Thursday, September 24, 2009

Copper Beech Leaf Circle

Copper Beech Leaf Circle, originally uploaded by ...escher....

I have wanted to do this for a while, ever since I made this cherry leaf circle. I gathered the leaves from beneath these copper beech trees in Williamson park. For a few years I have looked at their autumnal flush and wanted to make something with them but I'd never got round to it. I'd even collected some leaves over the last few weeks but I got waylaid and made something else.

Going through the process of making something like this is what it is all about. You set yourself the challenge of making something so that you can learn all you can about the leaves and the variety of colours. There are always more than you think there will be and as you search for the next shade to fade the colours your senses pick up the subtle differences in the leaves more and more. You find out how leaves of a particular colour are more likely to curl up, how others a floppy and thin, how some rip more than others, how some are still thick and waxy and how all leaves are not the same! If you want to get to know leaves then set yourself this challenge and you will learn much more than you might expect.

But that wasn't all. As the colours darken towards the edge of the circle so the leaves become more difficult to manage. The darker colours were less robust and as I edged towards the outside the wind got gustier and gustier to the point where it became a right pain.

The wind kept lifting sections and stripping them off their thorns so I had to change the species of thorn towards the edge and gradually make them longer. If anyone wants a dissertation written about thorns then I'm your man! They needed to be longer to hold the leaves properly and thorns with side barbs were even better but I still had to replace leaves over and over. When I went to set up my camera I looked away for a bit and when I looked back a whole section had blown away!

Gusty wind is the worst as you can't really predict it or prepare for it and the pile of leaves I had gathered to make the circle kept blowing around so much time was wasted chasing after them. The time it takes to make a natural sculpture does not just involve what you can see! But it's all part of the fun.

When I first loaded this picture onto my computer the colours looked really saturated and it seemed weird to my eyes but all I have done is cropped square and sharpened it a touch. The colours really are that vibrant and more so when they are set next to each other!

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