Whenever I am out in nature and see a surplus of natural materials, such as stones, leaves, sticks, branches or cones, I think of Andy Goldsworthy. What would Andy do here? If you’ve never heard of Andy Goldsworthy, he is a British nature sculptor and environmentalist who works with natural materials to create works of art in natural settings. He may be best known for his documentary “River and Tides”, as well as his collection of photo art books. Here is a link to his official website: Andy Goldsworthy website. The photo collage above is a collection of his work from a variety of locations. Here is an an excerpt from Andy Goldsworthy: A Collaboration with Nature (NY: Abrams, 1990):

“For me, looking, touching, material, place and form are all inseparable from the resulting work. It is difficult to say where one stops and another begins. Place is found by walking, direction determined by weather and season. I take opportunities each day offers: if it is snowing, I work with snow, at leaf-fall it will be with leaves; a blown-over tree becomes a source of twigs and branches.

“I stop at a place or pick up a material because I feel that there is something to be discovered. Here is where I can learn. I might have walked past or worked there many times. Some places I return to over and over again, going deeper — a relationship made in layers over a long time. Staying in one place makes me more aware of change. I might give up after a while. My perception of a place is often frustratingly limited. The best of my work, sometimes the result of much struggle when made, appears so obvious that it is incredible I didn’t see it before. It was there all the time. 

“Movement, changes, light, growth and decay are the lifeblood of nature, the energies that I try to tap through my work. I need the shock of touch, the resistance of place, materials and weather, the earth as my source. I want to get under the surface. When I work with a leaf, rock, stick, it is not just that material in itself, it is an opening into the processes of life within and around it. When I leave, these processes continue.”