The Tree Compass Project
My work as a nature journal artist over the last seven years has lead me to take a deep interest in the trees in my area. I began by noticing the changes that happen over the year, leaves appearing, fruiting to leaves falling. Which I began documenting in my nature journal. Learning more and being able to identify different trees, taking more notice of their place in my community and the birds and wildlife that rely on them, adding to my knowledge over the years.
This has inspired me to look at the history of the lanscape where I live, from prehistoric times when the land was filled with giant Horsetails, to pagan times (the time of the Brigante tribe) when trees where revered for their food, medicine and presence in the landscape. I live in an ex coal mining area and without trees it wouldn't be the place it is now.
I have deepend my connection with the trees in my area over the years by using their wood, leaves and berries as art materials. Making inks and pens from each different tree, creating a relationnship between myself and the trees in my town. Working on several projects using trees as my inspiration.
This made me wonder if other people in my town cared about the trees, and if they had any connections or stories about the trees where we live, and the idea of a 'Garforth tree project' began to form.
During an earlier Leeds 2023 exhibition run in my town I had the pleasure of becoming friends with Amy Baxter of Hawthorn Wellbeing, in the process I found someone else in my town who also cared for the trees.
Amy is a yoga teacher and well being facilitator, and when the chance came to be involved with Leeds 2023 in our area we decided to collaborate. We both recognise the deep rich history of Garforth and feel passionate about mindfulness and nature being a resource for making healthy, sustainable, community connections.. The Tree Compass Project was born.
Every Friday in May and June we met at a different tree in our area. Travelling around the points of the compass, choosing trees in different areas. 9 different types of tree.
Taking a moment of mindfulness to calm and connect, then sketching and learning about each tree. Open to everyone of all abilities, a place to be free to put pen to paper and be creative, no expectations or judgement.
It's been proven that spending time in nature and with trees is beneficial to our body and wellbeing. Drawing and being creative is a human need that many of us forget as we grow older, spending time observing and drawing brings relaxation and calm, especially when done outside in nature.
Our last tree sessions are on Friday 30th June and Sunday 2nd July, but you can still contribute to our project up until the 23rd July. When there will be an exhibition/celebration at Great Preston Village Hall.
We’re calling all residents to connect to trees in their local area. Using the compass and trees as a starting point we invite people to create collaborative, community art. Download and print the sketchbook below starting with where you live, look to the North, South, East and West, and note/draw what trees you have around your house.
You can also contribute in any medium, knitting, crochet, writing, painting, drawing, printing, embroidery, and photography. The contributions can be made at home, and brought to be added to the map.
Print the document on A4 paper, instructi0ns for how to fold are below.
Copyright Angela Hennessy ©2023
If you share or use any of the ideas here, please remember to reference me and link to my website..