This year we celebrate our 125th anniversary and the legacy of two amazing people, John and Joséphine Bowes. Not only did they share a love for one other, but in the heart of Teesdale created a breathtaking Museum to celebrate their love of art. In the grounds of the Museum under construction, John Bowes planted a specially selected Monkey Puzzle tree, purchased from Mr Lane of Great Berkhampsted, Hertfordshire. The tree travelled North by train and was planted in the summer of 1871. John and Joséphine lavished special care on the tree throughout its juvenile years.
The tree thrived and was photographed by Elijah Yeoman, a local photographer, in 1930.
Unfortunately, last year the tree died and to ensure the safety of the public, we had to have its branches removed. Its totem pole-like appearance intrigued visitors and sparked stories from Barnard Castle residents who remember playing under it as children.
To celebrate its life, our 125th anniversary and the opening of a new Bowes Centre for Art, Craft and Design at the Museum, headed up by Director, Matthew Read, we would like you to help us raise £10,000 to turn this magnificent tree into up to 125 hand-turned bowls for supporters to own and a larger version, the 'Bowes Bowl' which will be added into the Museum's collection for posterity.
Using seasoned wood from the actual Monkey Puzzle Tree, the first tree to be bought and planted in the grounds by John Bowes, we will create up to 125 hand-turned bowls measuring approximately 8 inches in diameter, each inset with a central cast bronze medallion bearing an inscription describing the provenance of the material. By pledging £125, you will own one of these exclusive heirloom artefacts; a never-to-be-repeated piece of Bowes Museum history. Your bowl will be part of a strict limited edition of 125.
Or treat yourself from a wide range of quirky, one-off rewards whilst supporting this creative project with pledges from £1 to £6,250. All design work, wood turning and manufacture will be carried out by regional Northern artists, businesses and craftspeople.
If a piece of John Bowes history doesn't float your boat or budget, then we've heaps of other rewards. Why not splash out on a wooden keyring which has the same provenance as the bowl, or a packet of monkey puzzle seeds (of Scottish decent as our tree was a male and sadly didn't produce seeds) to plant your own fine specimens. Or give yourself that warm feeling inside by supporting the campaign and donating a pack of hardwood briquettes to the fuel vulnerable this winter.
If you love trees, craft, The Bowes Museum, history, home interiors, nature, woodlands, ecology or the warm feeling of making something important happen, then please pledge. Thanks for your support :)
Risks and challenges
There are few risks to the project. The tree has been felled and whilst the tree had died, the wood is of good quality and, once kiln-dried should be of suitable nature to turn.
Using local craftspeople means that timescales for producing the rewards may be delayed in extreme circumstances, but if this happens, backers will be notified and given regular updates about when to expect delivery.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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