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By Rachel Bull, 06/25/2017 - 01:37

'Fish in a tree, how can that be?' A Story

I thoroughly enjoy teaching some of the Young Northlighters classes (age 9 -15) and when we were asked if the group would decorate one of the trees in the Hebden Bridge Tree Trail,as part of the Arts Festival, the kids were keen and myself and Katch Skinner decided we would do the project with them together.
So the first job was to go and look at the tree we had been allocated:

then it was back to the studio to brainstorm ideas:

We decided we would agree on the final idea by consensus and if necessary resort to a vote. We would consider which materials we would use as part of assessing the feasibilty of the ideas. And we would try not to be stroppy if our own idea was not chosen. By the end of the first session we managed to agree on a plan. It was:

The next session we got to work balloon blowing and paper macheing. And then came the painting:

Flying fish were made...

Signs were written...

It was decided to make a cat too....

Who, as expected, became very interested in the fish...

A large fish was made too, with a huge balloon inside the paper mache body. Meet Fred:

Sadly Fred didn't make it. His balloon popped and his paper mache was too thin. A cautionary tale. RIP Fred. He was much loved.

Then it was time to install.

When we went on the island to check out how we were going to install it all, we met the owner of the island, David Fletcher. So we asked his permission. He was supportive. And we learnt the history of the trees on the island. He bought Innovation Mill in 1972 to stop it being knocked down and the island came with it. There were no trees on the island then and in 1975 he planted the two willow trees that we are decorating and the two Canadian poplars, which are huge. The alder and the beech on the island are self sown.

I had really wanted to get the kids on the island (and in the river!) but we decided it was best for adults to install it and we had some lovely help from some Northlights studio members...


And now it is part of a fab tree trail with many trees decorated in Hebden Bridge by different groups. So enjoy them if you wish for the the next 2 weeks or more...

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