Sunday, September 06, 2009

Scarlet Oak Ball on Leaves

I took the ball on a trip this morning: to a quarry to see some rock; on the moor to show it some heather in flower; to a bog to get it’s feet wet and to a wood to sit it on some leaves.

As the leaves dry and contract the thorns start to drop out. It can be quite an effort to keep something like this intact. At the first venue it fell off its perch and it went for quite a long roll. Fortunately it didn’t get too battered. But as I took it from place to place the travelling and the wind took its toll and it became more and more tatty. Some serious repair work is now required. It seems to be an odd combination – ephemeral land art. Not only are the sculptures fragile with a tendency to degrade quickly over time they also live outside amongst the elements and have to suffer the abuse that is thrown at it.

I met two guys walking at the quarry today and we chatted while I took some photos.

“What’s in the middle?” Jim asked me, “is it polystyrene?”

“No I said, I only use natural materials.”

“And the leaves are stitched together are they? What did you use? Cocktail sticks?”

“No” I said, “I used thorns, I only use what I can gather from nature.”

Art is all about self imposed rules and then seeing what you can do from within them. Whether applying paint to canvas, or sculpting a figure from stone they are all the same thing. By placing constraints on what you can do the hope is that you learn on many levels. About the material, about your imagination and about how you want to express yourself, all the time trying to learn more and improve what you are capable of.

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