small acts of rebellion: whittling wood, forest art and deep sustainability

hollywood forest, feb 5 2013, south carlow, ireland

On Valentines day I will be talking about forests – art, politics, deep sustainability… love actually (hollywood forest, ireland, 5 Feb 2013: c fitzgerald)

I’m delighted to have been asked to talk at TheGallery in Bournemouth on Valentines Day, 14 Feg 2013. I will be providing a conversation about issues concerning land management and the place that forests and trees have in our society in response to an ongoing solo exhibition of UK artist, Jane Wilbraham’s sycamore sculptural works and paintings.

Jane’s Values exhibition is a ‘small act of rebellion’; her creative practices reveal painstaking methods that employ humble, folk whittling wood skills and keen observations of the natural world. Her work quietly counters the rush of a society that has largely industrialised the natural world; that has prioritised and culturally promoted, the fast, the plastic and the short-term.

Sycamore sculpture by Jane Wilbraham

‘In 2008, when stock markets were crashing around the world, Jane Wilbraham decided to whittle a stick’

In my talk, I will be discussing similar themes in my own work and sharing concerns about how we perceive and hence relate or not to forests. About why seeing our forests may be an important means to unpick what is ‘short-sighted’ and ecocidal about industrial forestry (and other industrial processes that all too easily consume the earth).

About how when we envision and practice radical sustainability in relating to our forests, we may also learn about a deeper sustainability that presents an alternative, but perhaps too late, to the myths of ongoing economic growth and accelerating consumerism, that are so incompatible with life on a finite earth.

I’ll do this by looking through the lens of a long term arts & ecology forest project that is grounded in the ideas and practices of new permanent (but somehow ancient too), non-clearfell forestry management and talk about the emergent actions and policies that may help move us in new directions.

An Art in Context Talk on Land Management by Cathy Fitzgerald

Thursday 14 February 2013, 5:00-6:00pm

Admission free:  Booking essential, TheGallery, Bournemouth, UK. To book and for further information on the above events please contact TheGallery Office on or tel: 01202 363272

Events may be subject to change, so please check the website


Note: February 11th to 18th is the UK Tree Love Week. All around Valentine’s Day, why not express your appreciation of a tree (or several). Join in at


cathy_fitz01Cathy Fitzgerald is an experimental filmmaker, blogger and former research biologist. In recent years she has worked on Ireland’s Green Party new Forest Policy (2012) that promotes long-term permanent, non clearfell forest management. She is also a committee member of ProSilva Ireland, a branch of the EU wide organisation across 25 countries that promotes the knowledge and practices Close-to-Nature, continuous cover forest management. Cathy is a New Zealander but has lived in Ireland these last 18 years. She lives and works in a small forest, Hollywood, in rural Ireland. Her article ‘Deep Sustainability, the art and politics of forests’ (2012) was published on the UK public campaign site here

3 thoughts on “small acts of rebellion: whittling wood, forest art and deep sustainability

  1. A Cathy, a chara, I hope you are well. I will have to get down to Carlow soon! There was a great article about Tadhg in the Irish Times this week! I hope your doctorate is going well too. I am putting together a radio documentary proposal about the forest issue in Ireland and how the UK stopped the sell of its forests. Can I put you down as a contributor?! 🙂 I am enjoying your blogs so much. Sorry I don’t take the time to tell you so after I read them. Anyway, nothing might come of the documentary, it still has to be commissioned. Beannachta, Risn


    • Roisin,
      SO great to hear from you and sadly I missed Tadhg’s opening and talk due to other commitments. Real bummer – its been manic. Yes, love to be a contributor. You may not know but I’m Forest spokesperson for the Green Party and I was heaviliy involved in 3 yr development of new all ireland forest policy that was published in 2012. Its key recommendation was to move toward continuous cover permanent forestry like in my own wood. As such I’ve been working hard with Green press team in the last 6 weeks to educate them about this new method of sustainable forest management, see here and here And yes very aware of UK campaign and 30 000 who have signed online petition here. Anyway, thanks for following and hope all great with you two


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