There was a series of guided walks and land art workshops all taking place in parallel across the UK National Parks, each celebrating and contemplating the distinctive local landscapes. The land art creations were curated by Richard Shilling and there were artists working in many different venues creating a series of mandalas and other patterns with natural materials gathered on the day.
Katy and I were based at the North Yorkshire Moors Visitor Centre, a great spot on the high moorland near Danby, a really beautiful area. We had a really lovely calm day with some wonderful participants - MASSIVE thanks to everyone for their ideas and gentle creative energy and contemplations.
There's lots more images and text if you scroll down the page - and if you click on the individual photos they should open up as larger images.
We spread our collected treasures out and really looked closely at the details in then - empty snail shells, beech nut cases at different stages (each a different colour and texture), lime flowers, hazel leaves, twigs, grass seed heads... it brings your senses into such a new way of looking and focusing.
We created a couple of large mandalas - one of them began to be woven together as people got interested in ways of pinning leaves to each other... and this led to ponderings about standing that mandala upright to let the sunlight shine through. So, up it went! This gave a whole new dimension to it and meant there was a great play of light and shadow, it also enabled us to add to the patterns by weaving in further leaves and seeds.
People made their own wonderful individual patterns too, one participant sat and drew which was very peaceful, others went straight into creating three dimensional structures and its so special how ideas bounce around and dance about between everyone. It was a very contemplative space - I think people felt able to both work on their own creations but also to add to the group pieces and importantly to have time just to "be" in the space and spend time taking in the calmness, the natural materials, the sunlight and the atmosphere. Mindfulness and flow state in true form.
For me its great when I am able to step back and observe and really contemplate what's going on and photograph some of the ways people interacted with everything. I was very inspired by the atmosphere of the whole day and we had some wonderful conversations with everyone who took part.
Although we were incredibly careful and respectful in the materials we gathered, it is important to forge strong connections with the natural world through actually touching and using natural materials. There were certain things we wouldn't pick or use and we had lots of really interesting conversations around plants, plant names and ways of using natural resources. Common plants such as goose grass (cleavers) take on a whole layer of extra meanings when you realise you can gather them and stick them into all sorts of shapes... The nearby lime trees had shed lots of flowers onto the ground, each a slightly different shade of green-yellow-gold... Part of this kind of gathering is about noticing the details in different plants and this then leads to so many wonderful questions and thereby a bond is formed as you investigate.
Huge thanks again to everyone who took part and everyone involved in organising the day.
#happy80thCNP will take you to further images to the other events that took place the same day, the following links also have lots of information