Woodwynn Farms labyrinth, Peace sanctuary sculpture Park

2013 has been an amazing year for our family. We have been busy working on the creation of the labyrinth and Peace Sanctuary sculpture park at Woodwynn Farms.
We are very grateful to our friends who have donated time and money to help get this project underway.
I am slowly getting to know more about the farm and the people who work and live there. I can’t imagine a better place to be at this stage of my life. I have so much to learn. For most of my life I have spent my time working alone in my studio. This is a whole new experience for me and I love it.
It has been a ton of work digging out the blackberries that cover the large area that we are transforming. There has also been a lot of soil and piles of blackberry stalks to move. Thankfully, the founder of Woodwynn Farms, Richard LeBlanc, has been able to help by using his tractor to move a lot of the soil. I also have had the help of volunteers who came out and helped cut down the blackberries. My wife Elizabeth and our son Samuel have also helped in many ways. It is very much a team project.
The first section is almost completed and so we are on schedule. Our goal this year was to cut down and dig up all the roots of the blackberries in the large pit area and then level the area. We added two big truckloads of high grade top soil once we got the area levelled to the desired slope. We then planted rows of the apple trees to form a nice walkway that leads to a beautiful view of the valley.
My son Samuel will be welding stainless steel markers for the trees with the name of each person who supported our project by paying for an apple tree. Anyone who wants to donate $100.00 can have the same marker.
Email me at derykhouston@shaw.ca for more information.
I also built a log bench made from logs found at the beach and that was set up as well. We planted red twig dogwoods around the bench which will grow thick and tall providing a nice quiet and reflective space to view the walkway down through the apple trees.
The next stage will be to build a viewing area at the bottom of the apple trees. This will involve a simple log fence made from logs found on the beach. We have melted turquoise blue glass flowers and these will be set on wavy, eight foot tall steel poles. These will be worked into a nice free flowing design and anchored into the fence in a way that will be interesting but also act as a block for the deer who will want to eat the apple trees! The blue glass flowers were made by first breaking large glass Gin bottles. These broken shards of glass were then laid out on the bottom of our kiln in a round, plate like shape and are fused together by the heat. These processed shapes are then laid on top of clay plant pots and melted again. The heat melts the glass enough that they fold over the clay pot and form a flower shape. Elizabeth helped me find the right combination of heat and timing in the kiln.
Anyway….. the glass flower and fence stage is a whole other story.
We are just happy to have completed the first stage in a timely manner. Thanks to everyone who helped with the funds and with the volunteering time. It would have been difficult to do it without this help! Thank you so much.
Here are some photos (mainly taken by Elizabeth) that document some of the work.

















2 comments to Woodwynn Farms labyrinth, Peace sanctuary sculpture Park

  • What an INCREDIBLE amount of work you’ve done!!!!!!

    I admire your ability to see past something that looked impossible (to me) to “what could be.”

    What was that walled space originally ?

  • dhouston

    This first section we are working on used to be a pit for manure. When Woodwynn Farm agreed to let me do the project, the director, Richard Le Blanc, asked me if I could incorporate the concrete pit into the overall design. I felt that it presented serious challenges visually and structurally and so I decided to tackle this section first. An old oak tree had fallen across the pit some time ago and broke the wall near one end and so we decided to work with that and make it the entrance. My first idea for this section was to bolt together heavy structures of tree limbs to form a canopy overhead. But I worried about wind and safety issues and so I turned to apple trees. It really was a no brainer to do that but at the beginning I was thinking sculptural design first. Woodwynn Farm is about growing food and it made much more sense to go with the apple trees. It wasn’t quite that simple because the pit was quite deep and I didn’t want a dark tunnel effect. I also wanted air circulation for the health of the trees and so I decided to add tons of new soil to raise the level up and create a sloping pathway down to the end. As I work further on the larger part of the project I continually make changes and enjoy the process of discovery.

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