The willow Earth and workshops based around it, initially part of the May 27th ‘Sculpture in the Woods day’, were successfully staged at the Timber festival over the 5th-7th July. We were able to rebuild the earth structure at Timber and run an extended set of workshops there. Visitors were encouraged to write positive healing thoughts on ribbons of muslin to hang in the ‘Earth” – these became symbolic roots to protect the Earth as well as acting like prayer flags to take these messages away on the wind. Adults and children took part in this, writing, then tying their message in the Earth. Over the weekend more strips were added to the installation, a space where visitors could go inside, read positive thoughts and contemplate our place in nature.
It became particularly beautiful in the evening as the sun set through the willow, illuminating the colours in the muslin, as they moved in the wind. We installed some of the tree spheres from the outwoods in adjacent trees, and ran 2 drop in workshops to make small willow earths. These ran over both afternoons and proved very popular. In the mornings we held sewing workshops, sewing meditative words on prayer flags to take away. Both these were for adults and older children, or families working together. Around 130 people wrote on muslin, 60 people made a willow sphere and 10 people sewed prayer flags.
ArtSpace workshops at the Into The Outwoods Sculpture Trail were declared a great success. Despite the challenging weather at the sculpture trail opening event, around 700 visitors, adults, children and families, worked together and enjoyed getting creative willow weaving, felting, monoprinting, making woodland mobiles and weaving yarn. Hundreds more attended the ‘Sculpture in the woods day’, with workshops taking place at 5 locations along the trail.
Here are a few photographs to remember the occasion ……
Over six weeks this spring an estimated 20,000 – 30,000 visitors experienced the ArtSpace ‘Into The Outwoods Sculpture Trail’.
Nita Rao completed 20 days working as ‘artist in residence’ in the Loughborough Outwoods. In addition 13 commissions were given to local charnwood artists, mostly ArtSpace members, to add to Nitas’ residency work to make a mile and a quarter long trail.
Continue on this blog to take a virtual walk along the trail ……
Click here to visit Nita Rao Art to see some of her more ephemeral work from her residency.
If you have visited the Sculpture Trail and/or taken part in our drop-in workshops please complete this quick survey for us. It will help us feedback to our sponsors, help with funding for future projects and help us provide better projects. Thank you very much!
How to find us ….
ArtSpace are inviting the public to come along to the Loughborough Outwoods on 27th May for our ‘Sculpture in the Woods Day’. Get creative in a series of free sculpture drop-in workshops spread along the Sculpture Trail. Eight drop-in trail-based workshops will run between 10.30am and 4.30pm allowing visitors to both make work to take home as well as work on a larger collaborative piece to remain on the trail.
Workshops will aim to inspire, engage and challenge adults, young people and children, enhancing their opportunity to experience and be inspired by the sculpture trail and reconnect with this ancient woodland. Try felting a pebble or contribute to making a fantasy woodland landscape using clay and natural woodland materials. You will also be able to make your own fish from willow withies and much more. The full program for the ‘Sculpture in the Woods Day’ is posted below.
The workshops are all part of the Into The Outwoods Sculpture Trail, an ArtSpace initiative which will see a 1 1/4 mile sculpture trail weave its way through the Outwoods for 6 weeks, from 27th April to 9th June. Find the ‘Keeper of the Woods’, giant felted bluebells, willow tree spheres, an owl, jumping willow horse and much more!
Twelve commissioned artists created and installed their work in the woods over the Easter holiday period, 15-26th April, allowing visitors to observe the process and talk with the artists. Work is figurative as well as abstract, using natural materials, felt, willow, ceramic and metal.
The opening event for the sculpture trail on the 27th and 28th April was a great success despite the howling gale at the start. It included two days of free public drop-in workshops.
ArtSpace are a Charnwood based group of professional and semi-professional artists that formed in 1997. The Project has been generously supported by Arts Council England, The National Forest and Charnwood Borough Council.
