Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Backyard ART Camp: Andy Goldsworthy

I am very happy to be a part of this wonderful series filled with awesome contributors and inspired projects. It is always fun to have new art techniques in our back pocket for just the right expression of our project work. 

The idea behind the series is to create art inspired in some way by an established artist. We have been spending so much time outside this summer exploring our new environment and all it has to offer that I knew we would be inspired by nature. I talked with the kids about all of the habitats we have been learning about, the creatures we have been spying, and the new weather we have been experiencing. All of those things came together when I thought of Andy Goldsworthy's wonderful nature inspired creations.

We went to the library to check out books. We looked at photos of his works online and we watch parts of this documentary. The kids were very excited to see that he worked in Nova Scotia and New Mexico. What a fun connection! 

We decided on a rock inspired creation first, excited at the idea that there was now some redeeming value in our new rock yard. 

Up early before the rocks got too hot to handle we started collecting and separating the rocks into colors, with the help of our handy dandy muffin tin. 

We talked about the process of collecting and how what was found would inspire the finished piece. Once this wonderful round rock was found the idea for the shape of the piece was decided.

We looked at what we had collected and decided on the order of the colors, then started placing them around the center piece. 

In the weeks since we created this piece it has endured the blazing sun, the crashing rain of our afternoon thunderstorms and the occasional squirrel running past with one of our prized apricots to stash away for the winter. And it is standing the test of time very nicely. 

One of the things that is so inspiring about Andy Goldsworthy's art is the way he uses whatever is on hand at the location where he is creating his art work; whether it be rocks, leaves, sticks, grass, ice, snow, or mud he uses what he can find and he only uses natural materials, even using thorns to help hold things in place. In this way art inspired by his techniques can be made anywhere you and yours find yourselves out in the world.

On a hike we floated leaves attached by their stems down the creek. 

In the backyard we used twigs from a fallen branch to attempt a circular design.

And learned just how difficult it is to make a circular opening with straight sticks!

The other aspect of Andy Goldsworthy's art that is so appealing is the natural lifespan of the work; sometimes lasting months or even years, and other times being washed away by the rising tide or blowing wind, or even an excited sibling running through the yard! This provided us wonderful lessons in letting go and reining in perfectionism. Much needed lessons around these parts! 

There have been some wonderful post in the series already. 
If you missed them you can find them here:

Melissa posted about their found object art adventures in the style of Peter Blake.
Jane shared about how they were inspired by the many artist and techniques they saw at the art museum.
Danielle and Andrea went big with their kiddos with outdoor fabric art inspired by Christo & Jeanne-Calude.
Deborah and her kids had colorful fun with circles inspired by Kandinsky. 
Stephanie created a huge mixed media jungle art instillation with her kids inspired by Henri Rousseau.
Miranda and her kids were inspired by Jaime Zollars and Lisa Congdon to mix graphite and collage with super cool results. 

And we are looking forward to what these talented bloggers have to share in the second half of the series as well:

Stephinie from gypsy forest
Courtney from mon petit lyons
Carla from small + friendly
Sanae from sanae ishdia
Jennet from feathered nest studio
Tara from girl like the sea

Many thanks to Jane from buzzmills and Melissa from a happy stitch for putting this fun series together and gathering this group of inspiring folks to share amazing works of art with us!


  1. Neat! We were lucky enough to catch an exhibit on Andy Goldsworthy at the deCordova in MA a while ago. Many of the documented works had to do with snow--talk about temporary! I like the mandala-ish rock installation you and your kids created.

    1. Right! His projects with snow are amazing. I would love to go see his work!

  2. This is so wonderful! I have visited his site and it is amazing and inspiring. Funny, I was just yesterday thinking about taking the boys into the woods and constructing something with only what we found and no tools of our own, no rope.

    I love the rock art you have made together! It reminds me of a mandala and is quite beautiful in its simplicity yet intricacy. ;)

    1. I wish I had while we were in NS.
      I think the boys would really love this! Please share their creations if you guys do it.

  3. wonderful!! we are kindred in this love for rocks you know :)

    1. Thanks Stephinie.
      Lots and lots of rock love around here... and with this new rock yard the collection of "pretty" rocks I am gifted from my little guy is growing and growing by the day!

  4. Such a beautiful project and lovely insights into the process, Dawn. I'm so happy you are involved in this series. I can't wait for our week in the woods to construct our own natural design with rocks and sticks. Thanks for introducing me to this artist. I'm excited to watch the documentary.

    1. Thanks so much for asking me to join in Melissa!
      The documentary is slow, quite and amazing. Hope you enjoy.

  5. You should check out the documentary they made about his work. If you have Netflix you can see it from there. Love his work. I especially love the driftwood project on the shore he did.

    1. Yes! The circular driftwood project in the doc. was done in Nova Scotia. So amazing to watch it float away. Love!

  6. Dawn, thank you so much for joining us in Backyard ART Camp! Your projects are so beautiful! And inspired us to make an outdoor, beach sculpture with shells while we were on vacation last week! My daughter was so excited to see how beautiful our end result was!

    1. Jane, That is awesome!
      So happy to be a part of the series! It has been great fun!

    2. I thought I'd share our shell sculpture with you... we really did enjoy this so much, thanks again for the project idea, one that can be done virtually anywhere :)

    3. That looks great, Jane! The shells make such a cool design. Thanks so much for coming back to share!

  7. Do you know what this artwork is called

  8. I was diagnosed as HEPATITIS B carrier in 2013 with fibrosis of the
    liver already present. I started on antiviral medications which
    reduced the viral load initially. After a couple of years the virus
    became resistant. I started on HEPATITIS B Herbal treatment from
    ULTIMATE LIFE CLINIC ( in March, 2020. Their
    treatment totally reversed the virus. I did another blood test after
    the 6 months long treatment and tested negative to the virus. Amazing
    treatment! This treatment is a breakthrough for all HBV carriers.

  9. Hi, is a true life experience is not designed to convince you its a personal health experience, sometimes medical doctors take a different approach about herpes treatment. i has been stocked in bondage with herpes for two years and four months i has tried different means to eliminate this sickness because it surely has distract me even with the world, and i was told there is no cure, but only medicine for treatment all the possible ways i has tried was treatment, two months back i did some herpes research and i found amazing testimonies concerning natural herbal cure, and i go for it through the email address from the post just to give a try of herbal treatment, and i found it grate without delay i got cured with natural treatment from doc Twaha herbal cure his cure are powerful and shows out excellent result. and i think everyone suffering with herpes and others symptoms should also know about this cure from, or WhatsApp him +2349038518881 thank you