On 18th April at our Monthly Members’ Meeting, we unveiled the ‘Tree of Knowledge’, a wall hanging made by the Craft Group to celebrate and commemorate U3A Todmorden’s 10th anniversary which took place last year.
The piece is housed permanently in the Central Methodist Church’s upper room in a glazed frame made from reclaimed wood by John Andreae, the son-in-law of our founder, John McNair.
The piece, which also bears witness to hundreds of hours of work by a team of Craft Group members, represents each of our Special Interest Groups extant at the time of our anniversary.
Each group is shown as an apple whose design characterises each group. Thus, Philosophy is represented by Rodin’s ‘The Thinker’; the intricacies of philosophical thought are shown by the convolutions of quilling and its logic by straight lines.
By contrast, Spanish consists of the vivid flag of Spain with the black ‘Osborne’ bull in the centre.
Anglo-Saxon is emblematised by the Alfred Jewel delicately figured in gold thread on a green sheeny background, and Golf, played at Todmorden Golf Club, emphasises something of the rough landscape surrounding the course by using felting in greens, browns and greys.
Numerous techniques have been deployed. In addition to those already mentioned you can find macramé, découpage, collage, beading, patchwork, embroidery, appliqué, knitting, lace-making, weaving and ceramics.
In this respect, the Badminton and Table Tennis Club is exceptional. The apple-artist has used an embroidery background; the foregrounded objects are composed of cocktail sticks, garden and rubberised twine, a prosecco cork, a Wetherspoons stirrer, nail polish, brads and feathers.
Craft Group members designed the apples in consultation with Group convenors, and each apple took an average of 40 hours to complete.
This is truly a labour of love, celebrating what U3A Todmorden has offered the town’s active and enquiring retired community, and furnishing a permanent record of one aspect of community life in the Upper Calder Valley in the 21st century.
It is only fitting public recognition should be given to the Craft Group for the generous way they have dedicated their talents, skills and services to the production of this ‘Tree of Knowledge’, and to the Methodist Church for giving the hanging a home. Long may both ‘Tree’ and Church be a feature of Todmorden.