LINCOLN WISH TREE
An Art Ninja community project
(Written December 2020)
I began working on the idea of The Wish Tree project in 2018. I wanted to create an area where people can come and share creativity while remembering loved ones. The Art Ninja ethos is based around motivating creativity, getting outside and spreading kindness through art so a Wish Tree was the perfect way to achieve all those things and create something fun for the community too.
I started scouting for the perfect location and eventually settled on a space on West Common. It is easily accessible (very important!) and yet still had a sense of mystery and magic which I wanted to create. It is Common land which meant we didn't need permission as such. I was a little nervous about this I must admit, but with a 'ask for forgiveness not permission' attitude I ploughed on with the project. The Art Ninja group worked really hard to create some beautiful varied pieces - all sorts of amazing upcyled, knitted, painted creativity to dress the tree with. I like to show all the different things you can do to inspire and give people ideas.
We all met up on January 16th, 2020, to create the Wish Tree space.
My special Art Ninja crew!
I am very fortunate to have a solid team of Art Ninjas who support me in my ideas and give so generously of their time to the group. (I won't name them, but you know who you are..x) Between us we visit regularly to keep the area tidy and free from litter make any repairs and hang anything new we have created.
What happened next?
An amazing thing happened! The community slowly discovered it and got involved leaving wishes on the tags I had left which was wonderful to see. I was thrilled to see people engaging with it! Amazing artwork started coming too, painted stones, woven hangings, hearts and upcycled jam jars. The project was growing. Beautiful creations continue to appear all the time.
The team built the area up with windfall wood to create a circular space to sit around the Wish Tree. This grew to have a separate den, a wigwam and recently a socially distanced seating area. The wigwam build was so much fun, I had an idea to create an experience where you go into the wigwam and see lots of soft toys lining the walls of the wigwam! This would then lead on to a teddy bear trail through the rest of the small wooded copse. The bears and other soft toys create a path to follow which is so much fun for little ones who come to see the magical space.
My hope is that the space continues to evolve and grows with the community. It has become a regular destination for many who enjoy walking on the Common. I am really enjoying redicovering playing in the woods as an adult. It really helps to keep me sane! I am so thrilled that so many have enjoyed the space too, I will continue to keep caring for it and bringing new ideas to the space.
Where is it?
You can find The Lincoln Wish Tree on West Common, nestled in a corner of the cricket green field.
Park at Carholme Golf Course car park, which is free. Cross the road towards the tennis courts and walk round past the club house. Go through the gate to the cricket green, walk towards the opposite corner to the gate. there are shortcuts but I will leave you to discover those for yourself!
Accessibility and mobility?
There is room for wheelchairs and buggies. The ground is usually hard and easy to walk on but if there has been rain it is obviously wet underfoot. We try hard to ensure the space is safe for little ones.
Can I join in?
Absolutely YES! The Wish Tree is a community project, it is for everyone to enjoy and add to. Bring any Wishes of your own and add them wherever you like, add bears to the trail or the wigwam. There is even a 'hat tree' where people have started leaving hats, and a scarf place too. There's an area where hearts have collected too, and painted shoes! Anything goes, keep it safe for us all (and for wildlife) and respect it and it will bring many more hours of joy to us all.
(I plan on having a community picnic around the Wish Tree when we can.)
If you have visited, why not leave a comment or some pictures on the FaceBook group? I would love to see them.