This character was carved as part of a project in Bristol, working with a professional storyteller and a local school to create wooden panels that form a storytelling trail through the school grounds.
In July 2015, I was invited to carve oak pictures as part of a project at St Chad’s primary school in Patchway, Bristol. The school was looking to get the pupils to generate their own stories.
Storyteller Martin Maudsley worked with them to create tales which were then told to me. I used the five stories to produce images that were then carved into oak plaques, which were set onto larch plinths in a small woodland in the school grounds.
One plaque tells a story about a storytelling dragon that befriends a village. At first, the villagers are advised by a little girl to turn their backs, to stop them being frightened by the dragon.
Another shows a person who is helped by birds to plant a magic garden. The small squares are caps of oak covering the stainless steel screws that hold the plaques firmly onto the larch plinths.
This story is about a secret garden hidden by ancient trees, which is uncovered by reciting the magic words.
This plaque shows an old elf called the ‘Father of the Forest’. The surrounding leaves are all from trees that grow in the small woodland that the trail winds through.
Finally there is a story about St Chad (a Saxon boy) and the people he meets on his adventures.
I also made some benches from durable larch timber, for children to sit on and make up their own stories (or just play!)
Part of the project also involved carving a panel live at Patchway community festival in Bristol, which was a lot of fun and meant that I also got to meet some of the parents whose children go to St Chads.