“Often you must have seen them loaded with ice a sunny winter morning after rain” ~ Birches, R. Frost
Holidays, record-setting cold streaks, and snow storms all contributed to our mid-winter Goldsworthy slump, but when we got back to the great artistic outdoors it was with a creative vengeance! We celebrated our return with a funeral – a Viking funeral to be precise. How we got to that point involved the sun, the woods, the beach and some imaginative tinkering.
On the first temperate weekend in late January we set out in a more developed part of the woodlands preserve near our homes which has a paved path winding down a steep hill that eventually leads to a sandy bank along the Navesink River. On our descent we came across many intriguing natural items for projects, like scrolls of bark and braided vines, but we couldn’t conjure up a moving idea on what to do with these items. Rather than force it we just took in the day and some other artistic flourishes that were left by others along the trail and waited for inspiration to strike.
Birdhouses in trees along the trail
When we got down to the river we saw that the ice that had solidified the water during the cold stretch from one bank to the other was mostly disappearing with the water current and heading out to the bay. However, a few ice floes had been deposited along the bank of the river instead of joining the pack. That’s when inspiration stuck – we would float a Goldsworthy down river.
We hadn’t seen any similar Goldsworthy’s to gather inspiration from like we did in our previous pieces but we knew some of his preferred styles – like colorful items popping off the white snow or sticks interwoven into geometric structures. We tried to keep these in mind as we started to create but the woods were bereft of color and we haven’t figured out stick weaving just yet, so we went abstract. We lined up sticks on the floes as well as a large rock and a smaller piece of ice while also adding a dash of the mustard hued sand for some color. We were pretty satisfied with the curious look of the finished project, envisioning boaters passing the floe by and questioning what they just saw on the random block of ice they just passed. We were also pleased with the development of our own artistic style on this project as we stretched our Goldsworthy inspired wings.
After a slight struggle to launch our canvas floe due to deep muck from melting snow and grasping reeds trying to keep it on shore, we were finally able to cast it out into the water. The current took it like a Viking warrior being honored after a victorious life to make the journey with the other unadorned floes to the open expanse that waited.