Story by Lon Tytell
Imagination and creativity were on display at the Second Annual TreeCycle event, sponsored by Wickham Works at the Wickham Woodlands Manor on Sat., Apr. 29 and Sun., Apr. 30. Artists and children worked together to display a variety of trees created from recycled materials. This year’s event was made possible with a grant from the Orange County Arts Council and partnership with several organizations.
“We’re delighted to see all ages coming to Wickham Works. Our main focus is to create maker events and experiences for the community,” said Melissa Shaw-Smith, Director of Wickham Works.
Amy Lewis Sweeton designed an Agrisculpture transforming quarter inch steel rods left–over from a theater company into the trees for the event. Sweeton created the structure using these rods on a scrap steel base balancing 54 glass bottle over seven feet tall. Three rods were added to prevent twisting.
Teens from the Teen Advisory Board at the Albert Wisner Public Library decorated all the glass bottles at an Earth Day bottle decoration workshop which Sweeton held at the Library on Sat., Apr. 22.
Youngsters who came to the event had an opportunity to trace their hands on the flat part of donated empty milk jugs which were added to another tree. Artist Femi Ford with the help of her young children Ellie and Leo cut out the hands, and used a glue gun to prevent the slipping of the hands that were attached to wire hangers that were stuck in a Styrofoam ball. Bamboo stalks served as the stem. Tissue paper was used for the flowers.
Artist Roger Moss used a local reed, phragmites, which is grown in the swamps throughout Warwick. He enlisted the children who came to visit him to help him as he created a display out of cat food cans, tomato paste cans, sardine cans, lids, plastic tops, mega clothes pins and pheasant feathers.
Fine artist Heidi Lanino Bilezikian, assisted by children who stopped by and Janet Howard Fatta, board member of Wickham Works, used discarded honeycomb cardboard packing material to create an oak tree sculpture. Local newspaper was reformed in the shape of roses to serve as a connection to the Sesquicentennial celebration. Teens from the Community Center in Warwick helped with the base.
Students from the Partners in Education (PIE) program at Sanfordville Elementary School designed a tree which contained plastic bags, pie plates, pompoms made of yarn and bottle caps.
“I liked the project because I had fun creating things out of reused materials,” said Mille Pritchard, who worked on the tree.
Artist Paul Ellis designed a tree using two sonnet tubes, one roll of duct tape, four cans of spray paint, five broken umbrellas and strips of torn fabric. A key word from each story that attendees told at his booth was written on the torn fabric. Ellis will be using the fabric words as part of a costume, prop or scenery in the finished “Confabulation” play that is scheduled for Fri., Aug. 18 at the U.A.M.E. Church on Forester Ave.