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Land Art: Ephemeral Beauty, Eternal Bliss

Art is something that we can create, enjoy and relish anywhere, anytime. There's no rule of time, place, material, age, gender. Really, this is one subject that lets you be, as you want to be!

I came to know about a very fascinating form of art called Land Art, way back in 2009 via The Artful Parent. And, I was immediately intrigued.

Land Art, basically, means doing art 'in' nature by using raw material from nature. You can do it on the beach, in the woods, on water. You can use leaves, pebbles, twigs, berries, acorns – anything that you think will contribute to your art.

For an ardent nature lover like me, it was something I instantly resonated with. 

Knowing that there are artists and environmentalists like Richard Shilling or Andy Goldsworthy who have dedicated their lives to this kind of art, is so heartening. It restores my faith and belief that we must ultimately pursue what our hearts desire us to.  I wrote an article recently on Tiny Buddha – baring my heart on this subject.

Recently, when in South Africa, we spent some joyful time on the beaches doing exactly this. Without keeping a watch on time, we spent hours collecting raw material from nature and making something; anything. 

For young children, land art is an extension of play. It can be soothing, fun and spiritual in many ways.

It helps them get outdoor, connect with nature, inspect, examine, touch and feel and learn instinctively. If there is no forest area or a beach in the vicinity, they can do this even in their own backyard, in a public park or a garden.  As a parent or an educator, do this along-side (or 'with') them initially for them to appreciate and understand its beauty and fun.

After making that shell garden and a sand city that you see in the picture above, when it was time to leave, Pari felt sad that it might be washed away by the waves. There were dogs on the beach running about and she was worried  that they will collapse it. So, she wanted to stay there as long as possible to be able to "protect" it. I understood her feelings and tried to explain the best I could and in a way that she could understand.

Land art is ephemeral in nature. Which means, it will stay with you for a fleeting time. It may be there for just the time you are working on it and then it will deteriorate and become one with nature again or may be washed away by water and wind.  

But, that's the whole beauty of it. You enjoy the process of seeking out something beautiful in nature, use your creativity to make something from it, revel in that moment, marvel at your creation, take pictures and walk away with peace.

If you live in urban areas like we do, land art is the most organic, playful and stress-relieving way of getting away from the din and bustle and connecting with yourself.

Back from the vacation, we don't have a beach or a forest area close by, but we still want to create anywhere we can.

Credit

Some resources:

I have been wanting to buy the book by Richard Shilling called Land Art for Kids – on The beach, for long now. But, sadly, it's not available here in Delhi. It's not on Flipkart as well. I'll keep an eye nonetheless and let you know when I spot somewhere.

For those of you who can buy on Amazon, here's the link.

Meanwhile, Flipkart does list 'Land Art' (aimed at adults) – one of Richard Shilling's initial books but it's currently out of stock.

You can also visit Richard Shilling's website for some ideas, explanation and the thought process or read his interview on The Artful Parent blog.

Worth a visit is this Flickr Page by Land Artist and photographer JRT Pickle that has hundreds of inspiring pictures of land art.

What do you think of Land Art? Have you done this before or would like to? Does this sound interesting to you?

{ 36 comments… add one }

  • amy (mamascout) September 23, 2011, 12:29 pm

    Great article! I am going to repost…

    Yes, everytime we are in nature, we seem to do some landart. My kids were really moved by the Andy Goldsworthy documentary _Rivers and Tides_. I highly recommend it.

    • Rashmie Jaaju September 26, 2011, 6:26 pm

      Amy,
      Thank You for reposting and sharing.

      Yeah that documentary we’ve seen too and in-fact as you mention, I feel like watching again!

      Here’s the link for my readers:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkHRZQU6bjI

  • Laura@art4littlehands September 23, 2011, 12:44 pm

    Beautiful land art! Makes me feel so calm. I love it. I felt sad about her worrying over it washing away. She is so artistic and attached to what she does. You are an inspiration!

    • Rashmie Jaaju September 26, 2011, 6:28 pm

      Laura,
      Yeah, she feels attached. Goes on to show how innocent and pure-hearted kids are. They value little things…
      Thank you for your feelings and appreciation, dear Laura. You are an inspiration yourself…!

