One of my most favorite artists is Andy Goldsworthy. He creates sculptures and installations out of nature, and in a nature setting. His work is so beautiful and elegant, and his process and philosophy are inspiring to me.
Though our school is lucky to be in a part of the city that has wonderful proximity to parks and water, it has never been possible to do a Goldsworthy project outside. So, several years ago I decided that we would bring “nature” inside (thank you, Michaels Arts & Crafts store). I stocked our classroom with as many types of leaves and vines as I could carry, stones, sea glass, moss, sand, flowers, sticks, petals, wood etc.
I love being able to teach 89 students about Goldsworthy because through the process we have so many wonderful conversations about the benefits and disadvantages of being a nature sculptor. Students discuss how the artist spends so much time and care working on his sculpture and then must leave it and know that eventually it will become part of the earth once again. They bring up the choices he must make and the sacrifices he faces. It’s a great experience for students to become aware of these things in a world of instant gratification. There is a process, and there is a time when Goldsworthy has to let it all go.
Here are some great photos of our work. Please remember – each and every one of these was created right in the 89 Art Room!!
Click on a photo to begin slideshow:
“We often forget that WE ARE NATURE. Nature is not something separate from us. So when we say that we have lost our connection to nature, we’ve lost our connection to ourselves.” -Andy Goldsworthy