The reserve – a National Trust site – was nominated by the public as the best spot in the area for a new, site-specific public artwork through the East Contemporary Visual Arts Network’s New Geographies commissioning programme. We were commissioned by Wysing Arts Centre, one of the organisations backing this region-wide series of projects, which is funded by the Arts Council.
Heather and I decided to create the piece within a tight timeframe: two months from beginning to end, from trees in the wood to the finished pavilion. We also made the decision to only use the same sorts of materials that can be found around Wicken Fen.
Because of a project to rewild the area, we couldn’t harvest the local reeds or sedge grass, so we chose to use straw instead. We built the sides ourselves, then for the roof we collaborated with a local thatcher, Jeff Helm, who apprenticed in the area – his first ever job was thatching a hayrick near where we put the piece – using the long-stemmed thatching straw he grows.