Pipley Wood is proud to have an annual artist in residence whose job it is to illustrate and interpret Pipley Wood for the wider public.
Our current artist in residence is professional ballet dancer and opera singer Francesca Best. You can see Francesca's biography below.
Francesca Best biography
Francesca Best trained at the Rambert School of Ballet graduating in 1979 to work with the Düsseldorf Ballet (1979 - 1985). In 1981, she was chosen to work as a dancer for the Gulbenkian Foundation International Summer School for Professional Composers and Choreographers directed by Merce Cunningham and John Cage.
This experience together with the work of other choreographers such as Pina Bausch and composers such as Karl-Heinz Stockhausen shaped the direction of Francesca's creative aspirations. Aftervocal training with Judith Lindenbaum (1990) and Hendrikus Rootering (1987) Francesca Best specialised in renaissance, baroque and avant-garde music.
She collaborated with composers and musicians such as Carola Baukholt (1996). Francesca Best has always had a particular interest in exploring the boundaries between interdisciplinary art forms as a singer and dancer and was a member of Moving Music Theatre, co- founded with Ian Stuart. MMT performed at Melos Ethos Festival, Bratislava (1991) and Revolutions, The Place, London (1993). Since returning to Britain Francesca Best has continued to work in dance, opera, site-specific work, and physical theatre.
Over the last years she has gained extensive experience in teaching singing, shin-somatics and somatic ballet. Recent work has been with Earthfall,(Subterranean Underground: composition, 2011), The Karla Shacklock Dance Company (BEYOND, 2012), and Lina Lapylete (Hunky Bluff, 2014). Since 2010, Francesca Best has studied singing with Rosa Mannion, composition with James Saunders and choreography with Karla Shacklock.
In July 2014, Francesca graduated from Bath Spa University with a first class degree in creative arts and is currently working towards an MA in Dance.
Previous artist in residences
Our first artist was Gwen Norman, an accomplished watercolourist and naturalist. Gwen lived for many years at Congrove Cottage, overlooking Pipley Wood and has spent a lifetime painting wildflowers and trees in the area. She was a Trustee of the Sir Alexander Lawrence Woodland Trust and maintained a strong interest in the continuous preservation of the natural woodland and meadows found in the Pipley valley and hills. The Trust is delighted that Gwen allowed us to show a selection of her paintings of Pipley Wood trees and flowers on this website.