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OneOak Spider Bench by Ian Smith

OneOak Spider Bench by Ian Smith. In the foreground is the model, with students constructing the actual bench behind. Photo OCVC.

Students from Rycotewood Furniture Centre at Oxford & Cherwell Valley College have been working with our partner schools to design benches for their school grounds, to be made from the timber of the OneOak tree.

Furniture Design Student Ian Smith has been working with Stonesfield Primary School.  Here is his story.

The OneOak seating project was a great chance for me to involve children in the design of outdoor seating for their own school. Working with the children at Stonesfield school was an exciting opportunity for me as a designer. I was keen from the start to try to involve the children’s ideas without leading them too strongly in any set direction. I also wanted to produce a design with impact and that would make a statement so the children would feel that the tree had been transformed personally for them into something unique.

It quickly became apparent that children viewed seating in a very different way to adults. We have set standards and requirements that must be met, however, the children’s ideas were quite different. They wanted excitement and adventure, this was further reflected in the ideas and designs the children produced.

Following this lead the final design followed a spider theme that the children had included in some of their design work. The final piece reflects a spider, has a dynamic feel of movement and allows seating at different heights, hopefully a reflection of the children’s ideas and wants.

This project showed me that involving the children created a completely different approach to my usual work, the children added ideas and concepts without the restrictions of the standards we all adhere to. This was a valuable lesson in designing with an open mind.

Ian Smith, Furniture Design Student 2010/2011, RYCOTEWOOD FURNITURE CENTRE.
Artist in Residence 2011/2012

A unique project following the full life story of a single oak tree reaches a finale this week, with the first of a series of manor exhibitions at Art in Action, where all the items made from the tree are being brought together for the first time. The products range from the waste sawdust used by legendary chef Raymond Blanc to smoke salmon, to a throne chair worth £6000, and dozens of other items including charcoal, wood block prints, tables, benches, door, house, boat, and woodchip for bioenergy.

  • The OneOak project is an environmental project of the Sylva Foundation, following the full life story of one oak tree.
  • The aim of the project is to bring people closer to the importance of our woodlands and of wood in modern society.
  • The 222 year old OneOak tree was felled on the Blenheim Estate in January 2010, witnessed by 250 school children. It had been grown in a plantation for its timber, having been planted in 1788; the same year that The Times was first published and when the French Revolution was just beginning to stir.
  • The OneOak tree is now the most studied oak tree in Britain: it has been weighed, measured with lasers to create a 3D model, studied by a dendrochronologist, and had its carbon content estimated.
  • It has been featured by dozens of artists, sculptors and photographers.
  • Many of Britain’s leading designer-makers have made items using the wood of the OneOak tree. These total over 40 different products, and counting.
  • The 250 children who witnessed the felling each planted a young oak tree in January 2011, one year after the tree was felled, to fulfil the cycle in sustainable forest management.
  • The first exhibition is at Art in Action, followed by six weeks at Blenheim Palace, then six weeks at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

 

Chief Executive of the Sylva Foundation and project co-ordinator Dr Gabriel Hemery said “this has been an amazing project that has inspired both the public and those who make a living working with wood and caring for our woodlands. Everyone has given their time to the project in so many different ways because they have been inspired by the concept:- the realisation that trees and wood are still vital to life even in modern society.”

Dr Hemery continued “after three years of hard work it is immensely exciting to be bringing together all the various elements of the OneOak project for our exhibitions during the Summer and Autumn. We will be able to show the public the stunning artwork, spell-binding films, earth-shattering science, and the myriad of truly amazing wood-based products. The only products that we won’t be able include in real life in the exhibitions will be the house and the boat!”

The OneOak exhibition at Art in Action is replacing the usual ‘Woodworking’ section; the marquee will be filled uniquely with all the products of the OneOak tree. Artists, musicians, sculptors and designer-makers will be on-hand to talk and demonstrate about their work in the OneOak project. Some 25,000 people are expected to attend over the four days, and where special measures have been put in place to cope with the soggy ground.  See note from Art in Action

The following have been made to date: firewood, woodchip (to heat a house for 6 weeks), sawdust for smoking food by Raymond Blanc, charcoal, bracing beams for a house, transom beam in a boat rowed in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Flotilla, door and frame, chest, pedestal table, coffee table, throne chair, clock, lantern, moebius sculpture, jewellery, acorn oakbot sculpture from waste slabwood, memorial sculpture, carved bowls, carved spoons, turned bowls, carvings, automata, commemorative garden bench by disabled workers, five benches for primary schools including the spider bench, contemplation bench, MakeIT! bench national school design competition, nesting tables, fine furniture competition winners pieces, small craft items, deer, viola chin rest, printing blocks, relief carving, sounding bowl.

