the art of nature

One of the signs of spring here at the farm is our rushing river. Merely a meandering creek the rest of the year, in springtime, the little creek fills with water and rushes through the farm. Even though we barely got a sprinkling of snow this year, the creek is still rushing—a reassuring sound that all is right in my world.

And that made me think of a wonderful documentary film I saw a few years back about Scottish artist Andy Goldsworthy. Andy’s known for an art form he calls “site-specific sculpture.” It’s all about nature. And although he’s made permanent pieces from rock and other sturdy materials, the bulk of his art is impermanent, made from small stones, twigs, leaves, and even frost, placed in intricate patterns that might tumble, rush down the river, or blow away in the blink of an eye. His impermanent installations are also made with no tools to speak of—just Andy’s bare hands and whatever he finds in nature that can be used as his tools.

Leaves in river,

Beech leaves
collected only the deepest orange
from within the undergrowth
protected from sunlight
each leaf threaded to the next by its own stalk …

Leaf horn,



“I think it’s incredibly brave to be working with flowers and leaves and petals,” says Andy. “But I have to; I can’t edit the materials I work with. My remit is to work with nature as a whole.”


Sticks and stones,

Watch Andy’s gorgeous and inspiring 90-minute documentary, Rivers and Tides, here. It just might change the way you look at the world right outside your door.

Leave a comment 2 Comments

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Stunning! It is amazing how an artist’s eye can “see” color and form in a whole new way. The red leaf arrangement is my favorite.

  2. jaylyn morehouse says:

    I watched it a few years ago too. Amazing! I will never forget the dandelions that he picked and sent them to flow down the river.

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