This was the piece I started off doing when we arrived at Heysham beach but didn't complete until we were going home. I wanted to try smashing a piece of sandstone and reassemble with a hole in the middle but I couldn't get them to break how I wanted. So I thought about trying this crazy paving style sculpture and I pleased with how it ended up. I had to wait to finish it late because of the three bickering geology students hogging the cliff and I managed to get it done before the annoying family who started a bonfire turned up! The beach is definitely better on rainy, cold days!
Sunday, April 29, 2007
A bit of an unsuccesful attempt at a round sand castle of different colours. Didn't turn how I wanted it at all. Shame 'cos the red stone to make the top to ages to grind! There must be some mileage in the dry sand, wet sand grey/black sand contrast but I found it difficult to work with. Uniform colours look much better but are very hard to do.
This is what I made from the remains of the purple cairn. It might look simple but it took loads of fiddling about to get the balance of it right - moving stones around, discarding others and redoing it again and again. Worked out pretty well in the end and the trenches I'd dug much earlier framed it nicely in the photo.
I was interested to see whether or not the purple cairn I made at Heysham Head last week would still be there when we returned. The tide was high and just starting to go out as we arrived but as we traversed the cliffs at the top I could see this pile of purple rocks where the cairn had been. What remained I think it actually looked quite pleasing!
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Lots of wood lying about, decide to make an arrangement in a natural wooden vase, a hollow tree stump.
A lot of the leaves were not fully out on the trees, it sort of enhanced the woodiness of it all.
There were some great root systems and dead branches in the forest next to Coniston water and my eye was caught by this dead branch covered in moss. There was quite a lot of dead bracken nearby and that seemed perfect for this design. Shame about the ticks in the undergrowth! Anyway this didn't take too long to do and I think it worked out pretty well.
I found a fantastic bit of bark about 12 inches square and desperately wanted to do something with it. It had a hole in the middle so I has in mind a goldsworthy type hole. I found this stone cairn with moss growing all over it and thought it would be perfect to put the bark in to create and eye or a hole. I then got some moss and covered over the bark to try and disguise it and put moss covered rocks along the bottom to finish it off.
I wanted to place rocks like this all the way down the trunk alternating between dark and light but I just couldn't find enough flattish ones that didn't have ant's nests beneath them.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
My first attempt at pinning leaves with thorns. I want to be able to build a spiral in this style so this was an experiment to see how it is done. It is actually reasonably difficult and you need good long thorns and need to be careful how you score and fold the leaves. A good hard bit of flat ground underneath is necessary too as the thorns don't stay in otherwise.
Monday, April 23, 2007
Back to Heysham Head again today. Some of my previous day's scuplture was still there - the sticks had gone but the frame, although partly buried, remained. I had decided to build a cairn of fading colours and decreasing sized pebbles. It took a surprising amount of effort and also nearly took the longest time of anything I have made. To find enough of the same colour and size for each layer took ages, but was good exercise! I noticed that there were some rocks with a split colour between red/pink purple and yellow/white so I intended to fade from deep purple at the bottom to red and pink then use the split pebbles to fade into white. This took a lot of fiddling about, disassembling, reassembling, selection of different rocks and the discarding of many. I also worked hard on the shape of it to get it to look well formed and symmetrical. Once I had the split colour pebbles in place I then worked on the forming the top. This was even more difficult as the little pebbles just kept falling off again and again. More working on the shape and finally it was finished. I was 75% happy with it. It looked good from only one angle and didn't look right in the others. The split colour pebbles just didn't look quite right and in hindsight a straight demarcation between purple and white would have looked better, or indeed different coloured rocks with more colour changes. Unfortunately the most photogenic angle had the power station behind and the best angle was low down so it looms behind in the finished photo. It was a dull day so the colours do not come out well in the photo, I am quite disappointed with the result. The cairn did look good from a distance though and the fade looked quite striking. Next time I might try two or three cairns of the same colour. Maybe purple, a red one and pink one. I will definitely try another design again.
