The Xylofence was made for The Oxhey Woods Sculpture Trail in 2012.
Each Friday throughout the summer of 2012 volunteers from the local community helped me prepare the 120 keys. These were made from pollarded sweet chestnut trees that were being removed from the rides in Oxhey Woods as part of its restoration. I collaborated with Iain Loadsby, a green woodsman, who taught us the technique of using spoke-shaves and shave-horses to remove the soft outer wood and then how to split the wood to make the keys that hang from the rails. People are encouraged to play the Xylofence with sticks from the forest floor, or just by brushing fingers along the fence. The keys were accurately tuned initially. As the wood was worked when green, the pitches change over time according to the moisture in the wood, but will maintain pleasant pitch ratios. I was inspired to make the Xylofence from sweet chestnut wood because traditionally this wood is split to make chestnut paling fencing and can last up to 25 years outdoors without treatment.