Details of the OneOak products along with the stories of their making can be found here: www.oneoak.info/wood_products.php

The project website is www.OneOak.info

Exhibition dates:

Art in Action, Waterperry                             19th – 22nd July 2012                      Art in Action

Blenheim Palace                                               25th July – 4th October                  OneOak at Blenheim Palace

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh               12th October – 2nd December    Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh


More information

download the full News Release

download the full News Release

Download the full News Release

 

end of News Release

OneOak website

OneOak website

Over the last two and a half years, ever since the OneOak tree was felled in January 2010, we have been endeavoring to make as many and as varied items as possible from the tree to demonstrate how important trees and wood are to us in modern life.

Now that the first of our finale exhibitions is about to open (Art in Action July 19-22), we can list for the first time the number and variety of items made from the OneOak tree.

Here is a list of items made so far that exceeds 30 in number, while for some items there have been multiple versions (e.g. benches for five different schools) – the links point to stories on the OneOak blog over the last two and half years. See also our Products page on the OneOak website

  1. firewood from branchwood
  2. woodchip, from branchwood, for heating a house
  3. sawdust for smoking food, waste from processing other items
  4. charcoal
  5. bracing beams for a house
  6. transom beam in a boat, rowed in the Queens’ Diamond Jubilee Flotilla
  7. door and frame
  8. chest
  9. pedestal table
  10. coffee table
  11. throne chair
  12. clock
  13. lantern
  14. moebius sculpture
  15. jewellery
  16. acorn oakbot sculpture, from waste slabwood
  17. memorial sculpture, from branchwood
  18. carved bowls
  19. carved spoons
  20. turned bowls
  21. carvings
  22. automata
  23. Commemorative garden bench
  24. five benches for primary schools, including the spider bench
  25. contemplation bench
  26. MakeIT! bench, national school design competition
  27. nesting tables, fine furniture competition winner
  28. small craft items
  29. deer
  30. viola chin rest
  31. printing blocks
  32. relief carving
  33. sounding bowl

We will update this list in the future and include information on some of the items that so far have not been featured in the OneOak blog.

We hope to see at one of our exhibitions during 2012

 

Last year, students from Oxford & Cherwell Valley College’s (OCVC) Rycotewood Furniture Centre worked with all the school children in the OneOak project to design outdoor seating (read more). The students based their designs on the work of the children, and five schools are now proud owners of some unique seating in their playgrounds, made from the green (unseasoned) timber of the OneOak tree.

One year later, the remaining boards cut from the main stem of the OneOak tree have been seasoned and are with many professional furniture makers, joiners and craftspeople. Some of the boards were donated to OCVC for a fine furniture competition, and students there have been hard at work drawing up plans and scale models for their entries.

Last week an expert panel came together to view the entries. They were Joe Bray from OCVC Rycotewood, Dr Simon Fineman who is Chairman and CEO of  Timbmet, Dr Philip Koomen of Philip Koomen Furniture, and our own CEO Dr Gabriel Hemery.

OneOak fine furniture competition judging 2012

OneOak fine furniture competition 2012 judging panel. Left to right: Joe Bray OCVC; Dr Simon Fineman, Chairman & CEO Timbmet; Dr Philip Koomen, Philip Koomen Furniture; Dr Gabriel Hemery, CEO Sylva Foundation

The judges were delighted with the number of entries and their quality. It was exciting to see the talent emerging in a new generation of craftspeople. It was difficult making our decision but two winning entries were identified. The makers will be informed today and we will make a full announcement on this website soon.

The two winners will be donated the OneOak boards to make their winning designs; the furniture pieces joining our OneOak exhibitions from July onwards.

Art in Action 2011

For the second year running we are taking the OneOak exhibition to Art in Action; one the UK’s major art shows.

This year we are delighted to have some of our makers and collaborators alongside us in the Woodworking area.  These include Richard Fox sculptor, Rodas Irving green furniture maker, Martin Damen green woodworker, Rycotewood Furniture Centre, Living Woods magazine, DZ Design and Simon Clements.

We will be showing several of our films, displaying some of the inspiring original works of art, and have several large pieces that have been already been made from the OneOak tree.  We will display the memorial sculpture made by Simon Clements, a spider bench made by Ian Smith of Rycotewood, and we will display the first length of timber and the 22 boards from the tree in the form that it’s been dried at the sawmill.

For the first time we are also selling limited edition prints of some of the artwork.

Art in Action is on between Thursday 21st and Sunday 24th July – we hope to see you there.

Find out more including directions and about the show

SYLVA

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England and Wales 1128516
and in Scotland SC041892

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