This is where the real work began: we had to convince Westonbirt that our work was both artistically worthy and safe.
Westonbirt have exacting standards: they have to protect the public, the trees and their reputation. So the installation must be:
- Durable and strong (to autumn storms and children climbing on it)
- Safe to the public (securely tethered and lightweight)
- Easily visible (to reduce footfall around tree roots)
- Safe for the branches and bark
All this had to be guaranteed before Westonbirt would agree to the project.
Attaching banners proved very difficult. Ben was worried children might trip or get their heads stuck in the bungees. I wanted to have the banners floating in the trees, but their attachments had to be visible.
The first idea was to attach the banners with “roots” and “vines” knitted by Claire. The banners looked like walking aliens!
Attaching the banner directly to the ground or just covering bungee in solid blocks meant the banners did not appear to float.
We also tried fishnets but they looked as if the banners were wearing tights!
We saw the threadwork of other artists:
This inspired the final design:
The banner was left in a tree for three months to test durability.