Celebrating Westonbirt's 2000 Year Old Lime
This March at Westonbirt Arboretum, renowned artist and sculptor Richard Harris will be creating a sculpture over 10 metres in height to celebrate one of Britain's oldest trees - the arboretum's 2000 Year Old Lime located here in Silk Wood.
Creation of the sculpture will involve the use of hundreds of huge stems cut recently as part of the traditional management process of the small-leaved lime (Tilia cordata) called coppicing. Coppicing is the periodic cutting-back of tree stems to encourage healthy re-growth and longevity. It's this management process which has allowed this particular tree to live this long.
The sculpture will remain at the site of the 2000 Year Old Lime in Silk Wood for the next 5 to 10 years whilst the lime stems re-grow.
Work on the sculpture’s supporting structure started in late February. Westonbirt’s Tree Team helped Richard Harris to secure the steel cylindrical supporting frame into place.
Richard is now working with a group of volunteers to secure the lime stems to the frame. The volunteer group are a mix of Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum and local artists or those simply interested in helping out on the project.
Volunteers positioned on a platform about five metres off the ground are helping to winch the stems into position. The stems are then secured to the frame using wire. Things seem to be going to plan - working on about 10-20 stems per day, Richard Harris expects the sculpture to be finished by 15 March.
Over the next few days we will use the Westonbirt Tree Team’s ‘cherry picker’, or mobile elevated platform, to try and get some ariel shots of the sculpture. In the meantime, here are a few photos from the ground and a sketch of the planned sculpture to get an idea of how this work of art is taking shape.