We made our last play session a party with help from Sam Watson, a great performer interested in creating work for Early Years audiences. We decorated cakes, blew up balloons and there were hats and hooters. In this photo Sam is having so much fun at the party he is in fact wearing two hats. Most of the photos in this blog were taken by the talented Sonja Witts, who is one of the regular parents at our play sessions. There have been so many wonderful people who have made a spontaneous contribution to this project, and I am so grateful and inspired by their generosity. It has been wonderful to be in a position where I can regularly meet and get to know interested people- be it audiences or artists or someone who is both- and informally chat about ideas.
Drew’s session was a brilliant high to end the project on, I felt really lucky to have him perform songs from his repertoire and there were some fantastic moments of everyone singing together and being lifted up and chuckling. I also enjoyed the gentle introduction to Rock n’Roll with his two string guitar and little orange amp.
After the last workshop I was given a beautiful bunch of flowers and the best forest picture book so far, The Conductor by Laetitia Devernay. They are the cherry on top of the things that I have to thank the Royal Botanic Garden of Edinburgh for! We have been very lucky that they took a risk on this idea and they have fully supported this project and all of it’s surprises. None of us have ever made anything quite like this before, and we have learned many lessons along the way. It was not the easy option for them and I am so grateful we have been granted not only the permission but also the means and support to make this project happen. I know that the forest has changed me as an artist and I can feel the waves that it has created around it. None of that would have happened without the Botanics team, especially Ian Edwards, Elinor Gallant and Amy McDonald who helped set it up in the first place. At the risk of this blog becoming an oscar speech now I will also take this opportunity to thank Rhona Matheson, Starcatchers Director, who basically made it all happen. Right, I couldn’t possibly get into it all but all the artists (Claire, Matt, Katy, Geraldine, Ross, Lottie, Niroshini, Nik, Drew, Greg, Sam, Heather, Andy, Skye, Rosie, Eilidh) and volunteers (Hannah, Catriona, Catriona, Hayley, Julien, Emma, Lisa, Duncan, Hazel, Laura) and of course I couldn’t have done it without Alex and Kim who have been there every week, and all the staff at the RBGE who have supported the project.
I really do feel quite emotional about the end of the project. I asked people to write up their experiences of the forest on postcards this week and leave/ leaf them hanging from the branches of the trees in the forest. Here is what was written on some of the other postcards:
Memories of the Forgotten Forest: the rapt look on my toddler’s face as he was entranced by bubbles, balloons, badgers, the moon and a snowstorm, party hats and cupcakes, wooden pebbles and disco balls and a poetic story about a stick. A lovely armchair in the winter sun for reading stories together. We’ve had a magical time in a magical space and will moss you. Thank you!
This has been a wonderful space we’ve returned to again and again. Small changes to the toys and things left around have kept it fresh and stimulating- but it’s a lovely serene space as well. A great place to come when the weather’s been too bad to play in the garden. We’ll miss you- do come back!
Terrific space with sunlight spakiling on the waterfall through the glass and raindrops splashing in the water and rainbows being created with risms. Children laughing and exploring, creating and discovering. What a wonderful space and idea to have this forgotten forest event in the botanics. Many thanks. Clea and Iris
Thank you it has been a lovely space for young children, especially during the winter months. We love “the Botanics” though it lacks somewhat in providing child-focused areas. Starcatchers and the Forgotten Forest has been a fun and very peaceful way to spend several afternoons. Hazel and her team have been a fantastic inspiration to me and the children! Good luck and hopefully we will see you again in the future! Tanji, Joyce and Helena
Great time had by all. Kids as well as the adults! Will be back for sure.
Not only is it a terrific venue with wonderful ambience, but all the leaders are special people adding to the activities with their inventiveness, responsiveness to the children etc. thank you
Too whit Too whoo! Playing on a Monday afternoon. The beanbags. Bouncing. Practising hulahooping. I’ll miss the forgotten forest. I hope it comes back.
Iris (1.5 years) loved rainforest activity. Liked making sounds and joining in with the other children. Lots of different sounds and different activity yet together as a group. Kept her interest.
We are very sorry it’s going. It has been great for the toddlers, especially on those miserable winter mornings when it has been too grim for long walks in the gardens. From Sandy, Robert, Luke and Grace P.S. Hope it will be back next year!
What a wonderful facility! We came yesterday for the first time and are back today.
Thank you, thank you, thank you! The forgotten forest has been a haven from the cold, a source of inspiration and creativity and one of our best friends! We will miss you, Colleen and Fiona xxx
Dear Hazel, I love you and would love you to come to my house one day we could play together. After Christmas I was able to use my scooter to come to the gardens. Best Wishes, Finlay, 3.5 years old
Georgina has enjoyed her time here very much. Fun, free, creative play time. Lots of interaction with a few simple play items (less is most definitely more) Robert
Happy Times at Happy Forest
The forgotten forest has made me even happier and I liked meeting the hedgehog. Thank you x
I heart the forgotten forest
My name is Jasmine Bee. I am 3.5 years and have loved visiting the forgotten forest. I pretend I am in the Wizard of Oz and I love the grassy hill too. Thankyou, Jazzy B x
A wonderful place for the wee ones (and their mums!) We’ve been many times and we’re sorry to see it go.
Forgotten Forest has been a delightful, fun and educational experience for our two year old granddaughter and will be sorely missed. many thanks! (come back!)
Wonderful place! Would be nice to continue with the forgotten forest.
Isla (2y) has been a regular visitor. She loves it here, playing busily and happily and reading Stanley’s Stick. The peace, the space and scope for imagination are marvelous. We will miss it so. haste ye back!
Fergus and I will really miss this lovely space- always a pleasure to come and spend time here. A really friendly, bright and inspiring place. Sorry to see it go.
This has been such a great space for my grandson Leo and myself to come in the afternoons. Leo did not have much contact with other children when we started coming here, when he was 9 months old. Now he has developed into a very sociable little boy who enjoys interactivity with all the other children. We will miss the forgotten forest so much. Margo Milne
Ollie and Flora have loved having the Forest here and will miss it loads. Please come back! Have loved the location and atmosphere.
Thank you for making such a beautiful space for our babies! Please come back! Jack