Thursday, April 10, 2008

Winter's Grand Finale

The Calendar said April, but the thermometer said winter. I knew this was to be the last really cold night so I pulled out all the icicles still in storage and worked all night. The day before, I had visited a tiny pond in the forest and knew I wanted to create a piece that would hopefully catch the brilliant morning sun before the day heated up too much and everything melted. I managed to complete the sphere just as the first rays of sun kissed the tops of the pines. But it took awhile to reach down into the tiny glen that held the pond. The minutes flowed by and slowly the earth turned. The sun spilled onto the far bank and the reflecting back-light began to illuminate the icicles. I was breathless with anticipation.
After awhile I realized that the sun was never going to hit the sphere in this position as a large hemlock was blocking the rays, so very carefully I moved it and tried balancing it in the stronger current as it flowed over the huge log that created the pond. Tense moments as I released the sphere but the pressure of the cascade actually held it in place rather than washing it over the lip to the second pool below.
Then the sun came round from behind the tree and the sphere began to really glow and sing in the light !

It was very satisfying to see the orb filled with light. I lingered here a long time watching the play of colours twinkling on the snow and in the ice. These photos do not do justice to the moment... there were all the colours of the rainbow in those icicles.
But then, I felt an urge to take the sphere a little further up the stream, to another falls area. I did not know if I could get there or not as the snow was warming up and was it very deep in places. But the deep cold from the night before kept most of the snow firm enough to traverse and it held me most of the way. My trusty waders kept me dry even when I fell in well past mid thigh.
The upper falls were incredibly enchanting. It was as if the bubbling brook had frozen in mid bubble. Everything was glittering with all the spectrum sparkles... true Faerie dust was everywhere !

I found a place at the top of the falls area that looked to be perfect...but I would have to go right up the gentle cascade over the slippery/icy rocks with sphere in hand ! The banks were too steep to be of use, so it was up the falls I went ! I held my breath and said my mantra for safe passage thru adversity and began the ascent. I think the Faeries and Elementals really wanted this sculpture up there because I have no idea how I actually made it...twice ! Once with the sphere then back down and up again with the camera on the tripod. But it was so worth it.

All the bubbles in this image are ice. And what does not show are are the sparkles of red, gold and green that twinkled and danced off every surface caught in the sunlight... But the sphere looked so at home here... and it felt as if the winter spirits of the place approved of the gift.

I left it there. Bathed in the glorious light. Twinkling with all the colours of the sun and sky. Light and water... what is it about light and water that captures our imagination so?

As I sat reflecting on all the winter's work with ice and cold, I felt so incredibly grateful to be here. To be able to do this work, to give a gift of joy back to the earth which gives us life itself. Tears welled up out of some deep place... the forest and I seemed to feel grateful together for this exchange... this breathing in and out, giving and receiving as one spirit, one expression of blissful peace.

More than anything I want to do this work. I find myself dreaming of other locations, some far away in ancient and historic landscapes.... England, Scotland and New Zealand. I want to return to these places and work with the land and create pieces that sing to the landscape and to those who view the images. I want to try and touch the magic that is flowing thru the land and thru each moment and thru us as well. It is a sacred calling and one I am happy to answer.

Now that the winter is done, it is time for me to finish my second book and get that out into the hands of my supporters. It is nearly done and I will post here when it is available. I am also happy to announce that my work will be appearing in the next issue of Adirondack Life magazine. And, Pomegranate Press will soon be producing some cards with Faerie House images. These are all important steps to getting the work out into the hands of people who resonate with nature and the creative spirit. And it helps me continue as well. Thank you everyone who has come to read these entries. I am going to take a short break to work on the book and get it finished... and also my new website which will have galleries of images from past years work. I'll be back here posting soon, but I need to get these other projects launched and this is the best time of year to do it....before the green of spring begins to paint the trees and I get called out into the forest again.

Thank you for visiting this blog and do come back... I'm sure there will be all sorts of surprising creations to share very soon !



Laume said...

I have to wander off and get to some chores, but all the ice images are breathtaking! I totally understand the feeling of thankfulness brimming up and overflowing in tears.

My hubby broke off a bunch of long icicles this winter because he had to walk on the path beneath them every day to the dog kennel and they were in the way. But instead of breaking them, he stuck them in a starburst design in the snow atop the compost pile. They looked so beautiful and every day I told myself I'd get out there and take a photo, every day I forgot, until one day the sun came out and.... they were gone.

Sally J Smith, Environmental Artist said...

Thank you Lauma for your kind remarks... yes, ice and sun do work beautifully together, but only for a limited time !

Andy Goldsworthy said it best when he said something like : "The very thing that brings the sculpture alive will also bring about it's death. "

This is particularly true of ice.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love these photographs and words my kindred soul...nature often makes me sink to my knees in overwhelmed-by-beauty tears. I weave baskets and rings and things from ivy and carve miniature acorn bowls and hide them out there for nature and others, or brings a great connection to share with nature like this, for no reason other than your own joy. I love those moments, thank you for sharing yours with us. Flora xxx

Welcome to the enchanted world of Environmental art and Faerie Houses sculptures created by Sally J Smith. Here you will find photos of the artist's unique art-forms and hear some of the stories from behind the scenes as she shares with you her creative process.