We are lucky enough to have some very creative people at the maintenance team. Once in a while I can ask them to create something for me and if they’re not too busy with other projects they’re happy to help me out. After explaining my idea they made me a freestanding plywood tree using a concrete block to stand it in. It was up to us, or better our visitors, to get the bare wood filled with peace wishes.
After an hour cutting leaves out of coloured paper we thought we’d created a pile that would last forever but it was all used up within days. Because of the time of year, we used orange, green and yellow autumn colours.
What you need:
- a fantastic maintenance team of husband or neighbor or a handy (wo)man who does all that herself
- concrete block
- material previous display if you have
- information internet about peace week
- (enlarged) images symbolizing peace
- coloured card
- several packages of blu-tack to paste the leaves to the tree but a glue stick will work as well/stapler/tape/guillotine/scissors/ruler/glue stick/marker
What to do:
Organize a plywood or real treetrunk or create one yourself with branches from trees. On this webside you can find several displays in which I use real branches. If it’s freestanding you need to secure it. A concrete block works a treat or a Christmas tree stand. If you situate it against awall, make sure you attach it securely.
To cover up the concrete base I collected falling leafs from the trees outside our doors and attached them with blue-tack to the trunk and base.
We wrote a few peace wishes on the leafs to start off with and with markers and a handful of paper leafs we asked visiting students to write a wish and put it on the tree. Most of them were happy to do so, though some needed a bit of encouragement or advice about what to write.
I explained that they could write what they wanted as long as it had to do with peace, for instance a peace wish for their family or a particular friend. Maybe a peace wish for themselves or a wish for the world. They could write what peace meant to them, how they saw peace or wanted it to be.
We were not sure if the students would participate but within a few days the bare tree was covered in leafs. The packets of blue-tack we used to attach the leaves vanished like mist on a sunny morning and I started using a glue stick and tape. When the surface was completely covered I stacked the leaves between the others hoping the wishes could still be read.
The tree was a bit wobbly and it actually needed a bit more support at the higher end but for the maintenance team and me it was a good learning experience. Next time we’ll support the plywood with a spine of planks in the middle, acting like a truck. Some of the wishes were heart warming and some were heartbreaking like:I wish my brother could live with me or visit me more often