Marking memories - The Oasis name tree

Marking memories - The Oasis name tree

There's a new tree under construction at The Oasis!

Trees are a pretty familiar sight at The Oasis plot - it is a social and therapeutic garden, after all - but normally they grow rather than being built!

This particular tree is being constructed by young people.  It was started off by a group on the Virtues Course, is currently being progressed by the Journeyman project and may be finished by the young volunteers who come in the summer holidays.

The tree is made from wood, chicken wire and outdoor paper mache, which uses a thin mortar mix instead of paste, glue or flour.  Once it is completely dry, the tree will be coated with a layer of exterior house paint.  Finally, the tree will be decorated with wooden 'leaves' bearing the names of young people, hanging from small metal eyelets in the branches.

It's a great art project, but it's also something much more.  Branch Leader Alison Merryman explains:

"The idea came from a desire to celebrate each young person who had been part of The Oasis life.  We toyed with and discarded lots of ideas.  A tree with wooden ‘leaves’ seemed perfect.  The tree obviously fits in with the therapeutic garden and the fact that the young people decorate the ‘leaves’ means that they have the power to leave a little piece of their own persona on The Oasis site."

Each young person is given the opportunity to decorate a wooden ‘leaf’ however they like.  The only stipulation is that it must contain their name.
 cropped-Name leaves

Each leaf will be hung on the tree as a lasting reminder of each young person.

"Names are very important to us.  We find an awareness of the link between a name and an identity in everyday speech, particularly in the words we use in making introductions.  The sense of personal identity and uniqueness that a name gives us is at the heart of why names interest us and why they are important to us as individuals and to our society as a whole.  A tree full of names therefore seems the ideal way of remembering and celebrating the part of  a young person's life journey."

(Alison Merryman) 

(Pictures: the tree at various stages of construction and some of the name ‘leaves’ which are waiting to be hung on it.) 

News & Social