The Dreaming Forest started in June, 2020 during the first lockdown. In an effort to connect people across all ages in a time of isolation, Hammersmith United Charities invited artist Carolyn Defrin and local community organisations to design an experience that would help people feel less alone.
Exhausted by technology, and mindful of a range of needs across age, safety and access to materials, the dreaming forest deliberately planted roots in low-fi modes of communication akin to pen-pal letter writing.
150 children from Hammersmith received a special packet containing two birch wood leaf-halves. On one half they were invited to answer the following question:
WHAT ARE YOU DREAMING ABOUT?
And on the other half, they asked their pen-pal a new question.
Older residents in Hammersmith then received the children's leaves and were invited to creatively respond to the children's questions through writing and drawing.
In total, nearly 300 participants took part.
Visit the different forests below to view each
pen-pal exchange along with original poetry by Carolyn Defrin.
visit the forests
The dreaming forest, like most forests, reveals itself across the four seasons.
As earth hardens and brisk winds chill,
Winter’s forest makes way for clear dreams to catch still in icicles...
and seep their waters
into growing earth.
Spring’s forest now sees young dreams rise up
from deep within and reverberate out loud...
One leaf writes to the next, and the next to the next and summer charms forth our dreams for unicorn ice cream and conversations with lion friends...
Walking into Autumn’s dreams you ask me if I like to eat chocolate cake
and my answer is a small pink and orange house with the lights on...