Red Oak Labyrinth

Red Oak at the Experimental Farm, Ottawa

Site of the Red Oak Labyrinth

I have wanted to make an outdoor labyrinth under a tree for some time and the opportunity presented itself with an invitation from the Canadensis Botanical Garden in Ottawa. Curators Mary Faught and Judith Parker envisioned temporary artist projects on the site of the new Botanical Garden and have invited 5 artists/teams to create special installations this summer.

Last fall we visited the site just before the snow fell and we were back there again this week and things looked remarkable the same. No leaves on the tree and the grass just greening up.

In preparation for the project the arborist at the Experimental Farm and Arboretum trimmed off the dead branches to make it safe to work under. He suggested the tree was about 100 years old. Feels auspicious!

The tree in question is a Quercus Rubra or more commonly known as a Red Oak. Funny how most of us can’t tell a red oak from a white, but we sure know the difference between a Volkswagen and the Ford. Such is the state of contemporary living. This old oak has low hanging branches that come down almost to the ground, creating a sheltered area beneath its branches. I am hoping the experience of walking a labyrinth in the shadow of this great beauty will offer an opportunity to slow down and take in the landscape, the smells the light and shadow and for a moment enter into slow time,… tree time,… leaf time.

Follow along and track the story of how this idea becomes a real labyrinth path to walk upon.

We would like to acknowledge funding support from the Ontario Arts Council,

an Agency of the Government of Ontario

2014 OAC Logo Colour JPG

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