Saturday, October 31, 2009

Maple Vein Calligraphy

Maple Vein Calligraphy, originally uploaded by ...escher....

This might take some effort to write. More, I think, than the sculpture. I seem to have developed a woolly-head and feel that my time may be better spent having a snooze. If the story turns into gibberish later on then I expect it is because I am resting my head on the keyboard but I wonder if anyone will be able to tell the difference from one of my regular stories?

After making the Leaf Lightning sculpture I wanted to employ that technique again. The black mud I found at that spot is such a wonderful material to work with and with day being unseasonably warm there was no other choice than to find a place for a canvas and follow my train of thought to it's destination.

As has happened before at this place a Peregrine Falcon sat on a rocky perch (not a fish) and looked over me as I got to work. I wasn't sure whether the mud would stick on something vertical but it gave me little trouble. I had collected some yellow sycamore leaves and my first thought was to do something similar to the leaf lightning design. I liked the style and how the colour seemed to flow almost like electricity from within and I thought a yellow fork aiming towards the roots would bring to mind something about energy (or summink) but as I prepared the leaves I selected only those with right angled veins and these lent themselves better to a different design. With the way each leaf ended in a point it reminded me of a calligraphy script or an old style printing typeface.

Now I was suprised that I was paying enough attention to notice this as most of my awareness was directed towards a common affliction at this time of year - having a soggy a**e. Each of the several times I washed my hands in the stream I wiped them dry on the back of my trousers and now the moisture had seeped through enough to bring on some unpleasantness. I thought you would probably want to know ALL the details.

Anyway...So as I said I followed the right angles in the leaves and created L-shaped sections. They stuck very easily to the mud, a bit like fuzzy felts, so I began doodling some ideas. At once the shape I ended up with seemed right and quickly the whole idea formulated in my head (my bum had dried out by this point) and with the visualisation I believed that everything would now be straightforward. But is it ever?!

I had collected quite a lot of leaves but only very few of them had right-angled veins. Added to that they varied in size quite a lot which meant that I wasn't going to be able to make them all symmetrical.

So I started to place them from the bottom to the top and as I approached the upper section the spacing was all wrong so I shifted them all up a bit. And down about, and up a bit again, and then down a bit and then up a bit some more and then down and then up. This went on for quite a while.

The tree was next to a tumbling stream with a large wall on one side so to get a proper look at it I had to cross over it, climb over the wall and then up a bank for a squint. I am finnicky to the point of driving oneself mental, which is ok if you are next to the sculpture and can tweak it close by. But now I had to tweak it, cross the stream, climb the wall to view it, then reverse the maneouvre to re-tweak (that's a technical term). Eventually I had worn a deep groove where I had walked and created a whole new stream. Geological erosion in action - I guess that might be land art too..

Eventually though, after several days had passed I was happy with it, I washed each leaf with some stream water to remove the mud and crossed back over the stream and wall to take some photos.

Ah, but I had left my camera remote in my bag next to the tree so I had to go back again to get it.

After another return journey I peered through the viewfinder only to see my rucksack and camera bag in the frame. Yes you guessed it I wasn't quite finished with the clambering. After moving my bags out of the way I returned to the camera and took the shots I needed.

"Right now for some close-ups. Where is my telephoto?"

I expect you can guess the answer to this question.

A bell went off in my head and I thought "hey maybe this time I'll go and get ALL my stuff and bring it over here, that would be a good idea wouldn't it?!"

Now I could portray this in a manly and dedicated way and say "I don't like to do anything the easy way - no-one ever achieved anything in life taking the easy road" but really it can be summed up with the word dumb-ass.

Having done enough exercise to last me a good while I packed up my gear only to find a ladybird had taken a liking to my rucksack and was clinging on tightly to a strap. Thinking that she would rather stay here in the woods I tried to gently pick her off. She then pulled really hard into the strap with her hooked legs, and emitted a yellow substance onto my finger.

I've never seen that before and I assume it would be a bitter tasting defence mechanism.

Of all the things I see, experience, learn about and enjoy whilst out and about I never, ever tire of those little things that are there for us all to find out about if only we would take the time to look. How interesting it is to be alive and what a wonderful world we all share. There is nothing better in life than being outside in nature, well, just being.

Ps. This was made for the Land Art Connections Project on 31/10/09 for the October theme "Haloween". Haloween has never meant much to me as a festival and I don't think this sculpture has much to do with it. But it was made on the day so is connected all the same, and will be to the other sculptures made on this day and, for me, that is what it is all about.

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