An Installation by Trudi Entwistle for the ‘Life On A Leaf’ project May 2006
My installation for the ‘Life on a Leaf’ project is inspired by the apple trees in the old orchard and also by the love story of the ‘king and the castle’, a fable related to me by Jan-Erik Andersson as one of his own major inspirations.
The installation is a simple translation, taking the form of a repetition of two minimal red rings, gently curved to lean against each other. Designed to sit on, and portable, they provide either an individuals solitary retreat or the place for a group gathering. From their vantage point in the orchard, the Leaf House can well be viewed, especially in the evening when the sun creates strong silhouettes and enhances the warmth of the red wooden rings.
Seen from the Leaf House the title of the installation reveals itself. From above, the minimal forms suggest the outline of apple cores. Walking down into the meadow from the house, heart-shapes appear from the void of the rings.
The Leaf House stands prominently on a foundation plinth rising above the orchard meadow against a steep backdrop of woodland. The remains of cut and fill from the house construction had left disjointed levels and pockets of fragmented areas in the surrounding land. The height of the building complimented the scale of neighbouring trees, but the space in between needed to integrate these two elements through its scale, form and line. I felt my role of sculpting the earth for ‘Life on a Leaf’ was to both connect the building with nature as well as creating a landscape with its owns unique form.
Heavy rainfall during spring and summer produced streams of surface water from steep slopes and collected in one big ditch which ran through the site. Topographically this cut the site in half, creating a scale that didn’t work with the presence of the building. I redirected the ditch to the edge of the site, allowing more dramatic sweeping lines to descend the slope. This inspired bold crescent terraces to open up at the back of the leaf house providing ease of access. These crescents echoe the bold perspective of the house. This sweeping topography continues until its descent into an elliptical mound enclosing the flat area of the meadow and apple trees.
The sweeping bands of earth will vary in tone and texture, from short bright green turf, wild meadow, to the ferns from the understorey of the surrounding woodland. Bands of fruit bushes and plants from Jan Eriks childhood memories will also structure the landform.
Half heart shaped earth mounds (one side grass and the other red timber), sweep down the slope increasing in size, ending in the orchard where one can look back at the house. They become sheltered areas to sit in, to lie on the grass.The heart shape is developed from the fable of the king in the castle.
Entwistle is an environmental artist who works as a Senior Lecturer in Landscape Architecture at Leeds Metropolitan University.