May 27th Workshop Programme
Create a mini landscape 10.30 – 1.00 with Lisa Denham
Come and join in a collaborative workshop and help to create a mini landscape. Add as much or as little as you want using clay and things found in the woods. The woods will be the inspiration, the creatures that could be
found there, or ones from
Don’t Mess with Mother Earth 10.30 – 1.00 with Jacqueline Palmer
Re-using the material of the piece which is imbued with the elements Air, Water, Fire (Sun) , Earth and Spirit, this workshop expresses respect for the environment and will contribute to its protection through your Memory Bundle.
Earth 10.30 – 1.00 and 2.00 – 4.30 with Nita Rao
Help create roots to symbolically heal and hold our Earth together. Write down positive thoughts on ribbons of muslin and tie them inside the willow ‘Earth’. Wrap branches and twigs to create trees to take home as a reminder of these healing thoughts.
Felting with found objects 10.30 – 1.00 and 2.00 – 4.30 with Susheel Rao
Come and play with felting! Find a fallen stick, a stone or something similar and cover all or part with felt. We will have some pebbles if you prefer, a selection of coloured wools, and warm water to felt it all.
Make a fish with willow withies 10.30 – 1.00 and 2.00 – 4.30 with Jo Sheppard
In this workshop you will use willow
withies and recycled materials to
make two and three dimensional fish.
ArtSpace have won national funding to stage the biggest woodland art event to happen in Charnwood for decades, perhaps ever! Mountsorrel artist Nita Rao, main creator behind the event, has undertaken an 8 week ‘artist residency’ in the spectacular woodland setting to wet the public appetite and set the scene. This will be followed by a six week long sculpture trail leading through the woodland featuring artworks from eleven commissioned artists.
The Sculpture Trail in Charnwood’s Outwoods, just outside Loughborough, will be opened with
a weekend art event, including free creative drop-in workshops for the public, on 27th and 28th
April. The Trail will be open until the 9th June. Nita’s residency started on 18th February and will
continue until the opening of the Sculpture Trail.
Mountsorrel based photographer and ArtSpace member Tony Thory, said ‘last year’s smaller
event was such a success, and because the public appetite for opportunities to be creative
outdoors in beautiful natural surroundings was clearly so large, ArtSpace members decided to
go all out and stage a bigger and better event that would last longer and meander through a
large part of the woodland.’
As artist in residence, Nita will spend 2 or 3 days a week developing new work in the woods
from natural and found materials, taking inspiration from the Outwoods itself.
The eleven commissioned artists will be creating and installing their work on site over the Easter
holiday period, 15-26th April, allowing visitors to observe the process and talk with the artists.
The opening event for the Sculpture Trail will include two days of free public drop-in workshops
developed in response to work in the trail. During the six week trail further free workshops will
be held during a ‘sculpture-in-the-woods day’. Four day-long drop-in trail-based workshops will
allow visitors to make work to take home as well as work on a larger collaborative piece to
remain on the trail.
The Project has been generously supported by Arts Council England, The National Forest and Charnwood Borough Council. For further updated information see facebook – Into the Outwoods Sculpture Trail.
Following the success of the ‘Into The Outwoods Sculpture Week’ event last spring, the Loughborough Outwoods Management Committee have given their approval to plans for a bigger and better event in spring 2019. The event will include free creative art workshops for the public as well as a six week long ‘Sculpture Trail’ through the woodland itself. The organisers, Loughborough ArtSpace, are now seeking funding to stage the event and make it a reality.
The event will take place next April/May and will follow on from an eight week ‘Artist Residency’ by local Sculptor Nita Rao in February/March. She will be making work in the woodland in response to the environment, temporary ephemeral work as well as more substantial pieces which may form elements of the sculpture trail. In addition ArtSpace hope to commission around 10 artists to make work specifically for the sculpture trail. All work for the trail will be installed mid April and the trail will be officially opened with a weekend event at the end of the easter holidays, 27/28 April, including free creative drop-in workshops for the public.
