Lanolin, Can you see the forests of Scotland?

This artwork has been previously shown as a part of ‘Caledonia Futures: The Forests are Moving’ at the Tent Gallery, in Art Space and Nature (2013). It is a commentary on the relationship between landscape, trees and sheep in Scotland. The work emerges from experiences in Loch Katrine with the Native Woodlands Discussion Group.

During the walk Ruth Anderson, a member of the group showed Goto the robust bonsai-tree like stem of a native birch tree and its root structure. It supported new tree growth once sheep were removed (and deer fenced out) of that area of the new National Park. The removal of sheep from the Scottish landscape makes an enormous impact on trees and their ability to regenerate and prosper.

Working with unwashed fleece the artist carefully carded the wool and established the background for the lighter, washed wool of the Saint Andrew’s Cross,  the  Saltire.  The land is the context for culture, and the trees are the language of landscape that emerges once the pressure of sheep is lifted. Lanolin is another cultural decoy, conflating nationalism and past land use with future visions of an expanded forest in Scotland.