In June 2016, The Hannah Peschar Sculpture Garden gained a new resident amongst the flora and fauna that already calls it home. London based Scottish artist Lee Borthwick spent a long weekend with us, using the Sculpture Garden to inform and inspire a new series of work. 

“Drawing out the hidden beauty in timber and tree pieces is a focal point of my practice and is often achieved through the inclusion of mirrors. Mirrors I feel allow colour, movement and a sense of poetry to enter the wood.”

In June 2016, Lee wrote the following precluding her residency: “Lately I’ve been studying and working with the Willow Tree.  I am fascinated by its form, its pose and positioning by water, its offering of shelter and the way it invites you to run your hands through its drapery of fine leaves. I have been wondering how to capture and hold onto that experience, how best to describe it. Drawing inspiration from the agile body of the willow leaf I have started to explore new cuts in pieces of tree that characterise the leaf’s delicate and distinctive form and it is this idea that will mark the starting point of the residency.”

The Sculpture Garden gifted Lee a large branch from our beautiful Catalpa tree. The branch was in danger of splitting completely and falling, so the decision was made to safely fell it before it could fall. The Catalpa, or Indian Bean Tree, has the most unusual long seed pods that hang from its branches at the end of the summer. Lee took inspiration from the Willow and Catalpa to create two new sculptures made from slices of the Catalpa. To add another dimension to the work, these pieces have been suspended from an enormous Laurel that leans across one of our many ponds. The movement and reflective quality of the water lifts these beautiful pieces even further - creating somewhat of an optical illusion with the double reflection. 

Lee’s tenderness and understanding of her material is evident in her work - each piece is a celebration of the tree from which it came.