Earth Art

How can we view everything as temporary? This question is essential to living a mindful life, and it guided the group conversation on our latest field trip to Grounds for Sculpture. While at the sculpture garden, the students and teachers discussed the temporal quality of the materials that composed two of the special exhibitions on view.

As a follow-up activity to continue the discussion of seeing everything as temporary, the students watched the documentary, “Rivers and Tides” that highlights the work of earth artist Andy Goldsworthy. The film focuses on the fleeting moment in which the artwork exists. Mr. Goldsworthy talks about the need to remain unattached when creating artwork out of natural materials; ice melts, leaves blow away, rocks tumble, water disperses, yet he continues to create new pieces that will not remain for long.

Inspired by pieces seen in the film, the students headed outside to try their hand at creating earth art. They collected various natural materials found around campus and assembled them. Some students used leaves to accent their stone or wood structures. Some used sticks to form pictures or patterns. Others combined materials to showcase texture and color. While making their artwork, the wind constantly worked against them. Some students looked for a place out of the wind to make their work. Others modified what they were doing to work with the wind. In the end, everyone succeeded in letting go of their creation and allowing it to return to its natural state.