Land Art Course with Dan Lobb at West Dean.
As I was thinking about coming on the course I decided that my word for the week would be GRATITUDE. In the past, my life having its turbulent phases, when making and spiral, labyrinth or other ephemeral art in nature, I have often used it as a way of focussing the mind on a question, wish or invocation. Now as I am in a calm and more peaceful time, it is time to acknowledge that and feel truly grateful.
On the first night here at West Dean, I was walking back to my car and was drawn to this bench. I tried to argue against using this as my focus as I had imagined working out in the gardens or woods in a much more aesthetically pleasing spot.
So I wandered around to find other places. Perhaps the dry stream bed in the ornametal garden?
I could imagine filling the mud cracks with bright yellow leaves to look like gold in kintsugi art
Or could I be inspired by this fence, which had been altered by a fallen tree. Surely those roots would offer a suitable resting place for some ephemeral art.
(Edit: this is the tree that features in my next Post. the photos were taken on the very last morning, just before I drove home)
Or perhaps I could work in this area where there is a recently planted Tulip Tree
But the bench would not let me go. I realised my head was getting in the way of my intuition – so back to the bench …….
It has a memorial plaque to Jill Causer 1948 – 2017 and Joanna Elizabeth Causer 1980 – 2007. I asked at the college if they had any records Jill Causer but they didn’t. I realised she was 69 when she died – I am 69 and if I make it to November, I will not die aged 69 – something to be grateful for.
Joanna could have been Jill’s daughter, dying at the age of 27. I have not lost a child – another traumatic life experience I have been spared. It was becoming clear to me why this bench had called to me to celebrate Gratitude.
The grasses surrounding the tulip tree were also calling to me so I picked a bunch and took them back to the bench. Finding some feathers on the ground as I went.
As I was cutting the grass, it reminded me of my farming ancestors, making hay or harvesting the corn. I thought too of my Great Great Grandmother, Caroline Canterbury, who was a sailcloth weaver in Dorset in the mid 1800s.
So when I got to the bench, I wove the grasses through the back struts
The process had begun…..