Will Forster

Former Mayor of Woking and Lib Dem Councillor for South Woking Learn more

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Unveiling community-carved totem sculptures in Westfield

by willforster on 9 July, 2018

Earlier today, I was pleased to join residents of Kingsmoor Park in Westfield and children from Westfield Primary School to unveil three large wooden totem sculptures carved by the community under the guidance of local artist Ruth Wheeler.

As part of the finishing touches to Thames Valley Housing’s Kingsmoor Park development, the housing association in partnership with Surrey Arts, commissioned artist Ruth Wheeler to work with the local community to create hand-carved wooden totems reflecting the community heritage.

Over the past year Ruth has been working with children from Westfield Primary School, residents from Kingsmoor Park and the local residents association, to source and finalise ideas and designs, and then to hold community carving workshops to create the sculptures, which are now located beside the play area in Jelly Way.  The three totems reflect both historical and current themes – the farmland on which Kingsmoor Park was built, the liquorice and sweet factory previously situated on Liquorice Lane and the multi-cultural and multi-lingual community in Woking.

I think these totems are a real testament to the talent of the local community, who, working with artist Ruth Wheeler, have combined the rich history of the area with the influences of today’s residents, to create fun and beautiful pieces of sculpture for the Kingsmoor Park community to enjoy for years to come.

This year-long creative process has been a true community effort, starting with design and focus workshops with Kingsmoor Park residents and with pupils from the local school and then final designs agreed by a design committee.  The carving was a true community experience with over 50 families taking part.

The designs blend the nature surrounding the estate – trees, leaves and doves – the community, represented by hands and spiral Mehendi patterns designed by the school children, and the historical sweet factory, depicted in the liquorice towers.  I know those involved with the project also wanted the pieces to have a multi-cultural feeling to them reflecting the local community.

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