What do I do in all this nature!” After his first scheduled Light Night (a series of night time light installations in Fermyn Woods) everything had to be cancelled due to bad weather an hour before hundreds of people were due to turn up. He had a second go. It was a perfect evening of four white light installations along the track to the cottages with a fifth, the full moon, to guide the public. It was magical, as was Richard Woods’ cladding of the cottages – an amazing feat with the Hansel and Gretel performance walks over the fields to the ‘witches’ cottages.

I still have the walnut leaves from Alex Metcalf’s canopy installation in the main room at the Water Tower and happy memories of children listening to the water rising in a tree in Fermyn Woods Country Park.

Oh, and people still talk about Nick Horrigan’s waterfall of wood out of the Tower window.

I have to stop, I was told about 200 words, I want to mention more. But one thing further I will say, I am so pleased Fermynwoods Contemporary Art is still continuing on its journey.

Rosalind Stoddart

Look out for more Fermynwoods Friday posts each week looking back on some of our favourite projects.

Kurt Laurenz Theinert - Light Night