SEEING trees

treestrefin

Perhaps not

The hardest thing for this blog is to choose the photos to show here, there are just so many.
A tree as art is nothing new and so many trees show that they are capable of doing just that.
The question stays are we ready to see trees and other plants for what they are?

Charles Darwin showed us already long time ago that trees and plants are much more than passive ground covering.
People were not ready to hear or see it in them days but can we see it now, not so sure.

tree growing in old factory wall

growing where ?

 

Yet, many of my photos show that Darwin stood only at the beginning of things and  many scientists have developed his theories further.
While walking you can see the power of plants where ever you walk and when you stand still to look you see even more. Trees made me scratch behind my ears with ‘how is this possible’ growing against all the rules?

Are we ready now to see it, or will our vision stay hidden.

Vision ball

vision

Our way of seeing is influenced by so many things and for such a long time we see the natural environment divided.
One way we see it as some ‘fairytale’ making it almost holy and the other way we see it as something to be owned and used or at least controlled.
Many believe nature is there for us humans only.

VISION
reflection
on the eye,
rejected by
culture
influenced by
time
you or me

tree on the rocks

on the rocks

A book written by Peter Wohlleben makes us see trees from a different perspective and according to the sales of the book many of us do agree.
At times the book still go towards the dreamy reflection, at other time he shows the scientific prove.
Talking to people you hear it makes them uncomfortable, some say: so what can we eat now when plants are seen as intelligent.
People forget that plants have been eaten for as long as they exist and so has animals. We don’t need to feel guilty about eating nature, plant or animal as that is nature.

woven willow growing on

why not

In a human made landscape nature still survives, when we alter nature it carries on while we look the other direction.
One site destroyed nature in fast moving actions, the other site creates nature while we read, write, talk.
We all can create nature no matter where, no matter the size, no matter with who, no matter with what.
Perhaps the time has come, we can go behind the rules laid upon us and see past them rules and regulations.

tiny creeping willow

small foot print

So many different species of trees we hardly see as they grow natural so tiny long before we humans invented Bonsai. Who made them rules again?
Winter solstice stands before the door once again a time to plant a tree no matter how small.

tree planting a christmas tree

celebrate

Planting a tree to celebrate the returning of the light in the northern part of the world and the return of the dark in the southern part of the world.
Even when we all plant the same kind of tree in all different environment, under all different circumstances, with whatever climate it will grow.

look at this

See you next year wishing you all the best for these festive days no matter how you celebrate.

 

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tree art

Many trees can be used to make living art. You make the sculpture by using the strength of growing trees, the tree takes part in the creating of the sculpture. The artist need to know the qualities of the tree they work with. Every tree have their own distinctive ways to survive in the harsh environment, each have their own evolutionary story to tell.

wrapped tree-art with Ash

wrapped tree-art with Ash

The Japanese make art with trees for centuries in the form of Niwaki, Japanese topiary. The artist prune the trees every year to create the shape they want.  With topiary you can make any shape you want, such as long you have the patience to prune the growing tree for many years.

Flag made with Sycamore

Flag made with Sycamore

The fast growing trees lend themselves for a different kind of tree art. We see many of the fast growing trees as weeds, as they spread so rapidly by seeds. When a tree seed herself in your garden you can even weed her out and plant her elsewhere or make her into a piece of art.

Net in an early stage

Net in an early stage

I used a 7 year old sycamore to make the sculpture ‘Net’. The tree was coppice to a hight easy to work from. When new shoots came in the spring, I choose a strong one and pruned the others away. The growing shoot was leaded along a bamboo stick, when bark formed on the shoot, I moved the bamboo stick to make the shoot grow in a different direction.

net 2 months later

net 2 months later

An other Sycamore, just 3 years old, became the Flag by bending and pruning, two shoots were allowed to grown in the natural direction towards the light. Next to them two Ash trees were used to make Wrap.

willow

willow

Willow has an other force that make them very useful to make living sculptures. They produce a high amount of growing hormones, the old rooting powders to help cuttings root, was made of Willow. This growing hormone gives Willow the strength to root easy and to heal wounds made by eating (pruning) animals. The next few months are the best to take cuttings from Willow and plant them where you want to make a living sculpture. You can cut them as long as you want but how older the branch how harder it is to take root and to bend the branch in the shape you want. The best is to look for an older tree and prune the branches and than wait till next season to prune the new grown branches.

willow ball

willow ball

I found a Willow, along the Shropshire Union Canal, which was pollard, the new shoots were woven and other were pruned away. Now a year later I have a great selection of new grown branches I can use for a new piece of work and planting. The woven branches start to make their own sculpture as they grow into each other as one.

