Thursday, 29 October 2009

Nests for Beavers

A truly wonderful day today despite nothing at all going to plan. I was due to go to Manchester today for a tutorial but the trains were not running so after waiting 90 minutes at the station I decided I could make better use of the Autumn sunshine. And I am so glad I did...

After trekking to Hirst Wood I had a look at how my 'nest' had survived. I was pleased to see it was fairly unchanged and managed to get some better photos (see below).

I had just started work on rigging up a washing line between two of the tall beech trees when a big group of Beaver Scouts appeared and set up their games nearby. It was lovely to see the children enjoying the woods and after a while one of the leaders came to find out what I was doing. I suggested that if they wanted the children could investigate and play in the nest. So then the leaders managed to get all of the Beavers inside the nest (27 I think). I wish I could have taken a photo, but child protection being what it is, I didn't dare ask. The kids obviously loved interacting with the structure and asked me lots of questions. Then they all wanted to make their own nest, and set about doing it. IT WAS AMAZING!

I had forgotten how fun it is doing activities with children (I used to be a Brownie leader), and I really enjoyed their enthusiasm, inquisitiveness and willingness to have a go. None of the children asked why I had made a nest - I think it wouldn't cross their minds that you needed a reason. I love the fact that children see experimentation and play as natural activities that do not require justification. I think as adults we could learn a lot from that.

Above is the nest the Beavers made, which is by far bigger and better than the one John & I made earlier in the week. Well done to you all, excellent team work!

After the children had gone I did a lot of reflecting on the experience. It made me realise that I can find satisfaction in sharing my practice with other people in different ways. The children were so enthusiastic and non-judgemental, it was a pleasure to discuss my work with them. I think I would like to consider doing arts projects with children as a way of developing a sustainable practice.

Lastly from pinning up my fabric in the woodland I realised that the silk fabrics become transparent in the daylight. Viewing the trees and dappled light through the fabric seems to capture sympathetic qualities of woodland. I think there is more to explore here.


Thank you very much to Bingley Beavers for sharing a very special time in Hirst Wood. I hope you all had a lovely day.


  1. "None of the children asked why I had made a nest - I think it wouldn't cross their minds that you needed a reason." That has simply made my day. I just posted about comments from people about nonobjective art - and they were all adults come to think of it. I think I'll print those words out and put them in my studio, if you don't mind Hannah.

  2. Sounds like a perfect autumn day and exciting that the Beavers came across you and did something out of exploration but also enjoyment (and in a sustainable way). Your nest was beautiful and had I walked past it I would have thought "it just should be there" - perfect in its environment. Loved the photograph of you peaceful within it.

  3. I love how you integrate and connect what is in your environment outside and your textiles and textures.



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