Official launch of new art space at wood near Corby

The official launch of The Arches at Fineshade Wood
The official launch of The Arches at Fineshade Wood

A new art space has been launched at Fineshade Wood near Corby.

The Arches had its official launch on Friday, with the newly renovated space being part of the celebrations for Fermynwoods Contemporary Art’s 20th anniversary and the Forestry Commission’s 100th.

Friday's ribbon cutting

Friday's ribbon cutting

The launch was marked by speeches and a ribbon cutting by director James Steventon and Forestry Commission Forest managing director Paddy Harrop.

The Arches will serve as a project space and artist studio for The Forest Is the Museum, a programme of artists in residence and associated activity.

And the 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, which does not harm the tree, 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, including pollution, seasonality, adapting to new environments or healing from wounds, as well as some very human preoccupations.

People can view Edwina’s work inside The Arches on weekdays from 10am to 4pm, as well as within the forest itself until December 2018.

The Arches is located at the main visitor centre, across from the cafe at Fineshade Wood.