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Saturday, April 21, 2007
I wanted to start building balances that have a more aesthetic look more like Andy Goldsworthy's creations. After I had finished the tree in a frame I had a little time to give it a go. There are nice flat blocks at Heysham and nice round gritstone pebbles too. This one went up reasonably easily with onluy a couple of disconcerting wobbles. The green white brown contrast behind was not planned but works well in the picture. I need to pay more attention to where things go to get the best picture. I did build it higher later on but I don't think it looked as good.
I dashed down to Heysham Head and Half Moon Bay first thing wanting to build a frame that I would make a pebble sculture in the middle of. I knew that there was a fresh rockfall on the cliffs next to where we were last week and that meant that there would be plenty of square edged rock that had not been weathered by the sea. I found that the rock was actually gritstone which I found surprising as it is normally found on the moors and it varied in colour from black, red to silvery grey. I collected as many blocks as I could carry and ferried them to the beach many times. I assembled the frame away from where I was going to build it to try and get an order for the blocks. Once I was happy with the order I moved them to a nice section of sand and started to dig them in. It took a couple of hours to get the balance of the frame right, I collected more and more blocks and discarded many to get the right shape and feel. Many early versions lacked symmetry, form and balance. I started to become aware that the tide was coming in so I needed to crack on. Whilst I was looking for blocks I noticed a nice piece of driftwood that would fit perfectly. I looked for the split pebbles to arrange them in the frame as that was my first intention but I hadn't brought them with me. So I decided on a tree design. Yet more fiddling with the design of the frame followed until I was finally happy and dug them all in. I filled in the outside and then slighlty buried them and swept off the excess sand. I thought that this worked quite well as the sand filled in all the gaps around the blocks. Then I spent a lot more time smoothing out the surface with one eye on the tide. Now I needed to suitable sticks to form the branches and this meant several more trips up to the cliffs until I was happy. I dug them all in a little and smoothed out the sand. By accident there are dark twigs on the left and light ones on the right but looking at the picture now the top two are reversed. How annoying! Then I did lots of sweeping and pernickety sand cearing to finish of it. I am very pleased with the result.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
My first attempt at a stick cairn and I am very pleased with how it had turned out. Oncve I got the base sorted out with a nice circular curve I then just had to builf and build with smaller sticks keeping the curves as much as I could. There are a few places where I could have done it better but I have learnt a lot making this one that I will definitely make an improved one next time. This is in the little wood out the back of the flat and took a few hours to make after work.
Monday, April 16, 2007
Continuing the dandelion theme this is another Andy Goldsworthy design I wanted to emulate. To achieve the quality of his original is very hard. Just getting the ring right was very difficult and I didn't quite get there and finding a enough density of flowers equally taxing. In the end I found a spot on teh YMCA playing field in Lytham. I had to pick quite a lot of flowers to make the circle and even more to dot around the ring to try and make it look natural. The problme was the were growing at different heights and angles so I had to pick some of the ones that were actually growing in the shot and replace them with picked ones.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
This was my second attempt at flowers inside a tree. The first one didn't really work. This one had a concave chamber inside the knot so that the flowers could be pushed inside making them look like there were actually inside the tree. The other version just looked like the flowers were stuck into the hole and the effect was poor. We had a look round for more suitable knots on the walk home and found a few but most of them were unsuitable.
Spring has sprung and there are dandelions everywhere. For some reason I don't really like the idea of picking other flowers for land art. I don't want to adversly affect anything natural. But I am not to fussed about dandelions as there grow so quickly and won't suffer at all. This moss was collected from the beginning of the private road, I have wanted to make rings from them for ages. Instead we collected the moss and took it into the grass bank opposite and made different size concentric rings lined with dandelions flowers. It took me ages to be happy with the lay out as it looked out of balance and lacking in symmetry for quite a while. The next difficulty was getting anything like a decent picture as I couldn't high enough or far enough away to get everything in the picture. It looks more cohesive in real life. Some sculptures look more impressive framed in a photo some less so.
