If you’re the kind of gardener who finds inspiration, tranquility, and true happiness in the garden sanctuary you’ve created at home, then you’re probably not too fond of those clunky, generic, plastic child’s playhouses. You want your kids to be able to enjoy your backyard just as much as you do, but aren’t sure you want to compromise the natural aesthetics of your green space by punctuating it with a hulking plastic playhouse.
This is exactly how artist and mother Kelly English felt about providing her daughter with a play space all her own, without buying into what she calls “the onslaught of rainbow-colored plastic or digital simulacrums that overwhelm new families.” What she sought for her daughter didn’t seem to exist, so she created her own playhouse out of sticks in her backyard, and thus, a “thicket” was born.
English says that her now immensely popular company Cheeriup, which sells recreations of her original thicket, began “from a desire to provide our spunky, city-mouse daughter a natural and enchanting outdoor play space. I imaged a wholesome place she could call her own, an inspiring place she and her friends could lose themselves for hours in imaginative play.” It was also important for this space to be safe, nurturing, and timeless, so that their entire family could enjoy living beside it for years to come.
The play spaces are created from English’s technique of weaving recycled willow plants, which she does outdoors during warmer seasons without snowfall. The thickets come in many different shapes and sizes, and she also does custom work for families who inquire. The original woven aesthetic was partly inspired by the book “Last Child in the Woods,” by Richard Louv, which explains the truly whimsical nature of the thickets.
For more information about English’s process and story, visit Cheeriup’s official website.