FOREST   land art

Why making a forest as land art?
The answers lay with the trees, not just their beauty, strength, adaptability but:

Tree clean the air from dust, co2, important as we know.

FOREST Air cleaners



Trees help with the water management on this planet, while we turn and turn around.
By all means trees are the best in using solar energie.


FOREST water



Trees provide food, wood, shelter and do i need to say more.



TOREST hidden beauties



The hidden beauties, the shelter, all for us to discover in their small corners.

Therefore creating a forest is more than planting a bundle of trees.

It makes it possible for us to give something back to nature, to create a gift for nature.
The FOREST will become Community Art for nature.



Bies Forest

You can find the beginning of the ‘Land Art Forest’ in the ‘BiesBosch’, which means the forest of Bies (common club-rush).
This area stands central for the land art, first as an example how we can give back and how we can recover nature. Second as this is the breeding ground for a lot of my thinking.

How it used to be

The changing of this area over the years has been to say the least, dramatic. The area was created by St. Elizabeth’s flood of 1421. Due to war and the rush for profits the dykes were neglected therefor on 18 November 1421 the water broke through and the area became an inland sea/delta.
Nature used the rivers to create land again with silt, bit by bit water became sandbank, sandbank became silt plate, silt plate became swamp with reed and rush and finally meadow.

The BiesBosch became an important fishing area, in 1910 thousands of salmon were caught in a year, yet 23 years later the salmon fishery was finished due to overfishing. The same goes for the ‘Steur’ (sea Sturgeon) a big fish which was used for the caviar. In 1900 438 Steur were caught in the BiesBosch and in 1925 just 3.
The land was used for hunting, there were several Duck decoys used to shoot Ducks in large numbers. This came also to an end and the income of the landowners came from the harvest of Willows and Rush, and cattle from the meadows.

Willows are used to make clogs

Even it was cultivated land it was rich in wildlife due to the swampy character and the dangers due to the tidal difference of 2 metres. A knowledge about the area was needed to wander around.
The best way to visit was by canoe all them small creeks with growth all over it due to neglect as the market for Willow and Rush had dropped thanks to the cheap plastic, which is still today cheaper than Willow.
It looked like a jungle in my childhood memories with lots of birds and filled with adventures.

water reservoir

no comment

All this came to an abrupt end when the Haringvliet was closed to protect Holland from the sea and to stop flooding from happening again.
A flood once created the BiesBosch now flood-prevention killed the BiesBosch.
There was only 20 centimetre difference between low and high water, the water became still and dead. Botulism moved in and many birds and fish died and several people were infected.
Straight after the dam came the reservoirs for water, 3 big concrete basins to store water. Not that we didn’t have enough rain but because the rivers became too polluted to give safe drinking water for the big city of Rotterdam.
A nature area of a total of 693 hectares (1712 acres) of land came under concrete basins filled with water in 1973.
3 Years later biologist from the TU Delft gave a public speech about how it should be different this was for me the turning point perhaps better a starting point that we can and should do it different.

Nature and culture can go together, you don’t need to make a choice. While i spread my wings to discover the world and study, the fight for the BiesBosch went on.
The result is fantastic. In the seventies a big turning point was created by them environmentalist which many of us have forgotten. GreenPeace and the Friends of the Earth made a big impact on decisions and companies had to stop pumping their poison into the rivers. Slowly the rivers became cleaner, we still have a long way to go but progress is made.
Clean rivers bring better water quality to the BiesBosch and better land management created new nature.

BiesBosch back to life

life back into the BiesBosch

It didn’t stop there, people started to care more and more, so the politics started to change according very slowly, as politics always do moves slowly.
The people at the BieBosch however didn’t sit still and waited, they worked hard to create changes to reintroduce wildlife back into the area.
The BiesBosch became a National Park in 1994 many land parcels were given back to nature. It is back to a delta were rivers can overflow preventing floods elsewhere, showing how nature can help.
Climate change brings more and heavier rain to our land, don’t forget around two/thirds of the land in the Netherlands is under sea level.
Once they wanted to get rid of the Willows now they are a respected part of the landscape.

Land Art in the BiesBosch

Land Art is a part of this nature regeneration where culture meets nature and shakes hands. The Moon Spiral  made by land artist Paul de Kort, a brilliant piece to walk and enter nature, proves this.
There are more plans to give land back to nature to change agriculture land into nature. It doesn’t even stop there, the dam at the Haringvliet will be opened permanently to let the fish back in. It took politics 14 years to finally realise that this is a good idea. In the meantime the Sea Sturgeon has been reintroduced into the rivers after more than 65 years  they swim perhaps back into the BiesBosch.

