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The Solent, a tree, a country park and something special

It is not often you come across something special, but today was that day when walking along the shore at Fort Victoria Country Park I came across David Wallace and his horizontal tree carving.  Horizontal as the sea is ever encroaching on the land and the holm oaks are forever slip sliding into the sea.

David has taken to carving the fallen trees and this one is of the animal life of the Solent, both past and present. David stopped work for a moment and we counted how many species he had done. 24, no it was 25 in all as he had forgotten to count the seal at the base of the tree.

The Solent and the tree

View across the Solent from where David is carving the fallen tree.

I came back later in the day as David had kindly allowed me to take photos of him and his work. Whilst there I watched him engage with passers by enthralled by his work – he really is knowledgeable about the marine environment and people keep asking questions – often he spends more time talking to people than carving – but then it is all voluntary, so there are no targets to keep.

It’s the ‘aquarium’ for the ranger explained David – much easier to illustrate what lives in the sea than from any book or a picture. David has been carving since 8 years old, mostly public works of art with the occasional private commission. The Solent carving has taken two months and he says he will keep going until it is finished or indeed until it gets washed away by the sea.

Tree carving

Admiring the tree carving on the shoreline

A passer-by asked me what my favourite carving was, I immediately said the limpet, but on second thoughts it’s probably the sand slater or maybe even the stingray…

Location: Fort Victoria Country Park, Isle of Wight.

Addendum: This year we celebrate the Countryside Act’s 50th Anniversary.  One of the outcomes of the Act was the creation of Country Parks – and a key component of Country Parks was enjoyment of the countryside and I reckon David Wallace’s work is a fine example of Country Parks in action today.

UPDATE: On the night of October 17th someone came to the Country Park sawed the carving from its trunk and stole the lovely carving and took it away. Now all that remains of David’s work of all Summer long is a tree stump. If you ever get offered or see anything resembling David’s tree carving from the pics above please inform the Police.

Urban regeneration in New York

The High Line, New York

The High Line, New York showing viewing platform

I had a great opportunity to visit the High Line in New York recently to meet some staff and volunteers who gave an excellent tour of this city regeneration initiative.

Built in the late 1920s as a freight only line the ‘High Line’ in New York served many factories and warehouses and was raised above ground to reduce congestion, improve safety and increase efficiency.

By 1980 the last train ran along the tracks and for the next decade or so the High Line became derelict and a no go area. It was only with the threat of demolition in  the 1990s that local people and city organisations came together to work out a future for the line.

And what a great example of urban regeneration it has been! I was particularly impressed with how well it is managed with a combination of the Friends of the High Line volunteers and staff and the city parks dept among others. Plus how the old architecture fits in with the modern new build of offices and homes. Now a tourist attraction in its own right the next section to be opened, with views of the Hudson River, will have minimal management where visitors  will be able to walk along a path through self-sown vegetation to contrast that of the more managed southern section.

The High Line

The High Line’s unique planting set against new build.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The High Line is well worth a visit when next in New York and hopefully inspiration for UK projects in Liverpool and London who have used Spacehive to help crowdfund and promote their work

More High Line images can be viewed here.

Accelerator – crowdfunding artists

Launched in August 2014, Accelerator is the new crowdfunding platform for creative people.

Developed by Ideas Tap, and arts charity and funder, Accelerator is offering artists a way to raise project funding themselves, without the normal commission fees normally charged by other crowdfunding platforms. Let’s hope that this new crowdfunding platform can get enough publicity and backing to become a valuable supporter of the arts.

Sponsored by the Peter De Haan Charitable Trust, Accelerator will accept campaigns relating to the arts including photography, film, visual arts, journalism and writing and publishing.

Details:  Ideas Tap

The UK’s largest art project celebrating the environment and promoting sustainability

The UK’s largest art project celebrating the environment and promoting sustainability.

Open to anyone aged 4 – 19 years old.

Can you encourage young people to be involved in this forward thinking initiative to celebrate their local environment through Art?

Participants (aged 4 – 19 years) are invited to bring their local landscape, coastline or neighbourhood to life to celebrate where they live. Artworks will be shared on the projects online gallery with submissions closing at the end of May to conclude with the lead up to the UN World Conservation Day on the 5th June 2015

Details : http://www.itisourworld.org.uk/

Deadline: End of May 2015