The Princess and the Tree

Everybody’s childhood dream was fulfilled when Blue Peter came to visit us at the workshop in August. Our very own Laura Anderson, studio member and teacher of the Wood Carving course, had the honour of the visit after she was asked to create a Blue Peter’s competition winner’s design.

Blue Peter ran a competition to design a sculpture for HRH Duchess of Cambridge’s Back to Nature Garden at RHS Wisley which she co-designed. Thirteen year old Jessica won the competition with a butterfly design to be carved from wood with recycled metal wings interlaced with clematis flowers. Laura was approached by the Royal Horticultural Society to transform Jessica’s design into a 7ft sculpture. The design was carved from a Cedar trunk sourced by Laura from Citywood, which was felled in Blackheath.

The tree arrived at Blackhorse drawing a small crowd as it was manoeuvred into place to begin the task of carving it into Jessica’s fluid design. With help from our technician Toby, who used a chainsaw to cut the rough shape, Laura spent two weeks chiselling and carving into the wood translating the interlaced design. We eagerly watched as the design took shape, noticing new details each day like the textured surface and grain of the cedar, which smelled amazing!

Designer Jessica visited the workshop with the Blue Peter crew to see how her design was progressing, where they interviewed Laura and Jessica to discuss how the sculpture. Once the final touches had been added, the sculpture was taken to RHS Wisley to take position in the ‘Back to Nature’ children’s playground where the metal wings made by blacksmith Ian Thackray, were attached.

HRH Duchess of Cambridge unveiled Jessica’s winning design at RHS Wisley, with Blue Peter and Mary Berry in attendance too. As the flowers grow through the wings the butterfly sculpture will emerge and change, adding colour. A great achievement by Laura and Jessica, most certainly fit for a princess.