It just shows so clearly, that we can make a difference and that a long fight do give results, we can give back to nature and enjoying it. When we help nature we help ourselves.
On the moment the Land Art Forest is just in her baby shoes, not much more than a creative idea.
It will be a hard battle to see how a group of people can own it and how we can prevent it from being sold ever.

For now I am looking for people who like to be involved and who want to help. In the next series of blocks you can read about the lessons learned from other Land Art projects i did. The Land Art Forest will benefit from all them lessons.
The blog will be written in English next to this a book will be written in Dutch. The idea is that people can use this to create their own Land Art Forest where ever they are in the world.
For now the focus is on a Land Art Forest in Portugal and in Holland. Both forests will have to deal with extreme weathers and both will be used to regenerate nature by people themselves.

In the end the blog will share lots of information about products that will help, together with which trees can be planted best.

trees feed

Please feel free to share.


land art forest


a drop in the ocean

The photos will always be related to LandArt, documenting that vanishing moment in LandArt. It comes as no surprise to go from a photo back into LandArt.

The organisers of the exhibition ask me to give a talk about my work at Clegyr Boia in Wales. How can a drop relate to 6 hectare of land, perhaps the feeling of really being just a drop in the oceaan while you know you should be so much more than a drop.
The little feed the big and the big feed the little, we forget, we give up before we start, feeling so little among the so big.
All them little drops form an oceaan, without a drop no oceaan. Remember, many little create a big.

mushroom power

LandArt alters the landscape, sometimes just a moment, sometimes forever. The artists have a dialoog with nature in a landscape and from that dialoog flows a sculpture which alters that landscape.
They add something to the landscape or they intervene in the landscape or they act in the landscape.

a shape at the edge

The LandArt at Clegyr Boia became a landscape. The lessons learned there on that plot of land act as a basis for the next piece of LandArt. A concept that will be used for several pieces of LandArt, all around the world.
So the photo exhibition will be the onset for something much bigger than a drop in the oceaan.
Trees will play a major role as they always play a major role in so many different landscapes. Trees are the backbone of a landscape.

Tree Flag

Learning from past mistakes, learning from past failures, moving into achievement.
A book will be written about the experience at Clegyr Boia with at the end how to move them experiences into an achievable LandArt Forest.
The notebooks came out of the cupboard, photos are searched and gathered an idea takes shape.
Research starts, into books, newspapers and internet to make the idea grow.
While writing about the past contacts are made for a network of people and organisations to add onto that base of a forest.
New notebooks come into action and in November there will be more than just a drop in the oceaan.
The exhibition has been moved to November 2018 at Alcoutim in Portugal.
To create time.

distance looking




Than just than the water became a mirror as the wind called behind.
It revealed silence in noise, in uproar, sound echo  echo, silence in noise
sound source of silence, underwater while above, on the surface feathers
still there, like screams of geese and line clouds of wasted journeys
silence my mind

paint reality

to see what you and me can’t see
don’t want to see
a laced wing, laced netting, filigree cord sting
intertwine, interweave, mix it all, give it silence
klingerly klang of a horse shoe on concrete

glace wing

see beyond time
a feather comes with thousand drops
to do what hasn’t been done
camera under water under surface reality
dare to see surplace reality shattered movement

under or above thats the question

a boat past, waves come all moves
wobble bobble zobble
into reappearing silence, moved to be stuck
a drop reflection into a subtle action
reaction of a fraction into
inner moment, inner movement
shadows reflection, than just than

moved to be stuck

the boat pushes her under where i lay surprised
faces what to see, no longer care
all them drops
just one little feather
feels so good, so beautiful, attractions
in that one tiny moment of passing

that feather

by elegant, glamour on a surface movement
shift in charm, to relocate me and
seeing beyond, seeing inside reflection, under drops
we only see outer reality
stir, switch, leave, transfer

seeing in three dimension
i have to go now, i need a piss
my inner calling
how to make 2D into 3D with an inner feeling
kijk nou

een veertje dat me heeft leren zien, leren kijken, een ander perspectief.

it will never be sure when or how we see not knowing how to show

mAgdA september 2017 alblasserdam


Hollow Tree OAK

One day i found a hollow part of a trunk along the Shropshire Union Canal. Somebody discarded it as no use for burning as the centre is half rotten and some of the wood was composted into soil. The idea to use it one day to plant it with a tree in it an old tree giving space to a new tree even feeding giving soil to the new tree. The hollow tree trunk lived for several weeks now on top of the roof looking a part of the small land-art garden.

