The creative results of an innovative project following the full life story of a single oak tree is set to inspire visitors to the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE), from October 12 to December 2. Created by the Sylva Foundation, in partnership with artists and craftsmen from throughout Britain, the OneOak exhibition features some 50 items, ranging from a throne chair to tables, benches and wood block prints. All have been created with timbers from a 222-year-old oak tree felled on Blenheim Estate, near Oxford.
The tree was grown initially for its timber, being planted in 1788; the year The Times was first published, when Mozart was working on his last symphony and when the French Revolution was just beginning to stir. It became 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 also been featured by dozens of artists, sculptors and photographers. Now, it is being brought to Edinburgh thanks to funding from the Scottish Forestry Trust.
Chief Executive of the Sylva Foundation and project co-ordinator Dr Gabriel Hemery said: “After three years of hard work it has been immensely exciting to be able to bring together all the various elements of the OneOak project. We are able to show the public the stunning artwork, spell-binding films, earth-shattering science and a myriad of truly amazing wood-based products. The only products that we haven’t been able include in real life in the exhibition at RBGE will be a house and a boat!”
OneOak items created for the project include: 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 cabinet, lantern, moebius sculpture, jewellery, wooden clock, acorn oakbot sculpture from waste slabwood, memorial sculpture, carved bowls, carved spoons, turned bowls, sawdust for ceramics glazing, carvings, automata, commemorative garden bench by disabled workers, five benches for primary schools including the spiderbench, contemplation bench, MakeIT! bench national school design competition, nesting tables, fine furniture competition winner’s pieces, small craft items, deer, viola chin rest, printing blocks, relief carving, sounding bowl, wood ash and smoke-glazed ceramics, and a wooden clock. Below a piece created by Deana Lee using elements of the Oak!