Monday, May 21, 2007

Stick Balls

Polarised Stick Balls, originally uploaded by escher1.

I finally made the third stick ball on Saturday and so I could finally make the sculpture that I have had sketched in my notebook for ages. I went and found some suitable straight sticks in the waste ground and headed off to Littledale in the glorious sunshine. I thought that the flat area on top of the gritstone outcrop would be perfect and the views of the Lakes was magnificent. There was a bit of a breeze but they stayed stood up and gently wobbled in the wind. My original plan was to put sticks coming out of the tops too to make them look speared but they looked quite good with just the balls on top so I took quite a few pictures like that until I tried the speared design. I though this looked even better. This is the first sculpture where I have made an effort to build it in a specific location, definitely something I shall pursue more in the future.

Speared Stick Balls, originally uploaded by escher1.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Faded Cairn

Faded Cairn, originally uploaded by escher1.

After buidling the pebble fade yesterday I was keen to go back and build another cairn now I had learnt about the colours on the beach. Next morning the weather was fine so I headed down to Heysham. Purple round rocks were easy tyo some by and I ignored the strange looks I got on the beach to get on with the construction. It didn't take too long to build (a few hours) but still longer than I expected to complete the top. It might look like an easy thing to make but unless extreme care is taken it is unstable and falls down again and again. The top section is very frustrating and falls down again and again which sees my scurrying off for more small, dark rocks. It is finally finished but this only leads me to absorb more of its imperfections. Not wantign to dismatle it completely I have to ignore the sections that are mis coloured and out of place. I can only see where it is wrong and not what is right. These sculptures can be ever so frustrating of some details don't fit with the rest. Still from some angles it looks good and I can maximize its potential with the camera. This land art work is tough!

Cairn on Heysham Beach, originally uploaded by escher1.

Saturday, May 19, 2007


Fissure, originally uploaded by escher1.

After going to Heysham this morning to do the pebble fade on the driftywood beam my brain was buzzing with ideas of more creations. It was very windy outside so I couldn't do the piece with the horsechestnut leaves I had been planning or the sculpture with the new stick ball I made today. Those will have to wait for a clamer day. After the FA cup final I knew the tide would be going out again so I headed down to Cockerham Sands, I hadn't been there for ages. Pleanty of scope for things there, lots of different coloured pebbles but missing the purple, pink and orange ones across the estuary in Heysham. I wanted to build a cairn of the faded colours I did this morning but I am not sure that would be possible so instead I though I would have a go at anotehr Andy Goldsworthy split pebble sculpture, this time trying to make it look like there is a fissure in the beach. Very pernickety these split pebble sculptures, keeping the crack there is very hard. I needed to use more pebbles of different sizes to make it look more realistic but I am please with the affect nonetheless. I am still a way off achieving AG's perfection but that is as it should be, he is the master and I am only a follower.

Scratched Pebble Sculpture

Scratched Pebble Sculpture, originally uploaded by escher1.

I quickly knocked this up after doing the pebble fade.

Pebble Fade

Pebble Fade, originally uploaded by escher1.

There are some fantastic coloured pebbles on the beach at Heysham. The cliffs are made of sandstone, silk stone and gritstone and yield many hues of white, yellow ornage, through to pink, red and purple. There are also black , grey and white rocks of limestone, volcanics and shale. This beam had been washed up on the beach here and served as a perfect frame for the line. It isn't until you collect pebbles for a piece like this that you can see quite how many different colours there are. I got the fade goping pretty quickly but hadn't made it long enough to make go all the way along the beam so I had to re do it a few times, the colours were really nice though and I think it turned out well. Not so easy to see in the photo but more impressive in real life.

Pebble Fade 2, originally uploaded by escher1.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Another Goldsworthy Spiral

Goldsworthy Spiral, originally uploaded by escher1.

My arms were far to achy for any climbing so we headed down to Heysham instead. The tide was just going out, the wind barely noticeable and it was quite warm. Not quite the total washout that was predicted. We had a look around the corner ontowards Morecambe with the graveyard and the ruined chapel on the cliff but made a uturn and headed to our usual spot.

My first thought was to make a long pebble line of faded colours so I began searching for the contrasting colours I would use as a guide, but the idea didn't grab me so I gave up on that one. I had finally brought down all the split pebbles collected from Lytham so I thought it was time for another attempt for a spiral. I sat up on one of the sandstone slabs and bashed the final unsplit pebbles until I had quite a large collection of them. I selected a piece of sand on which to start building and transported a few of the pebbles down onto the beach (why I didn't unload them all down their in the first place I don't know)! After placing three of the split pebbles a few sppits and spots of rain came down. I stuffed my waterproofs under a slab in anticipation of making a rain shadow. The rain suddenly increased in heaviness so I dashed over to the slab, there was no time to put on my waterproofs and laid down. I had to keep my mouth and eyes shut to keep the water out and I was desperate to know whether the rain shadow was appearing and for there to be a break in the rain so I could go and get my camera. Julia brought it over and said that she didn't think the rain shadow was working. It was raining very heavily now and I was soaked through to the skin and quite cold. I got up to examine the slab and indeed she was right, it looked just as wet underneath me as it did either side! Hmmm it seems that a light shower would be much better and the slab needs to be flat, Julia's idea of the lying on the sand wouldv'e been much better, the rain had created an interesting texture on the sand's surface.

