New exhibition to celebrate lost words of nature

Stuart Buckle gets to work creating minnow Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Stuart Buckle gets to work creating minnow Picture: RACHEL EDGE - Credit: Archant

A new exhibition in Snape Maltings is to celebrate words that have been disappearing from the Oxford Children’s Junior Dictionary.

The Lost Words, which will be hosted by the Lettering Arts Trust, will focus on 31 words that have been removed from the dictionary in recent years and will look at the images, feelings and associations have with words such as acorn, conker,adder, kingfisher, lark, fern and willow.

All of these words have been removed from the children’s dictionary in the past few years, often in favour of words associated with modern technology.

The exhibition is seen as a response to ‘The Lost Words - A Spell Book’ by Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris which aimed to celebrate those words.

Leading lettering artists will each be carving one of these words into stone before they are placed into a wildlife scene, accompanied by their Oxford English Dictionary entries.

Snape Nature words exhibition
Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Snape Nature words exhibition Picture: RACHEL EDGE - Credit: Archant


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Lynne Alexander, director of education & exhibitions at the Lettering Arts Trust, said, “The loss of natural words is actually quite shocking so we thought lets carve them in stone.

The Oxford University Press says that it needs to make room for new words: the likes of ‘blog’, ‘attachment’,‘smartphone’, but should we be ignoring the words that make up the magic and mystery of our natural world?

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“If you don’t see, read and hear these words, in fifty years’ time, they will mean nothing.

“It is not a protest it’s just an artistic response to the loss of those words from the junior dictionary.

Otter by Iain Cotton Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Otter by Iain Cotton Picture: RACHEL EDGE - Credit: Archant

“I’m so pleased with the pieces, the artists are an amazing bunch, they are just so talented.”

The trust also hopes that the new exhibition will preserve the tradition of carving which it says has “been mastered by only a few modern-day artists”.

Stuart Buckle, a letter carver from Debenham, is the only Suffolk artist taking part, his piece is on the word minnow.

“I chose the word minnow. I thought of days gone by when I was a child, dabbling about and trying to catch fish,” said Mr Buckle.

The exhibition is seen as a response to The Lost Words - A Spell Book by Robert MacFarlane and Jac

The exhibition is seen as a response to The Lost Words - A Spell Book by Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris Picture: RACHEL EDGE - Credit: Archant

“The thought of these words just disappearing I find really sad. It’s important to have them at least last in stone.”

The exhibition will open its doors on March 15 at the Lettering Arts Centre.

Magpie by Louise Tiplady Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Magpie by Louise Tiplady Picture: RACHEL EDGE - Credit: Archant

Acorn by Eric Marland Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Acorn by Eric Marland Picture: RACHEL EDGE - Credit: Archant

Minnow taking shape Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Minnow taking shape Picture: RACHEL EDGE - Credit: Archant

Conker by Gillian Forbes Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Conker by Gillian Forbes Picture: RACHEL EDGE - Credit: Archant

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