Opening tomorrow, Echoes: Unearthing Stories of the Forest sees Epping Forest’s Artist-in-Residence, composer/violinist Ellie Wilson, create a new piece inspired by human impact on the forest itself. Here, Ellie provides us with some background on the piece and her deep connections to this historically important piece of woodland…
Epping Forest has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I grew up in Highams Park, learned to ride my bike at Connaught Water and went on school trips to the education centre, Suntrap. Now it’s a place I go to walk my puppy Blixa and escape the speed of the city for a few hours.
My role as Epping Forest’s Artist-in-Residence has been to compose new works inspired by the human impact on the ancient woodland through the centuries: Iron-Age hillforts, WWII bomb craters that are now ponds, a celebration of working-class activism and my ancestor Thomas Willingale – a local labourer who helped save the forest during the 19th century enclosure movement.
Echoes: Unearthing Stories of the Forest melds contemporary classical, folk, and electronica and explores themes of lost and fragmented memories, lingering traces of the past and the spirit of place. It includes a self-penned folk song, field recordings, and a graphic score based on a map of Iron-Age Loughton Camp.
You can experience Echoes: Unearthing Stories of the Forest as a free sound installation in Epping Forest from 12 November. Pick up headphones and a leaflet from Epping Forest’s The View Visitor Centre, Chingford.
There’s no correct way to listen. You can wander around the museum and stop off at the displays that relate to the tracks, you can take the headphones to the Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge (opposite The View) or, if you’d prefer, go outside and listen to the music on Chingford Plain.
Visit my blog to read more about the history that inspired Echoes.
This project is linked to the Waltham Forest London Borough of Culture 2019 season The People’s Forest, curated by Luke Turner and Kirsteen McNish.
Echoes: Unearthing Stories of the Forest is a free sound installation that runs from 12 November 2019-5 January 2020 at The View Visitor Centre, Chingford, Epping Forest, open from 10am-5pm Tuesday to Sunday. CDs and posters will be available to purchase in The View gift shop.
About Ellie Wilson
Ellie plays violin with ‘Britain’s most exciting new folk band’ (Uncut Magazine) and 5-time BBC Radio 2 Folk Award nominees, Stick In The Wheel. Other projects include a commission from Shakespeare’s Globe to write music for the tetralogy Henry VI and Richard III, which runs from 21 November 2019 – 26 January 2020.