Saturday, March 27, 2010

Oak Apple DNA

Oak Apple DNA, originally uploaded by escher....

There is nothing wrong with brown part 2 (or the tale of the missing lunchbox lid).

I took another trip today to the woodland that we first visited last week. It was cool, fresh and breezy with drifting cloud and patches of warm sunshine. A fine day for some land art.

I've been trying to take the pressure off myself (self-imposed pressure) as I think my creative juices would flow better that way. I decided that I would just go along and see what happened, if I made something then great, if not then I would just explore and soak up the ambience. If I made something I would not definitely post it here, but if it felt right I would. For a while I've felt duty bound to make something and to post it at every opportunity. That isn't the way to go about it and I think the quality of work has suffered as a result.

After a very dry winter it has rained a lot in the last few days, it was wet underfoot and I was confronted by a sea of brown once again. Not inspired I relaxed and sat on a tree stump and munched on an juicy apple then went for a wander around the perimeter.

New born lambs, black socks and black faces, were up to mischief: skipping and chasing their siblings before realising mum had moved away. Bleating in panic they rushed around until finally wriggling tails signified the comfort of mother's milk. The high pitched call of a buzzard pierced the air, a large notch in its wing made its circling less efficient than it might be. I was enjoying myself listening to the song of the chaffinches, the breeze blowing through the wood and the dappled sunlight casting patterns on the leaves on the floor. Time seemed to have stopped and I could exist here forever.

It's from this peace of mind that the inspiration comes and the ability to see what is there in that environment more deeply and succintly.

Amongst the brown and bleached leaves on the ground I would occasionally find an oak apple 'a mutation of an oak leaf caused by chemicals injected by the larva of certain kinds of gall wasp' which grows inside the ball. I thought at the very least, whether I would end up making something or not) I would search for oak apples as that search would present me with the opportunity of learning about that place by concentrating on a task like this. If you've never tried it give it a go. It's like meditating and as you search you begin to see more and more that bypassed you before, it is with this that land art begins.

At this point I was finding an oak apple once every five minutes and at this rate it would take hours to find enough to make something with them but then under one particular tree I found dozens and dozens so I collected all that I could.

When I want to learn about a place I will only use what I find there and often will avoid using any tools too. And so it was today.

Many of the oak apples had a little hole in them, presumably where the wasp larva emerged so I joined them together with hawthorns so they resembled little dumbells. I was reminded of models of molecules I saw at school with red and blue balls joined together by match-stick like struts.

So I made some more, noticing how some were dark and some light so I made them into dark/light pairs.

And then I noticed the rotting log, which was next to where I was sat, that I was using as a shelf to store the dumbells and it seemed compliment the oak apples, I was then set on arranging them along a log, resembling a chain molecule or a spine. I thought that I must be able to find a better log on which to place the apples, it would be a total fluke that the first one would be the best but after 15 minutes of searching it became obvious that it was indeed the
best one.

This is so often exactly how it is. Some sculptures are a struggle and a fight and some seem to make themselves with little of my own volition involved. The larval holes were perfect to join the apples, how I placed them on the log whilst making them turned out to be a pleasing enough design so with very little effort it seemed to just come together. Perhaps the time spent freeing up my mind from the stresses of the working week is where this all comes from?

I found a small pool full with dark brown leaves. The bleached leaves I was so taken with last week seemed perfect for a frame for the long so I collected inatct ones and placed them on top of the brown before arranging the other items.

Sometimes it is easier when you don't try.

And what of the lunchbox lid? When I made the oak apple dumbells I carried them over to the pool on the lid of my lunchbox before walking back to my base camp to finish eating my lunch. After five minutes I gathered up my gear but where was my lunchbox lid? Had it blown away? I just couldn't work it out. It was only when I carried all my stuff over towards the pool that I saw the lid sat there with dumbells gathered on top.

So my art may appear from within me when I am relaxed and at one with my surroundings but it seems that I need a helper to help me tie my shoelaces, remember where I live, wipe my bottom and generally to keep my **** together!

Although I think my partner may retort that I am like that all the time whether I am relaxed, making art or not!


Anna said...

That is just amazing, both as an idea and in how it appears (if that makes any sense). It makes me think of a woven collar made from precious stones and silk... hmmmm.

Richard Shilling said...

Hi Anna, it does make sense and I can seen what you mean about a jewelled collar too, seems to have quite a bit unintentional symbolism this one. Thanks for stopping by.