Sunday 23 May 2021

Susie Mendelsson & Dean Reddick and Dean Reddick & Natalie Low - Urban Bonsais Real and Imagined

Today is the final day of the Exhibition and the last day of the Urban Tree Festival 2021 Urban Tree Festival

Here is an Urban Bonsai that I worked on last week with the participants of our Urban Bonsai workshop. This bonsai is inspired by railway embankments and I have attempted to recreate the feel of a tree lined embankment using a roof ridge tile and a group planting. The moss helps unify the planting and helps hold the soil in place whilst the soil settles and the tree roots begin to grow. This group bonsai will develop over the coming years, with the tree trunks thickening and branches developing. 

Railway Embankment by Dean Reddick

We have two art works to exhibit today. The first is by artist Susie Mendelsson with words by Dean Reddick.

Susan Mendelsson was born at Hackney, London and educated at the Manchester Metropolitan University, gaining a B.A. (hons.) in Graphic Design. She then took a Teaching Diploma in Art from at University of Haifa, Israel and an M.A. in Fine Art from Coventry University. A figurative artist who has been influenced by the German expressionists as well as medieval art and works mainly in paint and mixed media. In her Suffolk studio she creates the most amazing 3D figures and characters often made from found objects.

Dean Reddick is an  art therapist and artist and a founder member of Collect Connect along with Alban, Bryan and Stuart. Art Works (

Excerpt from the Lament of the Entwives

'The Elves began it, waking the trees...'

The Last Elf:        'You are still here then after all of these years?'

Entwives:             'We have survived as some wives do, long into the dwindling 
                                of the forests and woods'
The Last Elf:        'You are so few. What happened to the others?
Entwives:             'Gone, down through time, leaving us alone, our blossom 
                                 untended and our songs unanswered.' 

The Last Elf:        'But what of the Oak, he seemed  so strong?'
Entwives:             'His strength was all stolen to build engines for war, the 
                                mighty, great oak is with us no more'

The Last Elf:        'Then what of the Ash, so stalwart and stately?'
Entwives:             'Ash burned well and fuelled men's greed and kept folk warm 
                                when they were in need.'

The Last Elf:        'Surely not Holly, so prickly and clever'
Entwives:             'Yes even Holly, gone now, forever.' 

The last Elf:         'With so many trees lost it seems sad to go on, I can end the 
                                 great spell and silence your song'
Entwives:             'We refuse your temptation to forget those that are lost. 
                                For now we will hide in the shrubberies and recycled 
                                compost. We will wait to see if the Forests grow back, we will 
                                look for the acorn, the berry, the sap. 
                                We will put forth our flowers, our fruit and our leaves and 
                                keep hope alive deep within all trees.

Our final Urban Bonsai comes from Dean Reddick with words by Natalie Low. 

A rock and a hard place is my favourite spot,

I thrive in surviving where others do not.

Your crack in the pavement is my vein and artery:

My city, your city, inherently part of me.

My limbs are quicksilver, dripping on down.

We’re spreading all over and under this town.

Downtrodden, upended, sidelined and outcast,

I’m making our plans to return to our past.

Too silent to see us, too many to fight us,

We’re gobbling up all your grimy detritus.

Singing along to the car engines’ humming,

So when we do rise up you won't hear us coming.

A big thank you to all our contributors who so generously give Collect Connect their time and expertise. 

And a big thank you to everyone at The Urban Tree Festival. 

See you again next year.


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