The Amber Tree Project
The Amber Tree
A never-ending global collaborative drawing
The Amber Tree is a memorial to those we have lost. It is drawn by hundreds of people, who have added branches over the years. People are invited to draw a representation of loved ones lost, as an animal or magical spirit in the tree branches or roots. The tree exists as a physical collage, which can be hired for exhibit or for interactive workshops where we add branches and roots and beings to the tree.
The Amber Tree is part of The Amber Forest - this is a forest of hundreds of tree drawings, sent by people who could not make it to workshops. See below for photos of some of the trees, and iterations of the tree.
All are welcome to send tree drawings and magical spirits and animals to join The Amber Forest. For every tree drawing sent, we plant a tree, via Brew Trees.
During Covid lockdown, we are meeting online to draw trees and beings for the forest, and are also building an online version of the forest.
Origins - see The Amber Forest story below:
Draw with us from Afar.
Sign up here to be an 'Afar Artist'.
For those who can't make it in body to Amber Tree workshops, please sign up for an "Afar' ticket. Send us a drawing or photo of a local tree where you are living, to include in the global forest. We ask for donations to cover admin and materials, and tree planting.
The Amber Tree Story
2015-17 I drew trees and taught drawing in SE Asia.
Then I started drawing trees using a generative system based on observation. Each branch bifurcated (split into two) and branches wound around each other.
I shared the method of growing tree drawings with students etc
Matt, as an owl
At my friend Matt's funeral, we began drawing a tree together, in his memory. He was a wonderful artist himself, painting Somerset landscapes. We all added a few branches, and then more pages, making a quilt-like mosaic. One person drew an image of Matt as an owl in the tree. Since then, I have shared the tree with people around the world, and invited them to draw beings they have lost in the branches and roots.
In the late summer of 2018 The Amber Tree was installed in a beautiful bell tent at Santosa Yoga Camp, as a memorial to Matt. .People played music and drew, in his memory. The tree grew.
Following this, I have taken the tree with me to various countries, including to a tree drawing residency in Finland, to workshops in Highgate Wood, and most recently to New York.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like The Amber Tree to come to you for a collaborative workshop, or if you would like to send a tree drawing from afar.
The next plan is to copy all the A4 panels created up to now onto bamboo, so that there are copies of various iterations of the tree as it grows. We are going to sell these as Tree Towels, in the hope of reducing paper towel single usage. Also we are hoping to create Tree Shirts, by selling the A4 bamboo panels to be sewn onto old T Shirts, to upcycle into Tree Shirts. Watch this space!
The Amber Tree was most recently installed at Patricia Miranda's MAPSpace gallery, 4-11th November 2019.
People of all ages collaborated to grow the drawing over the week. I ran several collaborative drawing workshops, and was joined by Andrea Kantrowitz, TtD Director, over the final weekend, to share more drawing exercises and to host discussions on drawing, cognition and pedagogy.
Part I: Wednesday- Friday Nov 6-8, 10am-4pm
Led by Artist & researcher Angie Brew, PhD
Part II: Saturday Nov 9, 10am-4pm & Sunday Nov 10, 10am-1pm
Led by Artist researchers Angie Brew, PhD, and Andrea Kantrowitz, EdD
Sunday 2-4pm, Pop Up show & reception
Workshop I: Participants contributed to a monumental tree drawing, installed in the gallery for the week, drawing new branches and growing a forest family around the Mother Tree.
This 3-day workshop utilized Angie Brew’s method of slow observational drawing developed during her PhD research on drawing pedagogy and cognition, called The Seeing Hand. Participants created observational and collaborative drawings both independently and together, to grow the Amber Tree.
Workshop II: Over the weekend, Dr. Angie Brew and Dr. Andrea Kantrowitz shared their ‘Thinking through Drawing’ professional and collaborative practices, and explored how drawing can help us to understand and to problem solve. The focus was on embodied drawing practices, and included discussions and drawing, and continued the work on the Amber Forest.
The two sessions culminated in a popup exhibition of The Amber Tree.
People were invited to send images from afar, which we printed and added to the Amber Forest. For every AFAR tree drawing sent to us we planted a tree in Madagascar in a Mangrove.