After the soaking I went back to the sculpture. I didn't think it would be quite to make as it was. The wet sand now stuck to everything requiring much blowing and sweeping and the lining up of the crack around the spiral took hours and hours. Each time I would move one part another part would move out of alignment. Selection of pebbles was important, ones with a vertical split down the middle worked best and balancing them over each others edges worked well too. The finishing touches took ages too, standing over and squinting at the crack to ensure it flowed and there weren't too many kinks in it, it might have appeared like I have OCD as I fiddled with the smallest little detail but it is all important for the final image. Just wish I had spent the time scratching the pebbles white!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Balls and Slabs Balance

Balance, originally uploaded by escher1.

We needed to get out of the house for a bit as we were going a bit stir crazy, Julia felt a bit ill and I felt tired and listless. My first few balances just didn't seem to work and I felt particularly uninspired so I thought I would try at another slanting balance. Decent slabs were few and far between and it took some time to find enough. This time I really wanted to concentrate on getting the structure looking symmetrical and balanced. It suffered a collapse half way through so I begun again but there was no way to prevent it from being precarious and carefully balanced, the breeze wasn't helping. But then they don't have to stand up for very long when you can freeze it in time by taking a photo. I think it turned out especially well and is my best of this design to date.

Stick Crack

Stick-crack, originally uploaded by escher1.

I looked round for another slab that framed the mud covered stick better. This one fitted almost exactly with no altering of the stick required and if I stood right over it parts of it reached the edge. I didn't see it when I was there but in the resultant phot it almost looks like a crack in the rock, not intentional but quite interesting.

Half Black Stick

Half-black-stick, originally uploaded by escher1.

I had seen this stick in Brik Bank Quarry on Saturday when we were climbing there. MY first thought was to cover it in green leaves so that it contrasted with the gritstone slab at the base of the climbs. But after experimenting with that at home I decided the leaves were now not young enough to give a strong enough green. So I used more of the peat to cover the stick. The earth was easier to work when it was really wet and it didn't take too long to cover it. I liked the contrast when it was half covered so I took pictures of both half covered and fully covered. I tried to get it in exactly the same place on the slab but didn't quite succeed and the shape of the stick wasn't quite right as it didn't fill the frame well enough.

Peat Cracks

Peat-Cracks, originally uploaded by escher1.

After finishing the rock stacks I wandered into the woods trying to think of something else to do. Underneath the leaf litter where I had removed a slab the earth was very dark, if not black. I dug some up and then used it to fill in the cracks on this boulder. I am not sure whether the affect works or not. Andy Goldsworthy obviously puts a lot of effort into selecting a suitable boulder where the effect will be maximised.

Arch Stack

Arch Stack, originally uploaded by escher1.

I was imagining a stack where in the middle there would be a circle, an upside dowb arch with a another arch on top but this changed to making an ordinary arch. I needed two rocks with sloping edges to hold the arch. The first one came easily but it took ages to find a second one. But once I had done I liberated flat slabs from the earlier stack, found some more and constrcuted the arch. It took 3 attempts to hold them altogether and slot them into place. I didn't use anything underneath to hold them, I just slotted them straight in the shuffled them around a little to make the arch more pronounced. It worked quite well. I was in a quandry as to what to do next. My first idea was to place a large curved branch through the middle to create a wooden arch and then build slabs around the ends to give the affect that the wood was growing out of the stone. I searched for a suitable branch but nothing was quite right so instead I continued the stack. The rest of the stack was quite precarious and one of the big slabs on the end fell over and I can't believe the arch survived. The connecting stone in the middle was only just standing up and each stone added on top made the arch creak a little more each time. Wisely I thought I had better get a photo at this point as I thought it was coming down soon. I wanted to put a large pinnacle on top and as I was doing so it did fall down so I am glad I got this picture before I tried that.

Slanting Stack

Slanting-Stack, originally uploaded by escher1.

Following on from the other slanting stack I wanted to do one which slanted one for multiple layers then the other way. It took quite a while to find enough flat slabs and some of them were very heavy and required lugging out of the nearby wood. Most of these got discarded as the were too big and made it look out of balance. So I settled on the smaller slabs and positioning them three one way then three the other and so on. The effect gets a bit lost near to the top. I managed to fire off three shots before it fell down! It was another windy day.