Memory tree commissions


It was in 2016 that we completed the first 'Memory Tree' for Cornwall Hospice Care.  This was at the Mount Edgcumbe Hospice and at the time it was the largest metalwork piece we had created.

We had been approached to create a tree sculpture to be installed within the chapel at the hospice in St Austell.  We visited the site before I designed a copper tree which could span across the corner area.

The idea of a memory tree was so that Cornwall Hospice Care could raise funds for the valuable support they provide and also to give relatives/friends an opportunity to remember loved ones with a unique metal leaf to be attached to the tree at Mount Edgcumbe Hospice.  You can find our more about the charity here...

Metalwork tree construction images in copper by Sharon McSwiney


The tree was constructed from sheets of copper. Prior to  working with the metal a paper template was used to help with the layout of the branches.  After cutting the shape, texture was applied with various hammers before heating the metal to oxidised the surface.  Each branch was individually made by hand.

Drawings for etching artwork of leaf designs by Sharon McSwiney


Several different etched leaf designs including; oak, sycamore, horse chestnut, acer, lime, beech & ivy are suspended from the branches.  The leaves also include a small brass 'tag' with names & messages applied.

Sharon Mcswiney with a copper tree commission at Mount Edgcumbe hospice
Sharon Mcswiney with metal tree at Mount Edgcumbe Hospice



Then in 2017 a much larger tree was commissioned for CHC in memory of Dianh Mary Teagle by her family.  This was to be wall mounted in a quiet space this time at St Julia's Hospice in Hayle.

Design ideas for St Julias hospice for a Memory Tree by Sharon McSwiney


The initial layout had to be planned in our garden as it was too large for my studio space!  This template was then tried at the hospice to ensure it would be large enough to fill the area planned.  Once we were all happy many hours were then spent hammering & texturing the copper surface to create a bark like effect.

 texture copper metal surface by Sharon McSwiney


Hammering texture on copper by Sharon McSwiney


Little birds & acorns were added to the branches so that the tree did not look too sparse in the beginning before the leaves started to be installed.  Once again a variety of leaves have been suspended from the branches over the following years & the collection continues to grow.


brass oak leaves on a copper branch handmade by Sharon McSwiney
Memory tree being constructed at St Julia's Hospice by Sharon McSwiney



It is possible to order your own copper or brass leaf with a personal message via the CHC here...

handmade metal leaves in copper and brass by Sharon Mcswiney



It is very special to think we have these 2 pieces permanently on display here in Cornwall.  I am honored to be able to offer something which may help people, with something I have made, when coming to terms with the loss of a loved one or to mark a memory but also support CHC at the same time.


Sharon McSwiney with her handmade metal memory tree at St Julia's Hospice in Hayle
Leaves on the memory tree at St Julia's Hospice by Sharon McSwiney   Metalwork memory tree handmade by Sharon McSwiney at St Julia's Hospice in Hayle, Cornwall Memory tree with leaves by Sharon McSwiney at St Julia's Hospice


I am currently in the process of designing a proposal for another larger scale free standing metal tree in Worcestershire which will be another challenge!  It is sometimes good to push yourself out of your comfort zone.  Watch this space for updates...

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