Sycamore Gap - A Sacred Space

November 13, 2023 5 min read

Sycamore Gap

The summer of 2023 was a tricky time for me and my family. My eldest had been away from home for almost a whole year, and anyone who has had a child fly the nest will know that it can be a mixed bag of emotions. 

My youngest had their challenges as well. The teenage years are a rollercoaster ride, that's for sure! In order to switch off for the summer and reset as a family, my husband, my youngest, and I were keen to have a local staycation with some great country walks, relaxation and minimal pressure. As much as we love being at home, we knew to relax fully, we needed to get away.

Living in North East England really is a privilege. It takes little time to reach the city, the coast, or the countryside, and it's no surprise that Northumberland is listed as one of thebest UK destinations by The Times for 2023.

I have lived in North East England for over 25 years, and during that time, I have visited various places. However, there is one particular destination that I had been eager to explore and create a new collection reflecting its beauty. The Sycamore Gap is an iconic site, and I have seen numerous artists create their unique versions of it. I was excited to add my own creative spin on this special location.

Sycamore Gap is a place you often hear about and see in pictures, but experiencing it in person is an entirely different story. The majestic and resilient Sycamore Tree is a sight to behold, and the sacred space it creates is truly magical. I have always been fascinated by trees, especially how they thrive together. When one tree is unwell, a healthy tree will send resources and nutrients to heal it. Isn't that amazing? The fact that the Sycamore Gap tree had survived for 300 years, alone and embedded into a Roman wall in a very windy place amidst wars and human contact, is nothing short of awe-inspiring.

For me, the tree represented the strength and resilience of the North, embodying the connection between humans and the natural world with the ability to reconnect us with our own nature, our own sense of wonder, determination and defiance. 

During our visit to the breathtaking tree, I felt elevated, transported, and re-energised. I embraced it, expressed my gratitude, and spent a magical hour admiring the views, inhaling the fresh air, and wishing I could extend my stay. I cannot articulate enough how deeply this interaction with nature affected me. It wasn't until the tree was unlawfully felled that I truly comprehended the significance of this place for numerous others.

I had always planned on creating a collection that celebrates the beauty of Sycamore Gap. When I returned home, I started watching 'Robin Hood Prince of Thieves'. It was then that I saw the scene between Kevin Costner and Morgan Freeman at that fantastic place. I also began creating social media content to share my experience. However, as we know, news broke that the tree had been felled. We initially thought it was a hoax, knowing we would all be relieved when we realised it was just a local joke. But then we learned it was not a hoax but a devastating reality. 

After learning what had happened to this beloved natural wonder, I shared my thoughts and feelings on social media, and people started commenting on my posts and sharing their connections to the place. National newspapers and news channels also covered the story, and it became abundantly clear just how much this tree meant to so many people.

Across all media, people have shared their personal experiences of proposing, taking annual family trips, and even scattering their loved one's ashes at the gap. Marking the place as a sacred space that holds a significant emotional connection for both local residents and visitors from around the globe.

During our visit, amazed by its natural beauty, we promised ourselves that we would come back to this breathtaking spot and bring our eldest to experience its magic. However, little did we know that it would be our first and last visit to this stunning natural phenomenon.

After sharing my experience on social media, I was amazed by the response; with 15,000 Facebook views and a French TV channel reaching out to me requesting permission to share my content with their audience, it goes to prove that many people worldwide are experiencing the same collective sadness that I am.

After the initial shock, it was time for me to craft my collection in honour of this magnificent location. I had always intended to create a simple design for a china mug and bauble. However, I realised that I needed to acknowledge the current landscape, so I made a second design with a subtle cluster of red poppies in place of the tree that used to stand there.

When I revealed this collection at the Shaun on the Tyne Farewell event, the new designs received an overwhelmingly positive response. Some people were moved to tears, though, of course, it was never my intention. My goal isto connect people with the places they love through my designs, and when I meet people at events, I often help them relive happy memories. Sometimes, people share very touching and personal memories with me, and occasionally, a few tears are shed. This particular collection resonated with everyone who saw it.

We launched a pre-sale for the collection, along with eight other brand-new designs. The response was overwhelming. If you managed to secure your order, that's fantastic. I only made a very limited number of these products to ensure the best quality and to gauge interest in this new collection and new production method.

If you didn't get a chance to purchase during the initial launch, don't worry. Simply sign up for our mailing list to stay up to date on future product releases. We produce items in small batches, so it's worth keeping an eye out for the next drop and placing your order early to avoid disappointment.

I would be delighted to listen to your stories about Sycamore Gap. Please do not hesitate to share them with me. Moreover, if you tag Powder Butterfly on social media with a photo of your purchase, you may be featured in our stories. It brings us immense joy to see our products in your home and share them with our lovely online community.

Signing off for now,

Corinne :) 



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