Rachel Nightingale of the Isle of Wight AONB Project organised the commission that took place at Gurnard School and culminated in an Archway, a Seat and some stamped labels naming different types of tree in their orchard.
Partners were Southern Arts, the Tree Council, the Gurnard Environmental Group and the friends of Gurnard school.
I worked with All the children at the school and ended up with an incredible amount of material to choose from for artworks for their reclaimed orchard. The area was conceived as an outside classroom; a place providing recreational and educational qualities as well as an introduction to growing food in the allotment that would end up being used in cookery lessons.
I made labels out of letter punched steel for ten different types of apple tree; Bramleys Seedling, Blenheim Orange, Golden Noble, Millicent Barnes, Starks Earliest, Newton Wonder, Deacons Blushing Beauty and the Sir John Thorneycroft.
The shape for the Archway was found in a tiny drawing of a waterspout and the plan of the seat from a drawing showing the relationship between the island and the mainland.
During the early stages, to make the whole process more accessible I looked for a workshop on the island but ended up making everything at my own premises on the mainland. At one point a group of children came over to see the work in progress.
Upon completion early in 1997 there was the ’ Local Character Day’ conference where Sue Clifford of Common Ground spoke about local distinctiveness and Robert Hutchinson Director of Southern Arts spoke about the role of the Arts on the Island. I also spoke celebrating what a great little project it had been.