Saturday, April 17, 2010

Holly Star

Holly Star, originally uploaded by escher....

I'm always saying land art is about the doing and not the viewing of the end result. And you know what I'm dead right!

If you were to pare down land art into only what you need to do then you wouldn't actually make anything at all. The only important part is the wandering, exploring and appreciation of nature. And so my partner and I (her with a bad back and me with a crick in my neck) set off to the park for a slow stroll.

Sunshine and blue skies, the birds a-chirping, and new leaves reaching for the sun. What bliss, despite not being able to look left or upwards and my partner only managing to walk gingerly. But the sweet smell of blossom in your nostrils, the buzz of bees in your ears and the wonder of new growth all around, is all and everything that you could possibly need.

We scooped up dozens and dozens of flame coloured fallen leaves, each one a delight to the senses and many of them met with an exclaim of "wow, would you look at this one!" (I know, but we aren't a danger to the general public, honest). Land art means seeing the world through children's eyes, whether you've lost and regained or always had that ability there is joy to be found in just appreciating the beauty that is all around us. And along with it giving up the necessity to care that you may be making a fool of yourself in other people's eyes and to let loose, be care-free and damn well pick up leaves off the ground while on your hand and knees and in a popular municipal park. Security!

I pondered a change of career and would offer leaf gathering workshops for those looking for tranquility. I would name my organisation 'Bag-o-Leaves' as that it all one needs to reach enlightenment.

"Right crew, welcome to the 'Bag-o-Leaves' workshop. I trust you've all brought a bag? Then we shall begin! The instructions are quite simple - just fill yer bag with leaves!"

I noticed these holly leaves, some of them without spikes, and how they have a white edge lit up by the sun. I took them down to the beck and thought after last weeks shenaningans that this week quick would be ok. A few stalks of grass, a few thorns and hey presto I was done.

I've had a Giclee print done of Traffic Lights for River Traffic, had it framed and it is now on the wall. I think it looks great and gawping at it has reminded me of the day when I made that sculpture and how a passer-by regaled me with his story of his nephew's motorbike. Believe me his anecdote was a cracker and if you haven't heard it you should go and read my retelling ;-) you might learn a thing or two about mopeds.

Wellies on and into the stream I set up the struts so the leaves would catch the sun but first I would need to pull out the half-a-motorbike hidden under the silt. First a headlamp, then an exhaust pipe, assorted bits of plastic, some wire, and some drinks cans. Perhaps the rider had downed a four pack of lager and had careered into the stream right here? I hoped I wasn't going to find bones!

But what did I tell you about appreciating nature? Well unfortunately the human touch seems to be everywhere not all of it artistic! Ho hum. But then again these pieces of moped may have belonged to my passers-by nephew recounted in the Traffic LIghts for River Traffic story, which would make my return to that spot quite apt. Just like my joining of autumn and spring sculptures here I have succeeded in joining two tales of neglected motorbikes. My word, my art is so deep and meaningful, wherever do I get these wonderful concepts from?!

After I finished with this one and now sporting my 'I graduated from the Bag-o-Leaves Academy' badge I took my 'Bag-o-Leaves (registered TM, Copyright Bag-o-Leaves Academy) and decided to make a Dragon for the next kids book and for more how to's on . We're working on the next LandArtforKids book, workshop materials and workshops for kids so I've been making kids sculptures as well as my own, although to the untrained eye (that'll be mine) thre is very little difference.

It gives me an excuse, as if I needed one, to act even more like a kid. Perhaps you should too?!

This was made for the Land Art Connections Project April 2010 - Theme Shadows on 17th April 2010 at Burrow Beck, Lancaster, UK.


EmandaJ said...

Hello Richard,

I love the simplicity of your Holly star and the story of the founding of your 'bag-o-leaf' academy(C). It reminded me of a philosopher named Leo Buscaglia who told a story about not wanting to bag up all the beautiful fall leaves that fell in his front garden, even though all his neighbors had, and they were rather scornful of him.

Anyway, I hope you and your partner feel better.


Richard Shilling said...

Thanks Emanda, I can relate to what I imagine that story to be. Going against the grain when you know it is the right thing to do. And we are both feeling much better thanks. The spring sunshine really helps!