23 Oct Jack o Lantern Spectacular lights up local woodland
As Autumn is upon us and the days turn shorter and chillier, a warm welcome awaits visitors to Stoneface Creative’s Jack o Lantern Spectacular on Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 October (12pm – 6pm). This spooky event takes place in the outdoor workspace of Sheffield artist and sculptor Andrew Vickers at Storrs Wood, a ten acre private ancient woodland in the heart of the Loxley Valley.
Following the success of last year’s spectacular, which saw over fifty pumpkins hand-carved by visitors from all over the city and brought along to majestically illuminate the woodland sculpture trail, visitors can expect to enjoy a spiritual celebration of art and the natural environment, just ahead of the witching season, All Hallows Eve.
This year, visitors are encouraged to once again bring a carved pumpkin to take pride of place amidst the sculpture and tree-lined woodland pathways and the banks of Storrs Brook. The Jack o Lanterns will be lit from mid-afternoon on both days to create a magical lantern display throughout the evening.
Carvings by visitors, local artists and community groups are expected to range from the beautiful and the macabre to pure spooky fun with pumpkins being carved not only from the recognisable orange fruit but created from a range of mixed media from knitted, clay and painted faces to sinister steel lanterns made from old gas bottles! Not to be forgotten, the carved turnip and potato will make a comeback as part of a call for an alternative ‘Fringe Festival’ taking place at the event in honour of the original Jack o Lantern of the old Irish legend, Stingy Jack, a trickster who plays a trick on the devil that backfires and leaves him to wander the earth forever with just a lump of coal inside a carved turnip to light his way.
Families are encouraged to arrive early to enjoy woodland explorer activities around the adorned woodland walk and sculpture trail, adding to the seasonal fun by dressing in their spooktacular Halloween best. On Sunday 28 October, 3-5pm, local author and storyteller, Carmel Page will be telling the spellbinding story of the ‘Witch of Storrs Wood’ gathered around the mystical stone circle and fire pit, where you might spot a glimpse of her leafy skirt tails and pointy pumpkin features whilst warming your hands around the roaring open fire.
Andrew Vickers talks of the inspiration and symbolism behind the Jack of Lantern event:
“I’ve always liked the idea of having spirit guardians that protect the woodland paths and so All Hallow’s Eve, when Celts believed that the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred, is a chance for us to bring that to life. By taking the circular woodland walk along the sculpture trail led by the pumpkin lights, you’ll discover the latest and longest sculpture to be laid at Storrs Wood, Tall Paul, the giant green guardian of the woodland pathways. Tall Paul lies akin to where the woodland pathways cross and in mythology crossroads can represent a location between worlds where spirits abound and the unlikely takes place. If only we could grow a giant sized pumpkin for him!
We ‘d love to see over a hundred pumpkins lit in the wood this year. Come All Saints Day, the pumpkins are laid to rest by being recycled into our own Storrs Wood compost which we’ll use to grow more pumpkin’s ready for next year’s Jack o Lantern spectacular!”
In addition to the carved pumpkin trail, the woodland will be a showcase of majestic sculptures and affordable art and host a sculpture raffle and refreshments.
Storrs Wood Woodland Weekend, Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 October (12pm – 6pm). Admission Adults £2, Children £1. Free entry for the carver when bringing a carved pumpkin (one per group). £1 Woodland Activity Sheet. The Woodland Walk and Sculpture Trail is a 15 minute round route or a 30 minute leisurely stroll – warm clothing and sturdy shoes are recommended.