“The stream yet to come is above and is the future. The stream that has gone by is below and is the past.” ~ 2007 Sabbaths, XIII, W. Berry
When one first acknowledges the body memories of spring – the quality of the sun feeling intimate and approachable and the stilled air letting the eye greedily process the assault of color dashed on a backdrop that has been muted for so long – it’s easy to be humble towards a world that produces such wonders. Winter feels like a personal affront, but spring feels like a communal celebration. Eager to get out and celebrate, we wanted to offer up a Goldsworthy to our fellow worshippers.
Flowers are back but in the woods leaves reign supreme. The pulsating shades of green drew us in and made our medium for this project apparent. While covering some ground on the hike and scouting out project locations, we couldn’t help but create with them!
The mobile leaf projects gave us some familiarity with weaving and interlacing the leaves that we came across so we came up with a concept to try in a stream we passed along on our hike. Andy Goldsworthy has done leaves-in-stream projects as well so drawing from this inspiration as well as what we naturally experienced ourselves that day, we wanted to give our own floating installation a try.
Our first inclination was to use what I believe were White Ash leaves as they were small but sturdy – so easy enough to poke stems through to weave together but likely to maintain their buoyancy in the water. The idea was to create a delicate, snaking line of leaves that would curve around the bends in the stream, but we soon ran into an engineering versus art issue. It turns out that the connections between the leaves were too tenuous and we couldn’t get the line into the water without it coming apart.
Always up for some improvisation, we thought we could transport the line to the river on bigger leaves, allowing the ash leaf line to be maintained and take off on its own as the bigger leaves would sink away. Little did we know that the bigger leaves would make a way better water-fairing vessel. We wove together skunk weed leaves in the same manner we did for the ash leaves, and the line turned out to not only be sturdy and tightly connected, but also pretty regal looking for such a pungent, often frowned upon plant.
If our fellow celebrants didn’t see the final chain make it downstream**, perhaps they smelled it. You can’t disregard the body memories associated with spring smells either, and we were happy to enhance the natural aromas!
** hope to include video shortly