A day with The Cart Shed – part 1

It was important to feel for myself the environment which The Cart Shed creates for its participants; to sense what it is that has such an effect on their clients and visitors.

You have to rid the mind of the preconceptions and ideas which creep in to sculptures, otherwise they just become designs. So I had to try to be an insider – or at least a combination of observer and insider – rather than someone coolly assessing it all from outside. But I did bring a sketchbook, fresh from getting my hand and eye back in several days previously, on an overnight trip to a zoo.

I’d been to one of the Cart Shed sites before in 2015, at the woods at Newport House.

The parallels with the Norton Canon site are plain; the architecture and planning of the camps encourage you to stop and observe details and the contrasts between the built and the wider woodland environment it rests in.

There is a calmness as the camp populates in the morning. Participants arriving and greeting and starting to consider their thoughts for the day. I joined the morning walk and we strolled, discussing things which came into sight – the pigs; the medicinal properties of the root of Meadowsweet, the breeze in the trees. Kate Lawes, Health Development Manager, has a tranquility about her delivery – you can’t help but relax. I found that an urge to contribute information (from a former background in countryside management) gradually disappeared as I just let some of the simple experiences soak in.

On the walk, a few of us talked about the two sites and how some were drawn to one and others to another. The presence of a rural road beyond the woodland was recognised as something that affected the ultimate calmness for some, at times one might just want to be alone and away from the main camp activities.

to be continued

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