Sunday, October 10, 2010

Remembering with the Land

Summer's fire releases with the exquisite
burst of fall leaves in New England - a 
perfect moment to make art with the land.

Embrace in progress

My class, Exploring the Natural World, came 
to RavenWood for a day of environmental art. 
They were divided into three groups, each picked a 
word out of a hat. The words were shelter, embrace 
and flow. They picked a spot, and could use only 
what they found on the land. 

"Embrace" completed: embracing tree, embracing water.

All three groups used leaves in some way or another,
the color so astonishing in contrast to the green mosses 
and brown trunks. 

"Embrace" - a surprise burst of color from a distance.

Students sewing leaves together for "Flow". 

We noticed how quickly the sun moves as places 
that were chosen for the light were soon in shadow. 

"Flow" the next day, having lost a section
of leaves to the wind in the night. 

The chain of leaves mingles with submerged
mushrooms. After such a long drought, we had two 
weeks of rain, over seven inches, and strange 
things like underwater mushrooms!

"Flow" - detail of sewn leaves. 

"Shelter" - an arch sheltering the path 
down the hill.

"Shelter" - in progress.

"Shelter" and a moment of me spinning. 

I've been offering this event for several years now, 
I love what happens to the class as they work on the land. 
When I first mention the mandatory Saturday field-trip to 
my house an hour and a half away, I get some groans...
Once here, however, stress sinks into the leaf mould, 
breathing is deeper, and eyes shine with a bit of the wild. 

The following Monday at school, when reflecting on the day, 
several students said they felt whole again.... and that 
their roommates noticed. So, art is good, but wholeness,
 well, what could be better?

Remembering with the land- that's how I think of it.
Re-membering - like Isis who travels the earth finding pieces 
of Osiris, putting them together, and bringing him back 
to life. Trees - and stones - sing me back to life. 


lynne h said...

oh, this is so beautiful... thank you...


mycuriousteaparty said...

This work is beautiful an autumn celebration.
Have you shown your students the work of Andrew Goldsworthy, he is one of my favorites.

~ Julie

Jasmine said...

So beautiful. I love the embrace, and the flow after the leaves had been blown and mingled. You have all the glory of Autumn upon you. Refreshing for the soul xJ

Umā said...

How fun! I've come to rely so much on my time outside in the woods these past few years. To think I used to let J take the dog for a long hike without me!

stregata said...

Such beautiful colours in your neck of the woods. Saw your stacked wood in the last post - we stacked ours yesterday. Today I am moving in slow motion...

steven said...

these works are absolutely breathtaking. beginning with the very most beautiful materials nature has to provide at this time helps of course and then seeing them through open eyes. most of our reds are fallen. the world is almost all gold. steven

Richard Shilling said...

Wow, what lovely land art. And the sun moving? All part of land art for me, discovering the subtle nuances and changes in the environment as you experience time passing. It is those things that make it so fascinating and inspiring.

Tammie Lee said...

such a wonderful way of exploring, sharing and discovery. Such a gift you have offered and given.
I love the photo looking up at the tree with red leaves, they are all lovely and wonderful though.

Windsongs and Wordhoards said...

Looks like a great course... I've been so busy lately I feel like I'm missing the autumn, I need to make some time just to walk and breathe it in I think...
Lovely autumn colours you have!

(Karen) Lisa Daley said...

Wow, that's really beautiful. What a great idea. The kids must love you!

Valerianna said...

Hi everyone - in a moment of feeling rushed, so I'm "bulk" responding to all the comments.... thanks for them. I'm in such a tizzy these days looking out the window - every moment is another opportunity for an amazing fall color photo. I'm trying to resist.... and just BE with it, too. But its so inspiring right now, its hard not to want to share every beautiful moment... oh well.

imagine said...

I'm amazed by the things that you do and the world that you live in.
Does somewhere like this really exist?
I envy you and admire what you are achieving, the work produced was beautiful and the fact that nature was reclaiming it, even more so.

Caterina Giglio said...

just fabulous photos, and land art! love the spinning photo!
and I love cozy flannel sheets too, but maybe one satin set just for fun!! xx's

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Ah, this is wonderful.
It reminds me so much of my childhood. When my father would rake the leaves, I would always steal some and line out the perfect house upon the ground. I always made my bedroom octagonal

Joanna said...

I love these art works. The photographs give a glimpse of how wonderful it would be to happen upon them while walking through the woods.

donna iona drozda said...

A magnificent setting and a glorious autumn art experience...I savor each image and imagine the joy of being there in the embrace of the flow and the shelter.


Unknown said...

Lucky lucky students of yours! Does Pasha participate or spy on the activities from a secret den?

Penny Berens said...

Wow, what fun is that!

Reading Tea Leaves said...

Your students are fortunate to be able to share your wonderful space Valeriana. Just beautiful. What a wonderful art experience for them, and you.


rivergardenstudio said...

Oh, Valerianna, I have saved this post to read this morning, and to soak through these gifts your students bring and receive from nature, and the gifts that you give your students. I could cry.... roxanne


Such an amazing project and beautiful photos. I really enjoyed your post. Thank you for sharing and thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a lovely comment on mine too :o)


Acornmoon said...

What a very clever idea to give your students those words. It is so important for young people to connect with nature. I love your images, so vibrant and energetic.

rivergardenstudio said...

I just wanted to write again and tell you that you have so inspired me with this beautiful project that I am going to do something similar with my second grade students next week. I hope you have a wonderful weekend... roxanne

Jo Potter said...

Ah, this is the kind of workshop I would like to do. A perfect way to spend an Autumn's day. Sewing leaves together to make chains around Ravenwood! :-)
This is a beautiful post Valerianna with lovely photos. I hope you and your owl cat are having a lot of fun in the woods together! >^.^<

Ruthie Redden said...

Valerianna, what a wonderful gift to give to your students, the opportunity to re-connect & discover & play. The results are breathtaking x

Valerianna said...

Imagine, thanks! And, YES, it really exists!

Dolce- Yes, I really like that spinning photo as well, an accident of course, shot while slipping downhill on wet leaves!

Pamela- What an interesting thing to do with leaves.... I drew my house, and never even considered an octagonal room, though I am considering building my new studio as an octagon.

Joanna- If it weren;t for big wind and very heavy rain since they were made, I would have more "glimpses"... oh well, next year!

donna - Thanks!

Susan- Pasha was keeping a look out in the garden, he didn't venture out to the land art until the following day when we went exploring together, or at least, that;s what he told me!

Penny- YES, and I highly recommend the game to everyone!

Jeanne - I love the process, and how the students sink into the land, and how everyone becomes much more intimate and friendly... its a great way for a group to bond.

Roxanne- how sweet, I;m touched, thanks!

Carolyn- thanks for stopping by here, too!

acornmoon- thanks, and the purpose of this whole class is to connect with the natural world through art. This event is the highlight, for me and I think for them.

Hi again Roxanne- cool! I hope you'll keep me in the loop with what you do with them.

joanne- at present, owl kitty Pasha is purring down my neck, flipping his tail onto the keyboard now and again. A drizzly day brought him in early to nap and now its dusk and he must stay in. He's not so thrilled!

ruthie- thanks! They loved it, and so did I.

Nikiah said...

What a stunningly beautiful idea!

Medieval Muse said...

What an amazing exercise and class project.