Last Tree Dreaming
2013 - 2016
Frome College, Frome, Somerset
Last Tree Dreaming is a Community Sculpture from an original artistic concept by Barry Cooper.
It was developed with Anthony Rogers and Grant Gellatly; marking the culmination of a three year community arts project. The project was led by the charity Young People Frome; it was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund Young Roots, Frome Town Council, Somerset Community Foundation, the Henry C. Hoare Foundation and the National Trust. The idea was supported from its inception by its patron Angela Yeoman, and Gavin Ball principal of Frome College.
This oak tree grew at the National Trust's Stourhead estate in a stand of trees depicted by the famous landscape painter JMW Turner in his 1798 painting ‘View over the Lake at Stourhead’. When it fell naturally in 2013 the National Trust kindly donated it to the project and work began on carving it in situ with students from Frome College.
Fundamental to the concept of the project was Frome College’s generous offer to site the tree in its grounds, and so in 2015 it was transported to its present location, where carving work on it continued. Frome College students, pupils from St. Johns and Trinity First Schools and members of the Openstorytellers group, expressed their aspirations, with mallets and chisels, by carving images in the niches cut into the heartwood of the tree.
Both locations in the project, Frome College and Stourhead would, at one time, have lain within Selwood Forest, the vast tract of woodland which once covered much of the area, though only remnants of it exist today. By involving young people in traditional skills such as woodcarving, the aim of Last Tree Dreaming was to renew the historic connection between the community and its woodland heritage and to raise awareness of the important ecological role that woodland continues to play in our local landscape today.
Young people have carved the oak tree with images that reflect their aspirations and concerns in 2016; this inspirational tree may also act as a beacon to transmit their hopes and dreams into the future.
The Last Tree Dreaming Project Team: Azeema Caffoor (director Young People Frome), Barry Cooper (lead artist), Grant Gellatly (engineer), Helen Moore (poet), Anthony Rogers (sculptor), and Howard Vause (film maker) would like to acknowledge our partners and supporters in the project:
Barters Farm Nursery, Frome College, Frome Museum, Frome Town Council, Henry C Hoare Foundation, Heritage Lottery Fund, Mark Riley Cranes, Momentum Engineering, National Trust - Stourhead, Somerset Wildlife Trust, Whatcombe Community Fields Project, and Young People Frome.
Whilst not everyone that contributed to the project can be mentioned individually, particular recognition must be given to the following people for their collaboration in the delivery of this inspirational sculpture project –
Clive Austin (caretaker), Pete Aylesbury (lorry driver), Allan Brown (builder), John Brown (wood-worker), Austen Cook (engineer), Julian Hight (author), Andrew Hopkins (supplier), Jane Hutton (business manager), Matthew Marshall (programme manager), Steve Macarthur (fundraiser), Michael McGarvie (historian), Peter Moseley (engineer), Kim Portnell (warden, Stourhead).
Last Tree Dreaming is committed to introducing young people to ecological and sustainable practices to preserve the future of our global environment and in particular the local reforestation of Selwood.