So dawn goes down to day, nothing gold can stay. ~ R. Frost


Our first crack at a Goldsworthy took place on a sunny Saturday hike in the woods right after Thanksgiving. The trees have mostly shed their foliage for the year so the ground was littered with waves of leaves varying in size, shape, color and states of preservation. The bare trees allowed the sun to reach the ground in a way it can’t during the more verdant times of the year and their shadows sliced the floor throughout the woods creating a weird affect where the late morning light seemed more like the golden quality of late afternoon.

We realized that the window for leaf projects is closing as it’s already late fall but we wanted to give one a try while we still have the medium somewhat available to work with. We learned from some earlier Goldsworthy tinkering that it actually takes a good amount of leaves to cover any particular area in his dense, plated style but unfortunately the ground leaves were mostly too gnarled and the tree leaves weren’t too available either. So Bop had the idea of using the matted leaves on the ground for the project to provide a surface in which to trace his outline similar to the Goldsworthy depicted below.

Goldsworthy Inspiration

golds prone man

In the Goldsworthy piece the image of his body is there from the absence of the morning dew falling on the part of the ground his body was covering so our initial attempt was based around the idea of the silhouette being the ‘blank’ spot surrounded by the carpet of leaves. Our execution included tracing a line around Bop in the leaves then trying to remove the leaves from the traced body but it wasn’t long before this plan unraveled. As my dad is laying prone on the side of the trail while me, John, my husband Mike, and my dad’s partner, Diana, are around him scraping away leaves, a biker riding a unicycle comes flying down the trail and he gets caught up on a branch right in front of us and goes down in a crash. As he’s pulling himself together he asks us if everything is ok in a confused and slightly alarmed manner. We assure him all is well and what we’re doing is just for art but we understand his worry about three adults and a child seemingly covering a downed man in a pile of leaves. We realized then, after confusing a man riding a unicycle in the woods, just how fun this project was going to be.

After clearing the outlined body of the leaves, the result looked more like a blob than a discernable shape and we knew we needed to switch up the approach. We hiked a bit further, gathering some in tact yellow leaves along the way until we came across another spot that seemed to call for an installation. There we decided to clear the blanket of leaves away from Bop’s body leaving the leaves under him to act as the silhouette against the soil we just cleared. This was the key decision to our first Goldsworthy success. The finishing touch compliments of a suggestion from Mike was to line the silhouette with the yellow leaves to really make it pronounced against the dark soil. Project completed!

We were all so taken with our first Goldsworthy installation experience that ideas for the next one were reeling before we even began our walk back. As we were taking pictures of the finished work John was already busily working on another wood structure. If we passed something intriguing along the trails home we would call out to each other how we could use lichen for this sort of project or some moss for that sort. We saw monsters in trees draped with vines and abode huts in upturned roots and soil clusters, our creativity alive and dancing before us in the woods having been piqued by Goldsworthy. We’re already looking forward to our next outing.

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