OneOak was an art-science project devised by Dr Gabriel Hemery, CEO of the The Sylva Foundation, a tree and forestry charity. Sylva’s vision is for Britain’s woodlands to thrive ecologically and economically for the benetit of everyone. Jane King began working with Gabriel in 2010, creating a series of photographs and graphic work, some of it shown above, as well as designing and curating OneOak’s 2-year touring exhibition. Jane worked with scientists and curators to create a site specific experience for audiences, making the exhibitions relevant for each of the venues at: The University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford University Museum of Natural History, Art in Action at Waterperry in Oxfordshire, Blenheim Palace and the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh. In 2011 the OneOak exhibitions were endorsed by the United Nations as part of its International Year of Forests celebrations.
The OneOak project aimed to bring people closer to growing trees for wood, by following the full life story of a single oak tree. In January 2010 the 222 year old tree was felled for its timber in a woodland on the Blenheim Palace estate. The OneOak tree became the most scientically studied tree in Britain. Scientists used cutting edge technology to determine its age and the nutrients it received during its history. They also studied the flora and fauna that the tree supported. The tree inspired dozens artists, film makers and musicians to contribute work to the project. Its timber was used to make dozens of items to demonstrate the benefits of home grown renewables: beams in buildings, fine furniture, everyday utensils as well as energy to heat homes and smoke to preserve and flavour food. In 2011 250 primary school children each planted an oak tree, creating a new woodland to replace the OneOak tree.