The focus of ‘Under the Canopy’ is exploring trees through visual arts activities, creative writing and storytelling.

Four ‘at home’ sessions are being facilitated for those who are unable to meet in person, and four outdoor in person sessions are being facilitated at Hollybush Conservation Centre, plus a get together for all at the end of the project.

The sessions will be a mix of visual media, poems and storytelling, facilitated by visual artist Anne Crowther and storyteller Matthew Bellwood.

The creative sessions will embrace a variety of starting points such as tree facts, symbolism and folklore, growing trees from seed.

We will be exploring stories about trees and writing tree poems taking inspiration from artists who’ve depicted trees or used natural materials such as Andy Goldsworthy.  The outdoor sessions ‘under the canopy’ will include willow sculpture, mindful activities inspired by forest bathing, making tree sprites, and telling their stories through photography, words, and audio recordings.

images from the first online session – Teresa

Tree Spirit Doll – Julia

Tree Spirit Doll – Pat

Artwork by Pat after first online session

Chestnut acrostic poem – Marlene

Curling up inside your shell

Hold on tight don’t let go.

Ever waiting till you swell

Staying snug until you grow.

Then you’re ready to be freed

Now it’s time to drop your seed.

Under leaves, a child’s delight

The shiny nut peeping bright.


Group Willow acrostic poem

Wishing tree –

Inside, there are dreams –

Living within our imagination.

Let them free!

Over and over,

When the water flows up like thought

Group poem inspired by Acorn Coffee tasting

A rich, brown powder

Dark as henna

Turns to pond-sludge in the cup

When mixed with boiling water

Caffeine free and calcium rich

Brimming with magnesium

This drink smells of cinnamon biscuits and gingerbread parkin on Bonfire Night

It savours sweetly of Hot Cross buns – the scent of the kitchen when making and baking

Some of us could sit here, sniffing it all morning –

But does it taste as good as it smells?

The first sip is somewhat sour – fruity and citrussy

Bitter spice and bitter fruit

This is a demanding drink

Add some milk and add some honey and some may find it “calming”

Persevere and it may cure a migraine

Perhaps a useful substitute for coffee and co-codamol

If only the flavour was a little less alarming


(Header image – Pat)

Here’s a slideshow of images from the project with poems and stories recorded during our final get together event at Hollybush (complete with rain in the background!)

Under the Canopy has been funded by Wade’s Charity and with the support of Hollybush Conservation Centre