how it looks now

how it looks now

the woven interaction

the woven interaction

The nice thing about making this art in a public area people will interact with it. The Willow hoop I made along the canal was broken yet somebody did like it as now i see this woven willow taken shape in the same spot where I made the last Willow hoop.

the old willow hoop

the old willow hoop

Now i will help whoever made this woven Willow and keep on weaving here. The other Willow sculpture is a bit hidden so more safe from judgement of the human eye. By weaving or pruning a Willow you don’t kill her or even damage her you help her to grow even more and stronger.

the new willow hoop made by a passer by

the new willow hoop made by a passer by

The pruned Willow you can plant by just sticking it in the ground or in the early spring by putting them in a vase with water to let them make roots. When there are some roots you can plant them where you would like.  Willow is brilliant tree to use for land art as a part of the Bridge Land Art Forest.

willowart rockwillow6monthslater

BRIDGE 4

BRIDGE 4

We went onto the Aylesbury Arm of the Grand Union Canal to cruise into tranquility. There next to Bridge 4 i planted 13 Willows and 2 Oaks again as a part of the Bridge Land Art forest.

Cruising into the Aylesbury Arm

Cruising into the Aylesbury Arm

The weather was warm and the Willows and Oaks started to suffer in their much too small pots. The Willow were just cuttings in water, the growth on them was beyond the power of their roots in the water, they needed soil. In all the pots were 2 acorns therefor two Oaks a bit crowded for the young establishment.

Bridge 4

Bridge 4

I saw a perfect spot right by Bridge 4, so The Wånderlust was moored and i walked over the bridge whit my few tools and the plants. Right there amongst the tall grass spots of bare soil came bare and just with the help of a bulb-planter, holes were made just big enough for the small Willows to go in. In the centre of 9 Willows came a special Oak. At first it looked the pot had 3 Oaks but it worked out that one Oak sprouted with two stems. The beginning of a very special artistic Oak, just imagine in times to come to see these two stems growing into two thick trunks, pushing each other towards a site. I can imagine the arguments; lets go east to the sunrise yes me too oooh not enough space you have to go west, no way you go west, no i stay east, thats not fair why you why not me. The diplomatic trunk pushed the other into the south selling it as the best part to be with so much sunshine while it always  pinched the early sunshine, the vibration after the cold dark night.

Oak with two stems

Oak with two stems

The Willow act as a circle of protection as any grassing animal will go for the Willows leaving the Oak alone. The Willow leaves would feed the Oak some growing hormones by decomposing into the surrounding soil.

Willow

Willow

The weather stayed warm for several days not the best for the young trees and my mind was with them but they had to defend for themselves now, an important part of the Bridge Land Art Forest. Nature gave the needed relieve in the form of some big summer showers.

all you need

all you need

In Aylesbury the word spread about the young Oak trees while we had for several days our popUP Gallery. I made even some contacts with a community art centre the Queens Park Arts Centre. Next year i will give some workshops and have decided that one of the Oaks growing at our home mooring in Nantwich will be a part of the workshop.

planting

planting

While occupied with the Wånderlust cruising art gallery, i found out that one of my old neighbours grew 12 Oaks from acorns, which he will plant in the small forest where i made many pieces of land art. A fine example how the Bridge Land Art Forest can grow. While the political forces i Europe battle about in or out EU and the old nationalistic demands all of us can make a difference in our own small way. As a 100 people plant 12 Oaks each around the world 1200 Oaks will grow beyond the power of man and if we keep this up for 12 years we have planted 14,400 trees in 14.400 different spots making 14.400 unique statements. Think of the aspect if each of them 100 people can inspire an other 4 people to do the same we will have after 12 years planted 57,600 trees and if them 400 people inspire an other 4 people we would have planted after 12 years 230,400 trees planted by 1600 people. Just imagine a bridge of all them trees in a line on the land that would be 57,600 trees taking each 4 metres makes 2300400 metres of trees or 230 kilometres hats from Cardiff to London.

on our way back

on our way back

So you can see with a little effort and little resources you can make a difference that will be recognise for years to come. Each planted tree leaving a sculptural mark on the land.

 

15

A new piece of land art inspired by a year, which is almost behind us.
The prime inspiration for the land art is an odd drifting part of a boat found in Rotterdam.

drifting oddness in Rotterdam

drifting oddness in Rotterdam

A great piece for some drifting land art however, just last year the canals of the UK had a drifting piece, called uprooted trees, so moving away from drifting. The shape stays as a pattern for planting trees.

reflecting thoughts

reflecting thoughts

A place for reflecting on our human being and the strength of trees.
Where ever I cruise with the Wånderlust I see the reflection of trees in the water growing like pieces of art holding on the edge of the land.

