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Five of the 12 UK sculptors at this year’s Festival of the Tree at Westonbirt Arboretum come from the West.
From Monday 23 – Monday 30 August, the five West Country woodcarvers, from Gloucestershire and Somerset, will join some of the UK’s most talented sculptors at the Sculptree giant woodcarving event at the festival.
Returning to Sculptree this year is Stroud based sculptor Dan Hunt. His sculpture ‘Massive Attack’ sold in 2009 for an impressive £6,500.
Dan’s design for this year is titled ‘Karma Chameleon’. He describes the giant chameleon climbing the world’s tallest building to catch a fighter plane as “representative of the battle raging between man and nature”.
Other sculptors from the region include fellow Stroud residents, Ant Beetlestone, who will chainsaw and chisel the figure of ‘St. Christopher’ and Neil Gow with his carving titled ‘The Dragon’.
Tewkesbury based Tom Harvey will create ‘The Fox and the Bear’ and Somerset’s John Wingfield will carve his mythically inspired sculpture ‘Awakening: the Rebirth of Aphrodite’.
A total of 24 tonnes of sustainably felled wood from the Forestry Commission managed arboretum will be transformed. The giant sculptures will be auctioned on Bank Holiday Monday in support of Tree Aid; the UK’s only forestry-based development charity. Proceeds will be split between Tree Aid, the sculptor and Westonbirt Arboretum.
This year’s Sculptree masterpieces will cover an array of themes, from fantasy through to the natural world. The sculptors have each given a short description of their visions and the design sketches are available to see on www.forestry.gov.uk/westonbirt.
The Festival of the Tree is open from 9am-5pm. From 23 to 26 August, admissions are adults £8, concessions £7 and children go free (18 years and under).
From Friday 27 August to bank holiday Monday, adult admission is £10, concessions £9 and children go free.
Westonbirt Arboretum is three miles south west of Tetbury on the A433 (Tetbury to Bath Road). It is 10 miles north east of Junction 18 of the M4, and south-east of junction 13 of the M5.
NOTES TO EDITOR:
- Tree Aid is the UK's only forestry focused development charity providing funding and on-the-ground training and support to local organisations in the Sahel of Africa. Tree Aid is enabling communities in Africa's drylands to fight poverty and become self-reliant, while improving the environment. Tree Aid’s work, which also strengthens villagers' resilience to the impact of climate change, has never been more important. More information at www.treeaid.org.uk.
- Westonbirt - the National Arboretum is part of the Forestry Commission estate and is renowned worldwide for its tree and shrub collection. Home to the National Japanese Maple (Acer) collection, the National Arboretum covers 243 hectares (600 acres) and contains 16,000 specimens. Visitor numbers are 350,000 a year, with a membership of 23,000. Westonbirt Arboretum was established in the 1850s by wealthy landowner Robert Holford, and later developed by his son George Holford. Unlike many arboreta, Westonbirt is laid out according to aesthetic appeal rather than scientific or geographical criteria.
- The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Further information can be found at www.forestry.gov.uk
- Westonbirt – the National Arboretum is part of the Westonbirt Heritage Partnership, which consists of the Forestry Commission, Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum, Westonbirt School and the Holfords of Westonbirt Trust. The Partnership plans to reconnect the historic Westonbirt estate, conserve its unique heritage and inspire future visitors through the Westonbirt Project, supported by The Heritage Lottery Fund.
- The Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum was formed in 1985. The charity’s objects are to support the National Arboretum in promoting public understanding of the crucial role of trees to the environment and society. It is funded by membership receipts from 25,000 members, other fundraising, and the use of the Great Oak Hall for events and activities.
Katrina Podlewska, Communications Manager, Westonbirt the National Arboretum, on 01666 881 207 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org