A full programme of events will be announced as the plans develop. You can also follow the event via facebook : IntoTheOutwwodsSculptureTrail2019.
Ten Artists celebrated art and nature in this temporary woodland sculpture exhibition. They made work in response to the Outwoods and the natural rhythms of our environment, some of which was created on site in the lead up to the exhibition.
Better known for her paintings, Jo Sheppard used the Outwoods Sculpture Week as an opportunity to produce three dimensional work using willow. Inspired by her love of horses, she produced a brood mare and foal using a sustainable sculptural process (as it is made purely from willow with no metal frame or support structures).
‘This Tenuous Earth’. Iron and steel
My work is mainly about the interlinking of the terrestrial and the celestial and a reverence and humility in the face of Nature.
I have exhibited in three ‘Sculpture in the Garden’ exhibitions at National Trust properties. The Outwoods Sculpture Week has enabled me to work on a larger scale and is a continuation of a piece I exhibited some years ago called Matter and Material.
As stone turns to sand and sand turns to stone with the passing of time, so our world is in a constant state of flux and renewal. I hope my work is an echo of this.
Through working with willow and natural materials I have become ever more aware of the cycles of change within the natural flow of the world around me. To be able to combine art and nature for the Outwoods has been a joy.
I have a background in graphic art and a degree in printmaking.
My printmaking and my painting work focuses on nature and the environment. I have always had a keen interest in the crafts and knitting has enabled me to create these tree stems. I have made an interpretation of tree trunks with their roots and the textures of bark.
This piece is made from cones of crank clay and low fired using the ancient technique known as Raku. The cones are set in a stoneware tray and contain cones collected from the Outwoods.
Sally Reayer and others: ‘Ceramic Woodland Birds’ This installation has been created cooperatively by a small group of artists during a skill share workshop. The birds are made from crank clay and fired to stoneware temperature without glaze. They represent and celebrate a range of British birds which reside in the Outwoods.
Sally Reayer and others: ‘To draw the eye’ . Take time to stand and stare. Take time to stroll and listen. Take time to enjoy the sounds and the scents of the woodland. Free yourself from the noise and rush of life if only for an hour.
My work is about the objects we gather throughout our lives, to remind ourselves of events, people and moments in time. These objects prompt our memories and result in stories. Stories we tell and retell to remind ourselves of those we love and experiences we had. Stories to enlighten, to warn, to guide, to explain what we don’t understand. To remind ourselves of times past. With each telling the stories change – layers within layers, of memories, thoughts, belief and hope. Ultimately, stories are about the ties that bind; weaving those you love closer together and keeping them safe.
Originally trained as a painter, I’ve approached this new foray into sculpture as a three- dimensional extension of some of my 2D painting work which explores painterly surfaces and characteristics.
This three-part work echoes forms, textures and colours found on the forest floor such as bark, rock, fungal growth, twigs, holes and general detritus. The out-sized robin’s nest stands apart, but is linked in form via the arched twigs.
I am usually a 2D artist and this is my first venture into sculpture. This work is inspired by waves and by Barbara Hepworth’s sculpture of the same name.
Sculpture inspired by walks through the Outwoods. Stopping and looking around me, observing beautiful bark found on the trees and woodland floor, taking in the beauty of the natural landscape.
Created using hand wet felting techniques, mixed media and willow.
Sue is a mixed media artist who has worked as a Community Artist, across the East Midlands, for 25 years.
There is so much to enjoy in the woods but it’s hard to stay in the moment and focus on the present. When in the present for long enough to hear/see/smell/feel something special Pam rewards herself by picking something resembling a tally stick off the ground. For the last few weeks she has collected sticks in this way and has arranged them appropriately to see how well she can discipline her mind.
ArtSpace were delighted to be featured in the BBC East Midlands Today programme on Monday 30 April !
Following unprecedented interest in the ‘Into The Outwoods Sculpture Week’ event and after around 2000 public visited over the sat and sun, a film crew came to record a feature on the Monday morning which was then broadcast in the evening and late evening news shows that day.