Monday, July 13, 2009

Splinter Stack

Splinter Stack, originally uploaded by e s c h e r.

Recently, over the last couple of months, I have taken some Mondays off work expressly to get out and do some land art. The idea being that some of the places I's like to go will be quieter with everyone back at work. That isn't how it had been at all.

A few months ago we went to Robin Hood's Bay and a party of school kids moved in next to us. Last week we went to Heysham beach and the same thing happened and today as we drove up the lane to where you park there was another school party heading onto the fell we were aiming for. But we got ahead of them and didn't see them again all day.

After the strong winds of the ascent it was a surprise to find it much calmer at the top and so I set about balancing some rocks.

The first was an attempt to complete this and over and over I had to hold the whole thing up as it wobbled all over the place. It took me a good ten minutes to realise why. I was kneeling on one of the rocks it was all stacked on. Talk about making it as difficult as possible! I didn't get a photo of that one but I did get a lot of wobbly stack action on video, to be posted another day.

I changed venue and went over to a handsome boulder. This time the breeze had picked up so I would need to be a little careful especially as the stacks were high enough to be difficult to get the top layers on and this meant I would be in a vulnerable position if they were to topple. Still it is good to be focussed on what you are doing.

I collected the rocks I needed and I gathered some little ones and put them in my pocket. This is the bit you don't see the endless searching, collecting and humping about of rock. It certainly isn't the case that I just pick up a few and build something with them. Most of my stacks consist of specially chosen stones, often ones that are difficult to find and not plentiful. It isn't obvious but I am trying to reflect this in each stack, that there are certain shaped stones in a place that you may not notice immediately. The splinters of rock is one example, the triangles another. Finding uniform ones, ones of the same height and most importantly ones with reasonably flat edges so they will stay upright can take a lot of time and effort. But then that is what my land art is all about. Getting a deeper understanding of a place by seeing what is there and searching for things. I have the goal of resultant sculpture in mind and I need that goal to get me to study the materials and eveything about that place, to immerse myself in it. So there is more to it than just what you see. The journey I took up the point where I got the photo you see is the important for me and it is that that draws me back again and again.

And the fact that it is a whole lot of fun too!

There was quite a bit going on on the fell today. Land rovers going up and down the track and a dumper putting new gravel onto the shooters track. Seems that they are gearing up for the hoorays to go and shoot some defenceless birds. Shame. Why people can't appreciate wildlife without having to kill it first is beyond me.


Pete Woodruff said...

'Splinter Stack'......excellent as ever.

WOW Rich really enjoyed this read for more reasons than one. You started off with the 'school kids' bit reminding me of my experience today up Clougha when a party were ahead of me reaching the summit - which I don't go to anyhow - but boy could I hear them from 3/4 of the way up, I may as well have been at a football God!

Then you end by referring to the 'hooray henry's' and their shut up now.

Regards Pete.

ArtPropelled said...

I've got a lot of catching up to do. This one's empressive Richard.