Saturday, April 14, 2007
After completing the sand river sculpture I was looking for something else to do. I scoured around the high tide mark under the cliffs and found a great piece of driftwood shaped like an arch. It was a bit lopsided so I had to bury one end deeply. I tried it on one side of the rock but soon found there was large rocks 8 inches down and couldn't dig any deeper. So I swapped to the other side and could dig deeper. 12 inches down was the water line and you could see how this stuff turns into quicksand. Once buried Julia said why don't you do a rock balance underneath. An inpsired idea! Which I hadn't thought of. I wanted to do a more regular balance so I spent ages collected white round and flat pebbles. I tried several different combinations before I was happy with it and I was amazed it stayed balanced as it was very precarious but I thought it looked ok in the end if a little wonky.
Another copy of a Andy Goldsworthy piece and another one that Julia and I fancied having a go at. I did this at Heysham and found a stretch of sand right on the edge of the high tide area so that it was firm and wet but not overly so. It actually wasn't too hard to make but quite time consuming - I got a little bored half way through! But I am very pleased with the result I just wish it was an orignal idea and not something I had to copy. There is definitely a lot that can be done with sand.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
This was done nearly at the end of the day when the sand balls I made earlier had dried out and had become much lighter in colour. I tried to balance as many as I could.
Julia's sand balls had given me the idea to work with the sand. Here there was a nice dryish crust with wet sand underneath that was easy to work. I started on the first hole (nearest in the picture) thinking that I would create a ball with a hole in it. As I worked it the doughnut shape began to form and I liked it. I spent ages smoothing it out and then thought I had to make three of them. The middle one was much easier to make and came together really quickly but the third one proved more problematic. It looked lumpy and a different shape to the rest and I kept returning to it to improve it's shape. I am really happy with the picture though, I think it has an other-worldy feel and gives me lots of ideas for more sand sculptures.
At Humphrey Head, after making my sand balls., I was just in the mood for doodling and ended up making this sand wheel, no pre plan, just did what I wanted as I went along. The darker sand was actually very black when I first started using it, but as it dried out it faded considerably. I used a tent peg to make the indentation of the spikes.
Around Morecambe bay there are lots of rocks with bands of quartz through them and I had in mind for a while that I wanted to create a spiral with a line continuing around the spiral made of the quartz bands running through each rock. I collected the rocks on the shore at Lytham and on the beach at Morecambe and the rocks had been in a plastic bag clogging up the house for a couple of weeks before I finally had enough to complete the spiral. I put them next to the cliffs at Humphrey Head after clearing and flattening the surface of the sand and left them there.
There were some left over pebbles from the black hole sculpture which were different shades to the white/gray/balck that I needed, so I quickly made this arrangement with a fade from sandy yellow, through brown to light purple. These stones came from Lytham.
A tribute to Andy Goldsworthy's "pebbles around a black hole" sculpture that he made in Japan (which was one of the first pictures of his that I saw when I googled for som eof his work) that I laid down at Humphrey Head. I first dug a hole and placed the white stones around it (a couple fell in so I had to rebuild the edges a couple of times). Then gradually I blended out the white to grey then darker pebble. I spend ages fiddling around the edge making it straight and then smoothed the sand around it. it ended up being about 3 or 4 foot across and I struggled to get a picture of it from above. Turned out quite well but upon reviewing the Goldsworthy orginal I shouldhave made the black hole bigger! Means I will have to do thi sone again! The white pebbles were from the beach at Silverdale and the rest collected over several days from the beach at Lytham.
Monday, April 09, 2007
After I had removed the spiral stones to show the dry patch underneath I also did it with the faded and blended pebbles arrangement and it left this dry stripe on top of this rock. Not sure if the effect is pleasing or not but it does give me lots of ideas for other wet/dry pictures.
