Wren and Acorn, 2018

Netsuke, hand carved stained boxwood with inlaid buffalo horn

Signed on an inset tablet of 18ct gold

Height 6.1cm (2 3/8")
Width 3.5cm (1 3/8")
Depth 4.8cm (1 7/8")


Private Collection, France, 2018


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More about Wren and Acorn, 2018

Wren & Acorn is the first in a series that memorialises words that were precious to me during childhood, but are now in danger of fading from use.

“Landmarks”, by Robert Macfarlane, is a study of the British landscape and language, and the opening chapter describes how, in recent years, the Junior Oxford English Dictionary cut around 50 words connected with nature and the countryside from the 10,000-entry volume. Words like acorn, catkin, conker, cygnet, mistletoe, nectar, pasture and willow were replaced with analogue, blog and chatroom - words associated with the increasingly interior, solitary, modern childhood. As Robert Macfarlane says so concisely: “For blackberry, read BlackBerry”.

I was deeply saddened by this move, and what it says about the changing character of childhood, of increasing social isolation, and our collective withdrawal from the natural environment. I decided to make a series of carvings that would stand on their own merits as depictions of British nature, but would also serve to memorialise the ‘lost words’ that were so much a part of my Sussex childhood.

Wren is one of the lost words, and so is Acorn, and I decided that I could bring those together for this initial piece.

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