Search

Tree is centre of silk town tribute

PUBLISHED: 05:22 28 February 2003 | UPDATED: 16:22 24 February 2010

A DEAD tree has been brought back to life to form a stunning totem pole tribute to a town's reputation of being the capital of the British silk weaving industry.

A DEAD tree has been brought back to life to form a stunning totem pole tribute to a town's reputation of being the capital of the British silk weaving industry.

Silk from Sudbury sells all round the world, and now the town's skyline is telling the story in the form of a tree carved to depict aspects of the craft.

From the remains of a 100-year-old Monterey Cypress tree, Suffolk-born sculptor Ben Platts-Mills, of Eye, has completed a three-month project to tell the story of silk from the humble moth to finished garment.

Backed by sponsorship of £7,000, the 23ft tall work of art is set to become a tourist attraction, and is situated beside one of the main roads into town, near the entrance to the Delphi Diesel Systems factory.

The concept of saving the dead tree, which is anticipated to have a life expectancy of several decades, was that of Babergh District Council horticultural services manager Mark Tavernor.

Mr Tavernor approached Venessa Parker, of Groton-based Land Sculpture Design Partnership, which has been responsible for a number of works in the region, to come up with ideas.

The tree is on council land – once being part of the former garden of the now demolished Chilton Lodge property – and Miss Parker recommended paying tribute to the silk industry.

As an art college work experience person a decade earlier, she had undertaken duties at Gainsborough Silks, one of the town's three silk fabric manufacturers that employ a total of 300 people.

She commented: "I wanted to feature a traditional industry that is still very much alive. In the past Sudbury was famous for its brick making and lime industries, but these have died out. The design of the tree commences from the top with a moth with its wings spread, and at the bottom there is a woman wearing a silk dress.

Miss Parker said although the town's brick industry has died, it still continues across the Essex border, from where the Bulmer Brick and Tile Company will be sponsoring bricks to eventually form a plinth round the tree.

Babergh chairman Sue Carpendale said: "I believe the sculpture will become a source of pride for local people and a must-see sight for tourists."


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the East Anglian Daily Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the East Anglian Daily Times