Art gallery to become woodcraft workshop with Norwegian creatives


Discarded and natural wood will be transformed into art as part of an international exhibition at the Bonington Gallery which will allow the rare opportunity for people to witness the creative process unfold live.

Taking inspiration from Italo Calvino’s novel Invisible Cities, artists and architects from Nottingham Trent University and the Bergen Academy of Art and Design, Norway, will stage Made in Wood, from 12 March to 27 March.

Using donated wood, they have been invited to address how global cities seem to challenge the laws of gravity. For the first six days, they will work together to create an invisible ‘City of Gravitas’ which will form the centre piece of the exhibition thereafter.

“This promises to be a very special exhibition with a fascinating international dimension to it,” said Professor Duncan Higgins, a professor of visual art at the university’s School of Art & Design and committee chair of the Bonington Gallery.

“We have people coming from Norway, who as a nation are known for being very good at working with wood, and who have been running an international wood festival for ten years. It’s a real honour to be working with them.

“At the same time, for the first six days we're opening up the whole artistic process to the public, transforming an art gallery into a live workshop. People normally don’t see the artistic process take place, only the finished article. But this opens that whole narrative up and will allow people to see the artwork take form and evolve.”

Between 12 March and 18 March, James Wood, from the Foraged Book Project, will work alongside the exhibition and host a series of workshops which will include traditional stool making, brewing bark to make real ale and making organic wood-based ink and clothing dyes.

The Bonington Gallery’s Instagram account will also be taken over by students from the two institutions who will create a visual diary of the experience which will serve as a repository of the creative process.

Iain Macdonald, Head of Architecture at Nottingham Trent University’s School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment, said: “Made in Wood is a unique opportunity for aspirant architects and artists from Norway and the UK to combine in an exploration of space using a renewable material.

“As a live project staged within the Bonington Gallery it also enables the public to observe ‘designing and making’ at first hand.”