Sunday, October 04, 2009

Wych Elm Circle

Wych Elm Circle, originally uploaded by ...escher....

This is the first sculpture I've made at the Middle Wood Trust in Roeburndale and perhaps it is quite fitting for it to have Goldsworthy leanings as my association with the Trust is bringing with it a whole new set of opportunities and new beginnings. And as Goldsworthy was where it all started for me then an homage to him as I start anew in a new and exciting place is quite apt.

The Middle Wood Trust is a charity who are interested in sustainable farming practices and their organic hill farm is set in beautiful Roeburndale, has the wonderful River Roeburn and a fantastic strip of ancient woodland running through it. There is so much scope there that I can barely contain myself and to have permission from the owners who are really quite keen to encourage creative arts on their land is just so great too. I am very much looking forward to spending many days there exploring and creating.

When we visited before to look around we found this gorgeous spot next to the river so we headed straight there. As it was my first visit for artistic purposes I wanted to start to get to know the place so whatever I was to make would have to be made with materials gathered from within a few feet. The gales of yesterday had brought down a lot of leaves and so I collected what was right there on the river bank and set to work. By spending several hours doing that you start to peel back the layers, feel the power of the river, see how the light changes and where it strikes the ground, you start to see which trees are growing there and what their leaves are doing. 'Proper' land art (at least my definition of it) must reflect the place you are in and you achieve this by learning about that place by making something. The resultant sculpture is the least important bit. It's the time spent there, the time spent learning and the time spent looking, hearing and feeling. Without those things the process is pointless and unfulfilling but with them each moment is a joy of stillness, contemplation and contentment. That is aside from the midges and frozen hands. Long gone are the days of summer!

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