The Heligan oak project 'The Lightening Dancer'

This time last year I was in the midst of making 500 copper oak leaves for a collaborative project at the Lost Gardens of Heligan.

I had been contacted by fellow artist James Eddy to work with him on a permanent installation in the Stewards House which was being refurbished at the time. It sounded a really exciting opportunity to be involved with such a great organisation.

So work commenced on new etching artwork to create larger oak leaves than the ones I already produced.  James was busy working on the actual oak to sculpt a 'tree' from which the oak leaves would be suspended. This was formed from a section of fallen oak from the actual garden. We visited the site to get an idea of scale & realised we were going to need a lot of leaves!!

As the first part of the year is a quieter time in St Ives it was perfect timing so I was able to concentrate on heating, colouring & soldering all those leaves.  Some were left as single pieces & others were attached to thicker wires to form a 'bunch'.  It had also been discussed about the possibility of some acorns to add to the leaves.  This resulted in some solid cast brass versions which are hiding among the leaves & branches.

Work continued on the building work at the site over the summer & when we were able to install the leaves Tim, James & I spent quite a while positioning & fixing them one by one into the oak structure. This was an organic process & we did not really know until we had finished if it was going to be enough leaves!?  

However the final leaf was fixed & we are delighted with the overall effect & impact of the installation.  Tim & I did not actually get back to Heligan until December to see the totally finished setting.  It was wonderful to be able to sit in one of the chairs & look up to see the results of all the hard work.  Also the visitor & staff response has been so positive with lots of compliments.

It was a pleasure to create work for 'The Lightening Dancer' with James Eddy which is going to be viewed by so many people for many years to come.


If you would like your own little oak leaf I have added some to the website here

If you would like to visit the Lost Gardens of Heligan details can be found here
Details of James Eddy's work can be seen here we also stock some of his fish shoal pieces in our Island Square Gallery


  • That’s a lot of leaves! It’s a really beautiful project and I imagine looks quite different in different lights and times of day. Gorgeous!

    Gabbie Gardner
  • Absolutely stunning.

    Cheryl Maycock

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