Elmwood College’s horticultural department was approached by Scotland based artist Craig Coulthard who sought advice for an unusual entry into the 2012 Cultural Olympiad project “Artists taking the lead”.
Craig’s ambitious entry Forest Pitch, which involves a football pitch hidden within a forest was chosen from 98 Scottish entries and will receive a lottery funded commission. Trees are felled from the forest floor and used to create a stand, goalposts and a shelter that will act as both a changing room and later, an exhibition space. One football match only is scheduled to be played on the pitch, which will be open to spectators and once the football match is over the pitch will be left to be taken over by nature again - the natural world, and become a living relic of the Olympics in contrast to the new buildings created in London for the games.
Craig’s parents who stay in Balmullo had suggested Craig contact the college’s horticultural section for advice and Craig was quickly put in touch with Greenkeeping Lecturer, Stuart Mackie, who offered his expertise in identifying construction options, specs, costs and timetables while not disturbing, disrupting or changing the existing site conditions. Craig described Stuart as being “very keen and positive about the whole project”.
The 28 year old who is originally from Germany now resides in Edinburgh. The former Edinburgh College of Art student has had a busy and successful career since graduating and has recently completed a 3 month residency at Atelier Hoherweg in Dusseldorf. A return visit to an old football pitch he played on as a child was the inspiration for this project, the largest to date, that he has been commissioned to undertake.
The Forest Pitch is one of 12 commissions that will be taking place across the UK over the next three years; each inspired by their location and celebrating the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games. The Forest Pitch is most likely going to be located in the Borders area due to the significant forested area in that location. The exact site will be announced at a later date.
Craig is looking forward to working with Elmwood College. “Stuart reassured me and gave me confidence with his expertise – I’m really excited about the prospect of involving Elmwood College and their students in this commission. It is not very often you get an opportunity to work on such a large scale project”.