The soil washed away during the travels but has been replaced once again with soil from a mole-hill and one of the small Oaks found her new home in it. Here it will grow for the next few months until we are back at the Shropshire Union Canal where she will be planted with trunk and all in the soil to grow.

the tree trunk

the tree trunk

From this came the next planting. An old tree trunk next to the Trend and Mersey Canal, a dead Willow. The last planting had a circle of willows around the Oak this time the Oak went into the Willow. Willow trees don’t grow old but do grow fast, at their end of life circle they become hollow and just fall over.

digging out

digging out

This Willow tree was wisely cut and left, it was a big tree with several stems. If you pollard a Willow it can become a good old tree but will also hollow out creating a brilliant habitat for wildlife while the tree keeps on growing. We saw many along the canals, they become real sculptures.

the soil mixture

the soil mixture

The Willow had a soft centre which i removed al the way down to the bottom and filled it with old coffee, tea and soil with plenty of stones for drainage. It felt like a sponge so soft and very wet, my arm was just long enough to come to the bottom. The little Oak went in, no need for water the surrounding tree trunk will act as a sponge while the rain can dribble away to the bottom through all the rocks. You can see the stinging nettle taking well advantage of the rotting tree-trunk. The nettles feeding in their turn the surrounding soil for any plant who comes along on the wind.

new tree in old tree

new tree in old tree

The Oak will slowly grow and become old, the tree-trunk will slowly but certainly rot away around the new tree. The soil can wash away from the bottom leaving some bare old roots but the Oak will grow on evolving in her own root sculpture. Before the root sculpture to appear many years will pass as nature has no haste. Around her some rocks were placed from the places she visited on her trip on top of the boat.

the rocks from the canals

the rocks from the canals

Sand stone from the Shropshire Union Canal, flint from the Grand Union canal from the Cassiobury park where one of her sisters grows now, a round pebble from the Coventry Canal. One pebble came from Trefin Beach the root of the bridge planting that I do.

tree sensation

tree sensation

Finally she got an inscription of tree sensations.

here we go again

here we go again




Wandering along the canals while wondering how to approach The Canal and River trust, I thought it would be good to make something to show them.  Willow grows along the canals and rivers naturally, most Willows like wet feet. While looking and thinking this surreal apple comes  floating along in the canal. So the idea for Float was born.

Willow is such a brilliant material, you can make so many things with it.  It has evolved by creating lots of growing hormones, rooting powder used to be made from Willow. It grows quick back after cutting it back, even when you cut it back to the ground. Willow is on the menu for many animals so to survive all this eating it just grows.

I made a Willow bridge by twisting some Willow branches together, which will grow one day as one. The surrounding branches were cut to make in a floating piece of art. Taking and giving while knotting the bridge together with jute. The knotting can be very relaxing almost like a therapy to work out all your problems in your head by drifting away  like the apple going where ever the streaming takes you.

The towpath along the canal has a walking trail called the Weavers Way. So the Willow branches were woven into a kind of fence. An Apple would have been lovely but hard to make into a drifting poem. Now the poem would be a problem which material to use to make it float, a floating poem as part of my many land-art poems. I use slate to write on but is a bit heavy.

willow weaving

The poem became a Haiku with 5-7-5 syllabus in 3 lines.


for a better mood

drifting to solitude

an apple moves

float with apple

Autumn created one big drifting circus on the canal with fallen leaves. Float with leaves and apple into the water but leaves and apple float faster than willow and slate.  The apple became a party for the geese, how to eat a floating apple.

float geese


geese party




apple gone

Leaves and float did meet again at the lock, than some final preparations to make the float look more like a boat and the final FLOAT floats away on the canal.

float in leaves at sluis/lock

float at the lock


floating land art



final float

the string to stop it from floating out of control *_*

The Canal and River Trust and boater will not like to see more debris floating in the water. The propellers on the boat get stuck with all these bits and pieces around them. So Float ended up as a fence and in the future will become a living fence as the Willow starts to grow.

float als fence

standing strong as a growing fence

Willow is very good material for free trees to plant as land art for the Bridge project, it is like growing art material for weaving willow sculptures or arty baskets. No matter how much you cut it it will come back and give you more material for art.

float closeup



So became the beginning of planting land art with poems. Now put it all together for a good proposal towards the Canal and River Trust to get permission to do the work.
The material is free, my time is all for promotion of Wånderlust the floating gallery. I am therefor very hopeful to get the permission, to prevent that all them wonderful young trees will get mowed or trimmed to the ground.