The next inspiration comes from a land art poem which is very popular on Flickr photo sharing site.

why

why

It made me think about a piece I made once in response to a video I saw about exponential function 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128 , etc.  How even today we still believe economical growth has no limit and keep on moving towards an ever increasing number. The report from the club of rome did already mention the impossible of continues growth, in the early seventies.

can we count

can we count

In the point of the pattern i plant one tree the next row 2 and than 4 finalising it with a row of 8 trees.

Further inspiration came from the street trees, how they are planted in the jungle of concrete and bricks. Around a street tree you will find a bit of earth, a place to shit for the city dogs. In 2013 Stamper died at the age of 16, my dear old doggie.

street trees in Dordrecht

street trees in Dordrecht

Dordrecht the place i was born the place where my papa died this year, looking over a chestnut tree, which stands at the edge of the river.
Not a square at the foot of the tree, too many corners for my liking. A circle with rocks around each single tree, filled with sticks as a mulch.

a vision between the stones of time

a vision between the stones of time

How dead trees help the living trees, going back into the earth, to feed the living. A vision of drifting sticks came into my mind. The sticks and pieces of wood we find in the canals drifting along the boats, the sticks we find, hiding behind the lock doors.

from the old comes the new

from the old comes the new

Willows, lots of Willows showing the art of trees showing the inspiration of drifting.

willow reflectionThe unexpected appearance in the spring, a living source of nectar for bees.

black hoodie

black hoodie

8 Willows it will be.
In between not so sure yet, Oaks or even Ash.
Every tree gets her own poem, some written in the past, some written now, some will be written. 15 written poems, land art poems, the written landscape take your time to read while you grow.

a poem once written this year recovered in the stream

a poem once written this year recovered in the stream

golvende momenten
van vrede
vallende draden
van het evenwicht
vloeiend naar de
leegte

Perhaps i will find it again, maybe not.

de river streams past

de river streams past

The location is clear somewhere on the edge of water, perhaps a peninsula, even better an island.
The shape made with iron hidden by driftwood. Iron collected from scrapped metal boats. You can visit the island by boat, only.

a drop in the ocean

a drop in the ocean

15 drops hidden in the ocean, drifting to be seen.

And

That is how a proposal was born.

FLOAT

FLOAT

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.

floating apple

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.

float bridge

twisted willow knotted together

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.

float knot closeup

closeup from the knot

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.

FLOAT

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

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.

Tree Art or the Tree as an Artist

Tree Art; the art of creating a tree, or art made with a tree, or the art made by a tree.

the artist the Beach tree

the artist the Beach tree

From a distance it looks just like any other tree you just past, however on the moment, you stand still and look, something more looks around the corner than just a tree.
The instant becomes a growing gallery of artistic work with more than just one aspect. One tree, once planted by somebody in the woods, started to grow and alter her own appearance, her own beauty.
The viewer looks and says out loud now; “How did she do that” this is certainly seen as a sign of good art, by many people in the art world.
It isn’t art to make something of which everybody says; how clever, it is an art to make something you don’t understand. (Het is geen kunst om iets te maken waarvan iedereen zegt wat knap het is eenkunst om iets te maken waarvan jezelf niets snapt. Herman van Veen)

How did she do that?

How did she do that?

Have a good look at the above photo and see how the tree grew an ‘armrest’  two big branches connected by one small branch which grows into both of them.  Why and how it happened the artist does not tell us, no little white label next to the sculpture, not even a title to give a hint of what we, as viewer, should expect from the art work.

An other aspect

An other aspect

As with all sculptures you can walk around the sculpture to see a totally different aspect. The artist has given a new meaning to 3D, every part of the sculpture tells a different story. Why did she alter her allure this way, who was she trying to seduce with her beauty?

A tripple kiss.

A tripple kiss.

Perhaps she wants to bewitch the Daffodil to grow underneath her with her narcissistic behaviour.
According to the art critic it improves the foundation of the sculpture so it can get easier support from potential designers. A very professional point of view, but how many planners will be draw in by these fascinated quality of senses.
A woman tells the reporter, she doesn’t really understand the art but this is sure a sculpture with grace.

Why this tree did grow this way will never be revealed, but no artist can create such an abstract piece of work full of sensitivity, no matter how hard we try.

willow hoop first year

willow hoop first year

Creating art with trees, making living sculptures is not new, willow and other fast growing trees are great collaborators.

Willow Hoop years later.

Willow Hoop years later.

The art created by the tree her self can’t be matched by human hands, we just try to copy.

Shadow theatre

Shadow theatre

The aesthetic value of the work of the tree has no number, no words attached, no explanation in the form of an artists statement. The work shows the creation of chaos to exhibit elegance which humans only see in fairytales. Chaos making structure without categorising elements.

