Dovile Ciapaite, Year 5, PG13 2021

Crafting a Lithuanian forest: A journey of making oneself in a cultural landscape

‘Crafting a Lithuanian Forest’ examines a reciprocal relationship between people and the forest, through the practice of traditional woodworking that is concerned with who the maker is becoming, and what it is in the making. The project is a commentary on industrial forest practices that take place in the Lithuanian territory of the Curonian Spit, which is protected by UNESCO World Heritage as a unique cultural landscape. It was developed with relentless human efforts over a hundred years to manage natural geomorphological processes—shifting sand dunes. This Lithuanian forest, like many others, is suffering from clear-cutting that is destroying centennial trees and their unique ecosystems. Time for this cultural landscape is running out, and its forest needs urgent social care. The project introduces hand-carved forest structures, that enable people to experience the forest, reminding us of our caring responsibilities: to maintain, restore and sustain. From delicately carved pines that were shaped by shifting sand, to the hand-crafted window and door hinges, all celebrate the cultural landscape, where everything that came from the forest remains in the forest. Storytelling becomes a form of sharing this craft-based knowledge through intergenerational interactions, that create a future for an old-growth forest.

September 1, 2021