Thank you for visiting the home blog of Caliso Learning, a natural science-based business celebrating the beauty and ecology of our natural environments. Our goal is to connect you and your family with nature--actually, we want you to fall in LOVE with nature!

Here you will find nature-inspired articles and posts, family activities, personal stories, resources, and more--all with the goal to connect you with the benefits of nature for family fun and inspiration! Please enjoy and let us know what you like :) Follow us on Facebook for even more resources, more frequently!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sticks and Stones

The first time I experienced British land artist/sculpture/photographer Andy Goldsworthy’s work was when a traveling exhibit came to the museum I was working. I was completely blown away and inspired by his resourceful, artistic interpretation and celebration of the natural world. At the time, I hadn’t seen anything like it!

I am unaware of the beginnings of the current land art movement, whether it was directly inspired by Andy Goldsworthy, or if this wonderful expression was long ago established and is now getting a little more recognition and participants. Either way, I’ve become a huge fan of land artists. Their patience, concepts, the use of only natural material on site, and the resulting work is simply inspiring. And the fact that much of it is ephemeral makes it so magical. There are many genuinely talented land artists out there, and one of my favorites is Richard Shilling (aka “e s c h e r” on Flickr, become a fan of his works and his blog here).

Since I was child I’ve enjoyed creating around with natural patterns and materials…arranging rocks into makeshift mini-caves, arches (hardly successful), spirals, making sand pile lines, stick pyramids, pinecones embellished with fresh pine needles, pine needle baskets, leaf kabobs--even a miniature of a complete "18th century dwelling" my mom and I made one day, complete with stick chairs, broom, and rustic family dining table with benches, and acorn bowls filled with seed, bread, plates, goblets and such--all made with natural items. We did “cheat” a little—we used glue guns to keep it all together. But we surprised ourselves at how well it all came about! It was a fantastically fun afternoon of gathering and creating these treasures outdoors, under a canopy of pines, with my mom!

So it is this memory, in homage to your inner land artist, which inspired this week’s Nature Time exercise. Go outside, gather natural materials of any sort, have something in mind or even better, gather with a blank slate--your materials will inspire you! Keep in mind, most all land artists create on site, this creates a great exercise.

My mom and I had no idea what we were going to create, we just wanted to spend the time together and make something. The point is, it’s a moment I cherish i look forward to future afternoons like it; and I encourage you to simply open up and let flow, your mind will thank you for this wonderful outlet (creative bone not required)! Whether you decide to do this alone, or as a family, the connection you will share will be fun, maybe even silly, but definitely special :) I think your soul will thank you for it too.

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