9 tiny OAKS

The best time to collect your seeds for planting trees for the BRIDGE LAND ART FOREST project is the autumn. You don’t need a small fortune to create a forest, take the time to collect and it will not cost you a penny.


storm coming

Embrace yourself and go out, autumn weather has sun and rain – perfect condition for collecting seeds to grow trees.
When I went out today I was very lucky and found just what I was looking for. Tiny little oaks, which are not oaks yet but are sure to become oaks in the spring as the acorns germinated already.
It will be hard to grow oaks from acorns if you don’t find ready germinated acorns, trees seem to be particular in when they want to grow and the germination is the start. In them small seeds a true chemical ‘factory’  is hidden that reacts to the light and therefor to the weather. Trees can’t walk away so they need to germinate at the very best spot. Underneath a different tree or right in the middle of a forest a young tree has to compete for nutrition and light and the chance of growing is therefor little.
An acorn usually waits for birds or squirrels to pick it up drop it by accident in a suitable spot. Humans can take over the bird’s role and look in the right spots for germinated acorns.


a collection of germinated acorns

At the edge of the forest or a hedge is the best spot, just look under fallen leaves. When you see tiny little roots coming out pushing the acorn open collect them together with some leaves and transport them in a plastic bag.


the tiny root pushing her way out into the world
to become one day a giant Oak tree

If you are just as lucky as me you will find the perfect soil for planting these little beauties, at your feet in the form of a mole hill. The moles have done all the hard work for you by making the soil fine and pushed it up for you to collect. The soil comes from a lower level with a good source of nutrition not too much, not too little.


mole hill soil

If you like to include some trees that feed animals and humans look for some wild fruits. While you eat the fruit you keep the seeds and plant them. It is a lot harder for them to grow so a good excuse is to eat lots of wild fruits; often they are healthier than their tame cousins. Autumn the time to build up that immune system ready for winter.


damsels (wild plum)

Trees and plants can’t walk away from climate change effects and we see more and more uncommon diseases. The best remedy for this is diversity. So if one gets effected by a disease others will survive. Not just diversity in the variety of trees will help but also in their gene-pool. Many trees we buy are from the same parent tree as big nurseries take lots of cuttings and seed from one tree only and grow them on in protected environments. The result is 100% success and no waist but weak trees.
A good idea is to collect the seeds in one place and plant the trees away – even far away – from the collected place, so you create a more diverse gene-pool. Most of the oaks these days in the UK came original from Europe after the ice-age. Northern Europe was replanted by acorns from Spain as nature doesn’t take any notion of countries and their borders.


planted acorns

To grow the trees any container will do as long it has plenty of drainage to prevent a swimming pool effect. I place the acorns on their sites cover them with a little soil topped with some leafs. Store them outside and leave them alone; just check they have plenty of drainage. A good idea is some protection with netting material like old panty hose or an old net-curtain to protect them from hungry mouses or birdies.
Now you have the whole winter to look for a good spot to plant them and to think about the land art you will create with them next year.



The nine tiny oaks that I planted today will find their final spot somewhere along a canal in the UK. It is the begin for a forest made as land art, planted by humans with the help of nature in this case the help of an oak tree and a Mole.

I have made contact with the Canal and River Trust to work together with them. At the start of this project in May I had no idea that it would lead to planting trees along the canals whilst cruising.  Life can turn strange corners and you end somewhere you never expected to be. Every dark cloud has a silver lining sometimes in the shape of tiny trees.

Als je deze herfst lekker in het bos gaat wandelen kijk dan naar de grond en niet omhoog. Kijk uit voor die kleine eikels op de grond en zeker die eikels die al een heel klein worteltje hebben. Je hebt dan zomaar een heel klein boompje gevonden die jij kan planten als een onderdeel van de BRIDGE natuur kunst.
Bomen planten als kunst en het kost je geen cent echt niet.
Als je verder kijk dan vind je misschien ook nog ergens een mol heuvel nou neem mee die grond want dat is zwart goud voor de eikels.
Thuis bij de kachel en met warme choco maak je potjes van wat je maar leeg heb knip er gaatjes in grond erin en de eikels en  hoepla klaar. Zet ze lekker buiten met een netje er over heen tegen hongerige muisjes en nu geduldig wachten tot de lente.

under the black
lays the source of feeding gold
waiting as art

any questions please ask in the comments next to this please share when we have 1000 people with 9 tiny oaks we have a forest with 9000 oaks


yes i did get wet but look what came with the rain