  • Aparna September 24, 2011, 5:42 am

    Lovely, Rashmie. We’ve also done land art before, in parks and on the beach. Pari has done a wonderful job, as usual, with the shell garden/sand city. I distinctly remember my son painstakingly collecting smooth pebbles and dried and some soggy leaves on the banks of a pristine lake and building a garden out of them! More recently, in our complex, he collected lots of twigs, stones and leaves and made ‘homes’ for ants.

    • Rashmie Jaaju September 26, 2011, 6:30 pm

      Aparna,
      Isn’t Land Art so healing?! Your son’s love for nature is clearly evident in these activities that he does. :)

  • Angelique Felix September 24, 2011, 9:05 pm

    Truely beautiful, natural and touching! LandArt, I love it and came in contact with it during my Reggio Emilia experience, some of my favorite pics I posted here: http://www.angeliquefelix.com/articles/reggio-children-are-image-builders
    I am happy to be in connection with you,
    love Angelique

    • Rashmie Jaaju September 26, 2011, 6:32 pm

      Dear Angie,
      Thank you for sharing that very informative and useful article. I read it and have bookmarked. I’m glad I came to know you!
      Love and hugs back to you :)

  • stacy September 25, 2011, 9:55 pm

    What a wonderful idea, I can only imagine how much fun you had doing this. Thanks so much for the inspiration

    • Rashmie Jaaju September 26, 2011, 6:33 pm

      Stacy,
      You’re right – we had pure fun and peace. Yeah, peace – I think that’s what we had the most. We had no sense of time or hunger while we were doing it. Never realized we had gone way past the lunch hour. Ha!
      Thank you for being here, Stacy :)

  • shalini September 26, 2011, 3:47 am

    dear Rashmi,
    you are truly wonderful in providing learning experiences to your child.. the world is our playground…
    I have used Andy Goldsworthy’s inspirations to develop curriculum for children in India… but seeing you do it just gives me motivation to keep at it!

    • Rashmie Jaaju September 26, 2011, 6:36 pm

      Shalini,
      Thank you for connecting here with your encouraging words.
      You’ve used Andy Goldsworthy’s ideas to develop curriculum here in India? Wow! Now, I have to talk to you. A curriculum based on inspiration from nature is something that resonates with us. I’ll write to you. :)

      • shalini September 27, 2011, 4:16 am

        yup!
        lets meet up too :)
        i live in gurgaon but would love to connect… missed out on meeting you during the pratham book lit fest over weekend though!

        • Rashmie Jaaju September 27, 2011, 8:03 am

          Okay. done :)

  • Melissa @ The Chocolate Muffin Tree September 26, 2011, 6:10 pm

    Love Land Art! Love this post. I love the art your daughter made on the beach. I will share this! Here are some of my land art posts:

    http://www.thechocolatemuffintree.com/2011/07/rain-shadows.html

    http://www.thechocolatemuffintree.com/2011/08/our-land-art.html

    Land art inside:
    http://www.thechocolatemuffintree.com/2011/08/coffee-table-rock-art.html

    • Rashmie Jaaju September 27, 2011, 8:02 am

      Melissa,
      I checked yours out. So beautiful. Enjoyed seeing the pictures!

  • Jena @ HappyLittleMesses September 26, 2011, 10:16 pm

    They must have been so satisfied with such beautiful, texture rich work. My boys love to work with natural materials, but are too young to make something so elaborate because they still like to demolish as much as like to build. I like land art because the materials are sustainable, can be returned when finished and help children commune with their outdoor environment. Very interesting!

  • Rashmie Jaaju September 27, 2011, 3:45 am

    Dear Jena,
    Welcome to Mommy Labs :) and thank your for sharing your thoughts.
    I love that your little ones like making and playing with natural materials. Building and breaking – yeah, it’s so much part of the child’s play. Infact, this is the best part about playing with natural material as compared to plastic toys.

