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New sculpture on Farnham Heath

There’s something new and very exciting appeared on Farnham Heath Nature Reserve this Spring and it’s caught the attention of the BBC! ‘The House of Invisible Hands’ is a permanent wooden structure constructed out of oak with walls of chestnut coppice by sculptor Walter Bailey.

The House of Invisible Hands constructed out of oak & chestnut by Walter Bailey

The inspiration for the piece came from the historical process of local glass making during mediaeval times. This practise involved working within the forest and using the raw materials of the landscape to keep the furnaces going. The impurities in the materials created the green of the resulting glass objects.

The House of Invisible Hands (photograph by John Miller)

Walter comments; “The House of Invisible Hands is a shrine to those who made forest glass. The glass was made by peasants and often children worked long hours stoking the furnaces. This structure represents the many hands that laboured within local forests years ago.”

The hand carved oak structure blends in amongst the trees at the view point on Farnham Heath offering a shelter and rest point for walkers to experience the artwork from outside and within.

Photograph by John Miller

Walter continues; ….. “It is my hope that when you visit the site, you enter into the tranquility of the landscape”.

The BBC Countryfile team were so taken with the concept of the piece that they wanted to film it being built. They joined Walter and his team of volunteers as they created the structure in a day. Throughout the process Walter explained the stages to presenter Steve Brown.

BBC Countryfile presenter Steve Brown talking to Walter Bailey

Walter comments; “It was fantastic for the Countryfile Team to take such an interest in the piece – it’s a great opportunity to profile the arts within Surrey but also the magnificent landscape of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty”.

This project is part of Surrey Unearthed an art programme from Surrey Hills Arts, which has seen a variety of artists create pieces inspired by the history and natural materials of the Surrey Hills.

See how the ‘House of Invisible Hands’ was created on BBC’s Countryfile this Sunday 31 March at 6pm.

Film created by Luke Whatley-Bigg

The Sculpture can be found on the RSPB Farnham Heath Nature Reserve, visitors can park at the Rural Life Centre, The Reeds Road, Tilford GU10 2DL.