Willow Weaving Ep.2

A good couple months into the project, things are starting to take shape. Now its all a race againt the clock to beat the heat in using the willow while its still flexible enough. The deers’ colour slowly turns a drying brown, losing its water-filled monochromes of green. Pressure is on.

While the willow sculptures are worked on behind closed doors and away from the users of the St Andrews to Gaurdbridge section of National Cycle Route 1 (NCR 1), great work is being done to enhance it’s adjacent shelter belt. Leading this is the Fife Coast and Countryside Trust’s West Sands rangers, Gavin Legg and Emily Alderfield. They’ve been pulling out the chicken wire deep in the ground. They’ve built bug hotels and put up bird boxes, both aesthetic and great for local wildlife. Sadly both the rangers have left their posts and have moved on to other things – good luck to both of you! Now in their place are Dominic Rye and Rachael Hunter, the new West Sands Rangers.

The past months have also seen a great number of primary school students trying their hand at weaving and making their own dreamcatchers. Between both Cannongate and Lawhead Primary Schools in St Andrews, a total of 78 kids between 6 and 9 years of age joined in. Although we weren’t able to capture the sessions in photos, the progress they made with the scupltures was incredible and the dreamcatchers showcased diverse colour. It was great to hear one student saying to us “this is has been the best school trip yet!”.

Because of the big weaving effort of the primary schools one of the deer sculptures is almost done! June’s end creeps closer and getting at least one of the sculptures ready to put out is a massive priority. This ambition spurred on a number of passing attendees at our Kernel Spring Festival – hosted alongside the St Andrews Environmental Network, the St Andrews Men Shed and the Botanic Gardens on May 26th. On the day 3 kids, 5 University students and 4 local residents got involved. And as the sun began to appear, it was smiles all round.

And as a finishing touch to the changes taking place at the cycle path, a sign is being routed with the caption:

“Walk, Cycle, Run, This Path is 4 Everyone!”.

Created by Winston Emmerson, the project coordinator for Transition’s Tool Share.

The decision of what was to be written on the sign went out to those who had been integral volunteers with the project, with the chosen caption being overwhelmingly favoured.

No photo description available.

The unfinished illustration that is going on the middle of the sign is intended as a close copy of the graphic that represents another SusTrans funded initiative, the Crail to St Andrews shared path. Which is being stewarded by Ali Macleod, the Project Manager at Transition UStA, and local environmental consultant, Crispin Hayes. The idea behind this is to emphasise the links between the two cycle paths and promote the extensive networks, both current and future, that exist around Fife.

Larch wood signage; bug hotels and bird boxes; dreamcatchers and willow sculptures. From a site riddled with chicken wire to a space full of artistic infusion, the direction this small snippet of NCR 1 is heading is nothing short of exciting. And here we are, just over two weeks to go before we put out the first of the sculptures. With over 180 volunteer hours already clocked, let’s see how the things turn out by the of June. Till the next blog!