HIGHGATE WOODS - week 29 - 06/04/15

After putting it off for weeks now, I finally made it out to the woods--dragged my mother with me as the official photographer--to conduct a materials and making experiment with found objects in the forest.

I knew I had to come prepared with minimal objects if I was going to get the most out of the exercise. The objects I decided to bring with me were small and medium sized zip-ties, these rubber ridged ties I found at the pound shop, string (all to help secure the found objects together), and a swiss army knife (to assist in cutting wood, plastic, or to assist in cleaning up the final object).

I think the biggest reason why I kept putting off this specific exercise was because I was nervous I wouldn't end up creating anything appealing. A couple weeks back I found an amazing example of tools made from found objects on a remote island (Poor Tools by Studio Fludd, How We Dwell + artist photographer Rachele Maistrello). They look beautifully put together, and the objects and their composition was so creative in my eyes because of the wide variety of items put together. My worrisome thoughts of not being able to produce the proposed slingshot and cutting type tool, were because I knew there would be a chance that I would not find the proper sticks, pieces of wood, and random materials to put together.

It wasn't very hard to find great sticks that would help be the base of my made items, but the additional pieces to pull them together were a bit trickier. I luckily found an amazing piece of broken tile that became the head piece on a mallet I created in additional to a stick and two small black zip-ties. Before finding it I found a beautiful piece of wood that I originally had an idea to carve into a knife, unfortunately the mini knife I had was too small for the thickness of wood. 

The beauty of the woods really reminded me of home and the nature that I grew up seeing daily in Canada. Seeing different types of tress and plants that I recognized from back home really gave me a sense of calmness and happiness. I also found different plants and trees that I had never seen before--one with various sprouts of small twigs grouped together. These new plants and trees really stood out to me because I had never seen them before.

But the most amazing part of my experience--asisde from creating tools out of found objects in the woods, that I am actually really proud of--was finding various man-made shelters made by who-knows-who scattered throughout the woods. It made me wonder who made them, and why? To me, they all looked beautifully made, with generally simple designs (sticks propped up against a larger tree), aside from a few that looked really intricate (probably took many people or hours to make). I was really happy to discover these all over the woods because when I first entered the woods I kept noticing sticks and the growth of branches that looked like that would be great as a structure.

I am relieved to say that this experiment was really successful in my eyes, on the basis that I walked away with made tools that I am proud to have made with limited resources, as well as that I stumbled upon these amazing man-made shelters that are perfect examples of what can be made in the forest.

© Lauren Holly Best, all rights reserved