Following the Roots: Stories of Halewood
Commissioned by Heart of Glass and Knowsley Borough Council
Artist Frances Disley has created a new trail of sculptural artworks for Halewood Triangle Park in collaboration with residents from Halewood.
The forest is a place that enriches and supports the community – a place to meet, gather and share stories. This trail of sculptures tells the human tales of Halewood intertwined with the wisdom of the trees. It brings to life the unique stories of the area and explores the special relationship between residents of Halewood and this forest.
Throughout history, various tree species have been considered to have special qualities. Artist Frances Disley has paired stories and memories collected from local residents, with tree species in the forest, to represent the coexistence of people and place.
These sculptures are made from stoneware clay. Frances’ process included hand painting using coloured slips and underglazes onto the clay before taking through a series of firing stages, making the work able to withstand the elements.
The idea of creating a trail is also inspired by mapping and the way people move through time and pass on stories – community networks mirroring mycelial networks (root-like structures of a fungus found in and on soil).
Each artwork draws connections between a species of tree, and a part of local history;
Ash was the tree of life in Norse mythology, and the sculpture depicts the forest as a place of play and discovery for young people.
Hawthorn is a tree of abundance, with plenty of fruit and blossoms, linked in the artwork to the need for nourishment at the heart of a community.
Hazel is connected to ideas of wisdom and inspiration, and the sculpture depicts the evolution of Halewood Triangle Park and the railway lines.
Oak is associated with strength and protection. The oldest trees in the park, this artwork connects oaks to the history of the area and some important archaeological finds.
Silver birch is a pioneer species, growing on almost any land and populating rapidly, linked in the artwork to the rapid growth of the Ford Factory.
Willow is known for its resilience and tenacity, connected here with the community spirit of Halewood communities, always pulling each other through times of hardship.
The project was launched on 19th December 2022 with a winter solstice celebration event, following a series of workshops with communities in Halewood.