  • Pritam September 29, 2011, 4:30 am

    Its beautiful!!
    Pari has done great job…..i know this feeling of getting your art washed away…….Even Tanish has a pain leaving it behind.
    Loved the shot with flower and sand.
    Most beautiful is green and yellow leaves…..amazingly placed…

  • Rashmie Jaaju September 29, 2011, 4:49 am

    Pritam,
    Thank you for being here. Yeah, it’s hard for kids to not get attached to their creations.
    Pari was worried initially, but when I told her that others visitors will have a look at it and feel happy. And that, since all this came from the ocean, it’s okay if the ocean wants to take it back. And such…

    Glad you liked seeing it. The green and yellow leaf art is not ours. I shared it from a photo gallery of land artist – JRT Pickle. :)

  • Natalie September 29, 2011, 9:53 pm

    These natural creations are so beautiful in a very down-to-earth way. I loved this post.

  • Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas October 1, 2011, 9:46 pm

    gorgeous photos – love the black and white flower stamping photo.

    You always find art in everything around you which is fabulous!

    Thanks for linking to the Sunday Showcase! Looking forward to seeing what you will share this week – http://momto2poshlildivas.blogspot.com/search/label/Sunday%20Showcase

    Bern

    • Rashmie Jaaju October 5, 2011, 5:57 pm

      Bern,
      Thank you my dear :)
      I am enjoying checking out the Sunday Showcase each week. It’s growing by leaps and bounds!
      Look forward to linking this week too.

  • Michelle October 3, 2011, 3:09 pm

    Very cool! I love the art that you guys created. Those stones are so pretty! Were they just lying around? Thanks for stopping by the Sit and Relax weekend hop again. I always enjoy your posts! Have a great week.

    • Rashmie Jaaju October 5, 2011, 5:55 pm

      Michelle,
      Thank you for being here and sharing your comment. Yeah, those stones were so lovely. There were hundreds of them just strewn around by the waves.
      That place was a treasure!

  • Michelle October 3, 2011, 3:10 pm

    Oh! And that flower one is so pretty!

    • Rashmie Jaaju October 5, 2011, 5:55 pm

      Thanks, Michelle :)

  • Deborah October 5, 2011, 4:52 pm

    This really caused me to stop and think about how I teach my 15 month old “baby” daughter about art. We draw pictures and spend tons of time outside; but I never thought of telling her thatthe stones which she so carefully lays out or selects to stack are her “art”. Thanks for giving me a wonderful perspective to share with AJ. You can read about some of the fun easy baby development activities we do together on our site at http://www.babydevelopmentnow.com

    • Rashmie Jaaju October 5, 2011, 5:53 pm

      Deborah,
      I am so glad this post gave you a new perspective to think about when being in nature with your baby.
      Yeah, won’t it be a motivation for the kid to know his nature collection laid out there is an art in itself that he must be proud of. This itself starts off a new relationship between him and his environment.
      Thank you for stopping by, Deborah. I will definitely check out your blog.

  • Tat November 5, 2011, 2:32 am

    Your creations are amazing! We’ve been doing a bit of Land Art (without knowing that it exists or that this was what it was called), but now that I’ve seen your photos, I feel inspired to take it to a new level.

    • Rashmie Jaaju November 8, 2011, 5:46 am

      Tat,
      So glad you’re inspired to make land art with a renewed zeal. :)
      Thank you for stopping by to connect here at Mommy Labs. Glad to ‘meet’ you…

  • Mama Pea Pod November 8, 2011, 9:16 pm

    Just beautiful! Thanks so much for linking up to the Outdoor Play Party! Hope to see you back again this Friday to share more of your wonderful ideas and experiences!

    Pinning this on our Outdoor Play Linky Ideas board :)

  • Kristin November 24, 2011, 5:31 am

    Gorgeous! I love the soft, smooth stones you found. The impressions of the flowers are beautiful also. So delicate. Thanks for sharing!

    • Anonymous November 24, 2011, 5:37 am

      Kristin,
      So glad you stopped by to connect. I loved your ‘outdoor play around the world’ blog hop that I found on Twitter. So many good ideas there.
      Thanks for your lovely comment! See you around… :)

  • Rita chakraborty January 16, 2014, 11:43 pm

    Its really fantastic. I have never done before as a teacher. Thank u so much for a lovely idea.

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