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.
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.
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.