A Bench of Gratitude

Working with this bench at West Dean College on a Land Art Course, became a very meaningful process for me. It also led me to make other pieces of Land Art in different locations around the garden.

This is the third post about it, you can see the first here and the second here.

The bench is, under a Lime Tree, in the front of the college and therefore seen by all the garden visitors and college students. Not the sort of place I thought I would have chosen at all – but it chose me.

After weaving in the first bunch of grasses, I walked back to the tulip tree to gather more. I counted my steps as I went. It took 150 steps to get from bench to tree.

As I counted out loud, I was reminded of my Welsh maternal Grandfather.

I did not get to sleep easily as a child and he used to pat me whilst counting out loud, very quietly, to help me get to sleep. I could choose how many pats 100, 150 or 200. We had a very close relationship – I had not remembered the patting for years and years. I felt very close to him as I was walking and a feeling of gratitude that I had him in my life, washed over me.

I picked just what I could hold in one hand, walked back and wove the dry grass through the back of the bench. Back for another handful and this time I placed it as a bunch to the left. This referenced sheafs of corn and also flowers left on benches and other places, in memorium.

My intention was to gather more grass to bulk up the sheaf, but after a walk around the garden, I saw some cut grass and decided to gather this to create some sort of spiral or other path, leading to the bench.

As I raked up the cut grass, I made a meandering path, which became my second piece of Land Art.

I came to like the spin off pieces more than what happened around the bench, but if I had not started with the bench the others would not have been created.

18 responses to “A Bench of Gratitude

  1. As always, it is fascinating to follow the progress of your creativity. In turn, it made me think of the bench donated in memory of my younger sister and placed in a small nature reserve where she used to live in London – and how I must go and visit it (sooner rather than later)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My own Taid was also Welsh and the headmaster of a small primary school. He fought in WWI and won the Military Cross, and then went on to lead a quiet and much less exciting life. I have very, very fond memories…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. How lovely it’s reminded you of things. We have a small-leaved lime on the golf course and it has the most amazing scent which always reminds me of my Nan. She was Welsh.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a sweet story about your grandfather.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Going Batty in Wales

    What a lovely description of your creative process! And your grandfather sounds a very special person.

    Liked by 1 person

    • He certainly was. As well as being a very loving father and grandfather, he was a Maths teacher who became the youngest Headmaster of a school in Wales at aged 24. He went on to be awarded an OBE, after he had retired, for services to his community.
      As many of us do, I wish I had asked him more about his early life when he was alive.
      I am so glad you enjoyed reading about the process. I walked with mindfulness – a luxury to able to stay in that mode for a week, without the outside world encroaching at all. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

I love your comments, keep'em coming :-)

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