Monday, December 28, 2009

Ribblesdale Stacked Snow Squares

It feels like quite a while since I got out and did some Land Art. We've had a fair dump of snow in the last week or so and I've only managed a few abortive attempts at making some sculptures with it. The weather forecasts spoke of a thaw come Boxing Day and I have been itching to get out. But what with working up to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to be spent with relatives I felt that I might be out of luck.

As we drove into Yorkshire on Christmas Day our senses were regaled with stunning azure blue skies, a foot or so of snow and a hard frost that left the trees white all over. Quite stunning but I had left my camera at home and I wouldn't be able to get out in it at all. So while I awaited Christmas dinner I was Mr. Grumpy.

Boxing Day did bring a thaw and only bits and pieces of ice and snow at home remained. Mr Grumpy decided to stay.

This morning the sky was clear and the temperatures low so I headed once again into Yorkshire looking for snow.

I wasn't disappointed.

As I drove inland the temperature dropped and dropped and everything became whiter and whiter. As I arrived in Ribblesdale I was rewarded with a winter wonderland.

But the powder of the days before, stuff that sticks together and could be sculpted, was gone and the snow had turned to sugar and would not stick.

But the setting was still beautiful so I set about making something from grass. As I was collecting some more stalks I suddenly sunk up to my knees in a deeper spot and underneath the frozen, sugary crust was fine powder and it stuck together as I squeezed it. I tried to chop out a section and it came out in one piece. Now this stuff would be perfect for sculpting!

As an experiment I made this first sculpture to learn about the properties of the snow and what I would need to know to make something more involved. Where the snow was compacted powder it was a dream to carve and lent itself to sharp, smooth edges. But in places it was still sugary and icey and this demanded a great deal more care to carve.

I really like Barbara Hepworth's sculptures and her work was the inspiration for this. It is made up of four sections each carefully balanced on the one below it and then carved to let the light show through.

As I finished up a rescue helicopter hovered over the summit of Ingleborough and a hot air balloon was being inflated next to the road. Trains passed over the viaduct quite often and I expect tourists on the Settle to Carlisle route were treated to spectacular views. Snow, blue skies and a bank holiday meant many, many people were out to enjoy the sun and the Winter wonderland.


EmandaJ said...

Happy Holidays Richard,
Beautiful work! We had a white Christmas with blowing snow here in North Texas (which hasn't happened since the 1930's!) and the Christmas eve mass was canceled. I didn't want to get out in it and neither did anyone else. Next day it was gorgeous, and the roads were clear.

Have a Happy New Year,

Pete Woodruff said...

A simply superb piece of 'Landart' with equally superb photography illustrating the magnificent Ingleborough in the background.

Just one more time......superb.

A Very Happy New Year to you Richard.

Richard Shilling said...

EmandaJ - wow I'll bet you weren't expecting that!

Thanks Pete.

Happy new year to you both