23rd July 2010
Ashton Court, Bristol, UK
What a brilliant twist! I went looking for a tree for tomorrow’s 50 people tree and ended up interviewing a class of 8/9 year olds in it. They were having a party to celebrate their end of year before the summer holiday. A cool bunch of kids. I’m a bit gutted actually – there was a moment when they were all crawled around the microphone – a brilliant picture – all eager faced – shining and young. The picture is in my mind and it glows. Stupid but I can’t seem to get over it. Could see a double page spread of it in the ‘book’. Anyway – has inspired me to contact them again … maybe work with other schools … My favourite is this one kid’s description of all the colours. A classic excited husky voiced boy with a dirty t-shirt and shorts. I won’t be able to recreate the image but I might try. You can’t win them all.
I’m not going to publish all the images here yet as I need to get further permission from some of the kids parents. So here’s some others I took that day.
So I trundled around Ashton Court studying for suitable trees and found a brilliant oak. Would have needed ladders to get into, and involved people perching on branches like birds … well … but I started thinking it would be nice if people got to climb a bit themselves.
Which led me to the year 5’s/6’s tree (they were quite adamant that they were now year 6’s). I was up there at the top having a drink and a chocolate when these kids started climbing up. They hadn’t seen me so I began climbing down – thought I’d let them have the tree to themselves and I got chatting to them… so that’s how I ended up having 13 8/9 year olds singing how they love trees to at me…
The parents insisted they were still year 5’s. I’ve compromised). So I’m naturally really pleased with this tree. I love the fact that people have climbed it. It’s so inviting and makes for an easy and satisfying climb. There are a number of love carvings up here too. It’s nice. You don’t really see abuse graffiti carved into trees do you? Or swastikas, or nobs wrought into the bark of trees … Maybe I’ve been climbing the wrong trees and missed that kind of thing. I’m glad though. People are less willing to labour over abuse – it’s more of an impulsive thing? Where as carving your name and your lovers name and a heart is an effort. Jim seems to have been pretty keen on his Gal – I’m assuming it was him (?) he’s made several dedications/declarations for his lady/girl.
Feels like publishing someone’s private letters – photographing their carvings. They’re tattoos in the skin of a tree. The next best thing to a tattoo on themselves? I had an idea for a story. Just an image – a scene. Children play in a tree – grow up with it. They become sweet hearts. The man carves his and her names into a lone tree in a field. He proposes to her in the tree. They make love under the tree – conceive there. They have a son. She is tragically taken ill and dies. The man is so angry and hurt by the universe/God/fate that he chops the tree down with an axe. Sweating and screaming. It falls to the ground with an almighty crash scattering it’s seeds. The man is devastated. The boy grows up. Of course the scattered seeds grow into a glade. When the boy is a teenager he begins to climb the trees … (will finish this story another day).
The girl afraid of spiders … I refrained from mentioning how a tree could look like a spider on it’s back. – that we were climbing on a spiders legs … hmmm?