In 2019-2020 Gloucestershire Young Carers, local artists and Cinderford Artspace  worked together to design and make a new temporary artwork for the Sculpture Trail at Beechenhurst.

The young group met weekly with the artists either in the forest or back at their workshop in Cinderford to explore themes of belonging and identity in relation to the forest landscape. The project brief stipulated that nothing from the sculpture must end up as landfill and that materials must be biodegradable or recyclable.

The young carers group visited the forest to take inspiration from the things they saw, heard, felt and imagined in the landscape, and visited the existing collection of sculptures. In beginning to think about a new artwork for the trail, the group asked: how can we create a sculpture that speaks about the landscape and what it means to us? How can we surprise and delight visitors to the trail? How can we encourage more people to explore the forest, to relax and play?

Working with professional artists through Cinderford Artspace the young people rose to this challenge to tell their stories. Working with artists, they explored a range of natural materials and hand-made paints and created the willow structures that, in a circular arrangement high in the trees, became Carousel.

Carousel tells of the games children play in the forest, spinning around and chasing each other. Looking up to the sky through the branches of trees, they feel a joyful giddiness, much like being on a carousel. Carousel also reflects the sense of home and belonging that the children feel when they are in the forest. The circular shape of the woven willow elements at the heart of the sculpture symbolises infinity, a never-ending pattern, the circle of life.

The Forest of Dean Sculpture Trust would like to thank the young participants and local artists Warren, Bela, Lin and other staff involved in the Carousel project for their inspiring creativity and ideas. We loved working with you all.

“The forest is my safe space. It’s somewhere I like to go to escape, it makes me feel at peace and happy. I feel free when I’m in the forest.”