The Archive of the Trees took place in Fineshade Wood in Northamptonshire between January and December 2018. It was commissioned by Fermynwoods Contemporary Art.
Artist Edwina fitzPatrick invited Swansea University’s UK Oak Project team to collect and analyse very small cores from healthy mature trees in Fineshade Wood – the samples didn't harm the trees. The cores reveal the tree’s age, growing patterns, past weather conditions and stresses such as diseases. In effect, they are the tree’s own archive: each specimen reveals its ‘autobiography’.
Fineshade Wood is a remnant of the much larger ancient Rockingham Forest, so there is a long regional history of human and arboreal lives being intertwined. Edwina reflected this by inviting forest residents, foresters, local groups and Fineshade visitors to contribute their observations about both the Wood’s trees and unusual weather they’ve experienced in the area spanning previous decades.
The arboreal and human responses to changing weather were
combined to create a trail of 'tree wraps' in the Wood and an onsite exhibition of double sided banners. There is a publication featuring recycled paper to share the project more widely. Edwina offers profuse thanks to everyone involved with the project. It really couldn't have happened without you.