Friday, July 08, 2011

Sycamore Seed Sun

I want to post something but need to write something to go with it. I normally write about my thoughts when I created the sculpture, or something that's preoccupying me or maybe something amusing that's just happened.

Well, I didn't make this today and can't remember much of what I was thinking when I did. Actually that's not strictly true. I remember quite clearly trying to get a photo of it all day. I knew it would be better to wait until the sun was lower but I tried anyway when the sun was high in the sky. It was very windy too and kept falling out of the tree I first put it into, shedding seeds as it did.

I knew that the dogwood ring would begin to dry out and contract, and as it did the thorns would fall out. So I needed to get a photo quick but the wind and sun weren't playing ball. Probably I was expecting too much, the wind might drop but I haven't developed omniscience, recently, with which to control the sun. If I had I expect my land art would be absolutely brilliant but I guess (un)godly powers might be considered cheating.

Eventually I gave up and returned later on, when the wind had dropped and dappled light lit up the undergrowth. Now everything was perfect or at least it would seem so. The light was magical and the breeze light and warming but the dogwood ring had lost some moisture and the thorns decided to drop out like needles on a Christmas tree on January 6th.

So I spent many minutes pushing them back in, cursing and pricking myself. This eventually worked and I had the seeds arranged nicely again. I expect you'd have less success using this technique if you were trying to stop your Christmas tree from going bald.

Once positioned and backlit all that was left was to click the shutter.

As for anything funny happening, that would be depend on your point of view. Some may see it as an opportunity, or perhaps something threatening, but in hindsight I definitely thought it was funny.

I've recently acquired a camper van of the Mazda Bongo variety, complete with elevating roof and electric blinds. We like to go out in it somewhere and brew up a cup of tea, simply because we can.

We went on a trip down south and arrived after midnight near to where we wanted to be. We found a little back road, in a forest where it seemed quiet. Pulled up into a layby, elevated the roof and got ready to sleep until dawn.

It's the great thing about owning a camper, you can just roll up and sleep wherever you like. However not worrying about where you are exactly might have unexpected consequences.

This tiny little lane, supposedly in the middle of nowhere, suddenly turned into a highway. Car after car came past, each one slowing down as they approached our spot. "Just what are they gawping at?" We exasperately exclaimed! "Leave us alone, we just want to sleep!"

When we got home I typed the words 'dogging' and "Devon" into Google and retrieved the answer I was looking for. It seemed some local swingers thought we might be up for some action. We had rolled up to one such particular spot, apparently very popular with those inclined in looking for late night action. The moral of the story is to be careful where you park up for the night, you might get more than you bargained for. Quiet remote spots are popular late at night with people other than just impromptu campers.

For those of a sensitive disposition or anyone who is quite happy with the lack of broadness of their mind, I suggest you don't Google those words, and certainly not look at Google Images. You will definitely get more than you bargained for, you have been warned!

As for ponderings I don't think there is much profundity present. Perturbing me this week would be the News of the World scandal, the sudden addictiveness of Twitter (don't do it unless you can handle it), and whether someone really can eat too many crisps.

But what of email etiquette? I regularly receive emails from different people interested in land art and I always take the time to reply. I know if I had written to someone that I would be upset if I just got ignored. Often it takes time to write the replies, I go into detail about what they have asked about, answer questions or help students with projects and dissertations. It's nice that people are interested enough to write to me and I enjoy writing back to them too. But here's the rub!

If it were me I would thank someone for taking the time to answer my questions but very rarely does this ever happen. I often respond to requests for help 'with sure what do you want to know' and never hear anything again, or write a long answer to posed questions and again hear nothing from them either. It is rare, but gratefully received, when they do reply but really that's only happened a handful of times. Am I too sensitive, is my email etiquette calibrated incorrectly? It all seems a bit strange to me.

Over recent months I've written and emailed a number of (well known, famous and less so) UK based natural artists to express my sincere gratitude to them for the inspiration they've given me, and expressed how my life has been profoundly affected. In addition I wanted to reach out and make contact with likeminded individuals, with the hope that we could perhaps collaborate in the future. Disappointingly I haven't received a single reply.

Perhaps they receive a great deal of mail, of the unsolicited and fan variety, and it has become a burden to reply to it all. But I feel that everyone is an individual and deserves that simple courtesy no matter how busy you are.

I am tempted to compromise my principles when I answer questions and seldom get a reply but perhaps it is really a test of character. If I feel sad when my communications remain unanswered then I expect someone writing to me will too. It's important to resist feeling jaded as without empathy most of us are nowhere.

I really need to get out and make some proper land art soon and when work and time allows. The words come best when making something as do funny encounters and pieces of insight. My interim ponderings are more on the morose side without the solace of creativity. Normal service should be resumed soon!


Valerie Kamikubo said...

I found you on flickr and was very much blown away by your work. I have never seen anything like it and have found myself to be quite entranced by it and the beauty of your photographs. I haven't had the chance to go throught the list of your land artists yet, but I will :^)

Richard Shilling said...

Hi Valerie, and thanks for the compliments. Really glad you like what you see! If you like it that much I suggest you go out and make your own land art, it's easy and free and very rewarding. Have a go, I say!

Many thanks

Sunrise said...

<3 I love your Job. U're amazing. I haven't words to explain how much i like that you do.

Richard Shilling said...

Thank you Sunrise, that is very kind of you to say.

Somewhere round about said...

thank you so much....for steering my thoughts somewhere creative and hopeful