A Cardboard Forest for Taunton Brewhouse

Published - 8th Dec 2023

In August 2023, we were approached by Dion Saunders at Art Hopper Events, about a project involving the creation of a winter cardboard forest.  The gallery is now set up in local theatre Taunton Brewhouse, and is doubling up as one of the many local ‘annual visit Santa Claus’ events happening in and around Somerset.


Initially a briefing meeting took place between Dion and RH Fibreboard Designer Matt Acott and Sales Director Steve Gabell.  We like to be active in the community and regularly visit schools and support charities with cardboard projects such as big sleep outs, but this project struck us as quite different, because it was a local project for the arts sector but very much focused on sustainability.

We learned that Dion, Exeter based cardboard sculpturer James Lake and the Brewhouse had some very exciting ideas and we were instantly taken by the project and the messages behind it, and we couldn’t wait to support it.

It was established that our role in this was threefold:

  1. Donation of material. The project’s aim was to get local communities involved in using cardboard (a sustainable material) to create things and promote this sustainability through that creation. This requires us to first make cardboard sheets available to James, the artists, and the communities.
  1. Design and help create a Cardboard Forest with a Cardboard retreat/cottage. Using Cad software, sample material, and staff knowledge, creativity, and innovation, we drew, designed, and produced flat-packed ideas for the cardboard forest to be built and installed by Dion and her team of volunteers at the Brewhouse Theatre. The creations made at the workshops (along with some last-minute add-ons in the form of cardboard birds!) and the giant cardboard cottage were all supplied in a form that they could be assembled in the cardboard forest.
  2. To make the supply of cardboard, designs, and products as painless as possible and of course get it done on time. Christmas was not going to wait for our cardboard Forest and Cottage, and because the sheets of board, and stencils were large we offered to deliver the products to the Brewhouse on our own transport.

Just inside of the Gallery is the following notice:


Welcome to our winter forest


Please explore carefully, see if you can glimpse a fairy (they are very shy), and listen out for Father Christmas in his forest retreat.  This year’s gallery installation is made from recycled or recyclable materials as a poignant contrast to the abundance of single-use plastics, which are widely used at this time of year.

This is why we love cardboard:

  • In the United Kingdom, approximately 5 billion corrugated boxes are used per year, amounting to around 83 per person.
  • 80% of all cardboard is recycled, reducing waste and conserving resources.
  • Cardboard supports responsible forestry, contributing to Europe’s daily forest expansion by 1500 hectares.
  • Cardboard naturally biodegrades in just a few months, showing kindness to the planet.


We hope you feel inspired! What will you do with your next empty cardboard box?  Try making something, use your imagination, with glue and a pair of scissors you can create some Christmas magic of your own.

The forest was imagined and installed by Dion Saunders – Art Hopper Events – with the support of the Brewhouse technical team.  The project has been kindly sponsored by RH Fibreboard who designed, cut, and supplied all 40 fir trees and the Father Christmas forest retreat.  A grant from Taunton Town Council enabled us to offer creative workshops using recycled materials for families and young people with local artists during October. The large apple tree was created by cardboard sculptor James Lake who led family workshops making the colourful birds that perch in the branches.  The willow reindeer and animal sculptures are made by Amanda Webb who worked with families to create the willow tree decorations too.  Many of the snowflakes were made during family workshops with James and Dion in November.

Taunton Brewhouse have a year-round programme of workshops and classes for children, young people, and adults.  If you’d like some help to get creative in 2024 pick up a program or look on our website to book yourself a treat.

 If you would like to know more about this event, our support, or any of our products and services, talk to us at

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