We went back a couple of days later to the little beach next to Loch Lomond where I made this spiral to see if it was still there. I was surprised and happy to find that this and the other sculptures were still there. The weather had changed from the lovely sunshine when we were first there it was now very windy and lightly drizzling. So I decided to remove the stones (I wanted to take them home) and see the dry patches underneath. This has given us lots of ideas on how to do this again.
Arches are insanely difficult to build but down by the Loch there were lots of nice flat rocks. Some of these were liberated from the now fallen down slate/quartz stack. This was my first attempt at a tree arch and ended up being the best one. Anything wider than this proved to be impossible for me.
Sunday, April 08, 2007
After building the gritstone version at Clougha and lime stone stack near Silverdale, in this style I wanted to build another one with cleaner lines and slabs decreasing in size. This time I collected up all that I needed before I started so I could arrange the stones how I wanted them. The day before I had noticed how the stones turned black when wet when Julia had the idea of dipping her rocks in the water. I liked the idea a lot so for this one I wanted to dip each alternate layer in the water which would, with the quart pebbles in between, give a black and white affect. I found though that the wind was drying out the slabs well before I was near finishing so I gave up that idea. This picture is of the second attempt as the first fell down before I had a chance to get a decent photo, this one fell down shortly after I got this picture.
Saturday, April 07, 2007
After I had made the stick pyramid there were lots of left over sticks that we had collected. We went back down to the Loch shore a couple of days later and it was now very windy. We went to look at the stick pyramid and quite a bit of it had blown away. These sticks were very light, a bit like balsa wood and it was hard to keep them staying up in the tree. They completely collapsed more than once until I managed to get them to stay in place despite the wind. The sticks went much higher than this but the picture was spoilt by bits of tree getting into the frame. Bits of it had blown away by the next day.
As I was searching for pebbles to make the spiral (you can see it in the background) I noticed the different coloured pebbles on the beach. First of all I wanted to make cone piles of three different colours but as I searched more and more colours appeared. Julia joined in the collecting and we ended up with black fading into red/black mottled granite and then into red granite pebbles, brown and orange sandstone and ironstone into orange quartz then white finally into purple slate and grey slate. Making sculptures like these really makes you look much more closely at your environment. There is more to the process thnan just the creation as you really become deeply immersed in your surroundings.
This was another sculpture that I have wanted to do for a while. It is based on the sculpture on the front of Andy Goldsworthy's self titled book. Most of these were slate and split quite easily when tapped with a big stone, but many I hit too hard and they disintegrated so I collected many more stones than ended up in the final result. I was very pleased with the result. It gave me a real sense of the time, effort and artistic flair that Goldsworthy so obviously has. When I looked at his original again afterwards I could understand more the quality of his work (compared to mine - his crack between the stones looks continuous - quite stunning) and the hard work that it takes. Many of his works still look impossible to me though!
Friday, April 06, 2007
After we arrived at the campsite next to Loch Lomond we went for a stroll down by the loch. The water had obviously been a lot higher and there was a high tide mark with lots of interesting driftwood, water worn rocks, glass bottle necks and bits of bark. I had had in mind for a while that I wanted to build a stick pyramid and the bleached soft wood sticks we found along the shore were perfect. We collected up as many as we could find and sorted them into different lengths. Then we built a square platform of flat rocks upon which we would place the stick stack. So then the sticks were placed in parallel pairs with the next set at 90 degrees on top of the previous layer gradually decreasing in size. The process wasn't as easy as it first appeared, the sticks kept rolling and wouldn't stay where I put them and this got worse as it got higher and the sticks smaller. Finally at the top the sticks were very small and fiddly and wouldn't stay in the right place until I dropped them down the middle of the pile! I then decided to extend the platform and clear out the stones around it as getting out those little sticks was just too damn fiddly. Once the platform was complete I weedled out the lost sticks from under the structure and finally finished it.