Some Moments don't need a Frame.

Some Moments don’t need a Frame.

I don’t think that many people will see the tree as an artist without connecting it to a fairytale. Yet, I saw an artist and i have no idea how she did it.

dipper into the flow of tree art

dipper into the flow of tree art

Art made with trees, art made by trees

The BRIDGE, land-art forest

Last night I got the idea:
The BRIDGE, a new land art project which involves the planting of trees creating a thousand little and big land art forests all over the world. An ambitious project that can happen with the help of many people becoming land artists in their own environments.

an old oak tree as a piece of art, where culture and nature come together for the future

an old oak tree as a piece of art, where culture and nature come together for the future

It all started when i went to Rhôd where artists talked about future, nature, culture. A question which has been on my mind for a very long time is: ‘How can culture become nature for the future?’. The land art project Vagdavercustis gave me an answer: work with trees. This project taught me many lessons and i want to share them so there will be many land art forests all over the world.
The idea is not art in the forest, but the forest, the trees, being the art. You can plant the trees in certain patterns on the bare land, creating art with nature for the future.

planting trees in a pattern, every white rock becoming a tree

planting trees in a pattern, every white rock becoming a tree

A good idea, yet there are many perhaps and maybes. Here comes my knowledge and the learnings from Vagdavercustis useful. As with everything it will cost ‘money’ yet it will pay itself back in a very different way.

When Joseph Beuys created the 7,000 OAKS art project he made everybody an artist and the piece went further than just seven thousand Oaks. Whilst throwing 7000 basalt steles in front of the main location of the 1982 “documenta” in Kassel he took an entire city with all politicians and citizens as hostage; this ugly pile of grey stone was such a thread that the first thousand oaks were sold in no time. Beuys had the power and will to force society – or culture, so to say – into doing something valuable for the environment. A great idea and you can find all these oaks, each one together with its rock, al over the city.

However i am not Joseph Beuys and will have to work dam hard to get this kind of power he had at the end of his life. So i almost gave up, a well a good idea.

Hindmarsh Island Bridge

Hindmarsh Island Bridge

The above photo is the Hindmarsh Island Bridge and you can read the story about a very controverse building on wikipedia.
So last night i lay in bed to watch the Moon travel by, thinking about how to help and how all them good people with all them very good ideas never get a chance, people are so unfair to the people of the land. My mind went to the time i visited the people of Camp Coorong , the Ngarrindjeri people, the disaster about the building of the bridge and how they solved it in the end by buying a boat to get to their sacred land on Hindmarsh Island.The Ngarrindjeri people didn’t gave up, didn’t have much funding, but continue to care for their beautiful land.

the Coorong with a watchful dog looking at the far away Pelican.

The Coorong with a watchful dog looking at the far away Pelican.

How many people do feel just like me, being frustrated and angry and have given up stopping bridges to be build to develop more and more land for human usage.
So my mind went to “mindfullness thinking” in the now –  the future nor the past – but now. How can i plant trees now?
I thought about  somebody who just grew trees in the backyard and every spring he went with trees on the back of the bicycle to plant them in neglected areas or cleared areas in forests. We all could do so: direct action, for nature, creating art. We can plant them in patterns, we all can link together like a bridge creating a world wide bridge from culture to culture, a bridge from culture to nature. All these pieces of land art, tree art, forest art would have their own stories of their environment and their creator.
Nobody needs to be an expert; me and others could give advice how to plant the trees, when to plant them and how to choose a good spot. A website could be created with photos of all them pieces of art, all those bridges.
The website would show how to grow trees from seed or from cuttings even in a backyard or where to buy bare root trees. And how to look after them the first 2 years when they are adjusting to the environment.

A bridge as a connection at Trefin Beach

A bridge as a connection at Trefin Beach

Yesterday i made this bridge on the beach and when i walked back i came across an area perfect for some BRIDGE planting. I have 2 self seeded little baby trees in the garden who are not in the best spot; I will take them out in autumn put them in pots and plant them  again in the spring. A small stone bridge will come between them, like the above one, that made my heart smile and it made me sleep like a Rose.
So was the land art project BRIDGE born.
I might spend some time to create a website and to start the ball rolling – ready for next spring planting.

For the big land art forest, that i have in mind i need more time and i was still not so sure about it. Than the newsletter from Ecotricity, my power supplier, came in with an article about their new project: “Green Britain Foundation”. I will get in touch with them and talk about my ideas to get another ball rolling. I need a good land owner who would like to give a piece of land for the planting of a land art forest and the rest will come with it.
This is just an early step, a seed has been planted, it will take time to grow.

SO WHAT DO YOU THINK?