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Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

Andy Goldsworthy, leaves, leaf art, land art, environmental art, eco art

Andy Goldsworthy’s Land Art

In the land art movement, no name is bigger than Andy Goldsworthy. The British artist is recognized around the world for the ingenious sculptures and art installations that he creates using elements found in nature. Fallen leaves are among Goldsworthy’s favorite tools, and he often uses the contrast between brightly colored leaves to create dramatic geometric shapes.

Chinese leaf art, mona lisa, leaf art, mona lisa leaf, leaves, eco art,

Traditional Chinese Leaf Carving

Traditional Chinese artists carve incredibly intricate images into leaves from the Chinar tree, which is native to India, Pakistan, and China. The painstaking process involves removing the outer layers of the dried leaf with a knife (which can take months) while carefully keeping the veins intact.

Walter Mason, leaf art, land art, leaves, eco art, organic art

Walter Mason’s Striking Land Art

German artist Walter Mason uses the gifts of nature – berries, water, grass and trees — to produce his temporary art installations, but it’s Mason’s use of leaves that we’re concerned with. Mason uses leaves to create gorgeous geometric patterns and collages that he captures in photographs .

 

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Family Camping with KidsCamping with childrencan bring you back to the simplicity of nature. It increases your awareness of your surroundings and can refresh your appreciation for the many things that so often go unnoticed. Many things are learned and experienced for the first time during each day in the life of a child. Patience is almost unavoidable. It is so important to take the time to enjoy the journey of these new experiences with your child. In nature there are so many amazing things to discover. Camping can be a wonderful adventure. Just think – the birds and animals, the plants and trees, the rocks, the streams and ponds, the insects, the sounds, the weather, the wildflowers, and the many activities that can provide so much excitement. The possibilities are endless! By planning successful, enjoyable camping trips when your children are young, you will set them on the path to a lifetime of outdoor adventures.

**Get the kids interested in the trip by getting them involved. Build their excitement and anticipation.

  • Plan the camping trip together
    • Decide on places to go – consider interests, outdoor experience and children’s ages.
    • Pick activities to do
    • Plan and shop for your meals
    • Prepare and pack the equipment and supplies
  • Try a backyard campout before you go for the first time
    • Teach the kids how to set up a tent
    • Try some outdoor cooking
    • Experience a night outdoors in sleeping bags
    • Show them how to use some camping equipment
    • Plan a few activities
    • Search the sky for constellations
    • Listen to the many night sounds
    • Don’t forget the special nighttime snacks
  • Try to experience outdoor activities with your kids
    • Get them familiar with the outdoors in order to eliminate their fears
    • Teach them about safety and to respect nature
    • Teach outdoor skills and outdoor ethics
    • Camp chores are actually fun for kids. They love collecting firewood, filling water containers, hammering in tent stacks, camp cooking etc.
    • Make the camp chores extra fun – have contests for gathering the most kindling, best camp cooking, most organized gear
    • Take a small day hike in the woods at a local park
    • Visit a nature center
    • Go fishing at a local pond or stream
    • Take an evening walk
    • Go on a picnic
    • Read related books
    • Have a scavenger hunt
    • Go on a flashlight walk

**Take the necessary gear and supplies

  • Extra clothing and shoes – the kids will get wet and extremely dirty
  • Warm clothing – it may get chilly especially in the evening/dress in layers
  • Insect repellent – consider time-release formulas
  • Sunscreen – they’ll be outside all day
  • First aid kit – for those little accidents
  • Rain gear – keep them dry and warm
  • Toys, games, activities – you want to keep them busy
  • Check out Want to Play a Game?
  • Familiar bedtime items – pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, dolls etc
  • Flashlight/glow sticks – to help relieve nighttime fears
  • Snacks – all this activity is going to make them hungry
  • Drinks – avoid dehydration due to heat and activity level

**Create memories

**Plan alternative activities

  • For bad weather
  • To avoid boredom during down times
  • If they dislike a certain planned activity

**Respect campground quiet hours

**Make your travel fun

  • Don’t travel a great distance – stop frequently
  • Make your trips short – maybe two or three nights
  • Take toys and activities to keep them busy
  • Play car games – license plates, sign abc’s, singing etc
  • Take plenty of snacks
  • Build their excitement and anticipation

**A few tips on camping with an infant – Submitted by K. Molina

  • Use jar baby food. It’s easy to pack. Be sure to buy the smaller jars to cut down on leftovers or waste.
  • Buy a brand of baby cereal that has the formula or whole milk already in it…just add a little bottled water.
  • Portion out the cereal in small plastic ziplock bags…just add water.
  • Buy formula ready-to-drink in cans… you don’t have to add water.
  • Buy 2% milk in tetra packs that don’t need to be refrigerated until they’re open
  • Buy toys at the dollar store. They will keep your kids occupied in the car and at the campsite…simply throw them away if they get too dirty to take home.

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12375622091079434292keksschaf_The_Charm_of_Oxford_with_sunset_1.svg.hi

Don’t you think the sun is bright?
I wonder where it goes at night?
Does it sleep or does it hide?
Or is the moon its other side?

Does it hide behind the hills?
Late at night as outside chills?
Do you think it needs to rest?
From all that warming it does best?

Could it even have a home?
Maybe in London or even in Rome?
Or does it just float around?
Moving slowly from town to town?

Yes, I think it must do that!
After all the earth’s not flat.
So the sun goes round and round
Spreading sunshine on the ground!

©2002 Gareth Lancaster

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A lot of work goes into making a good sand sculpture. Sculptors need patience and endurance to create their masterpieces from thousands of tonnes of sand.  They can take up to two months to build and span up to 10 metres in height.

Sculptors use a special kind of sand that is also used on building sites and was most likely used in the foundations of your home. It is called heavy sand and is different to the sand you see on the beach because each grain is square, which means it sticks together better, like building blocks.  The sand on the beach is smoother and rounder so it doesn’t stay together quite as well.  Some beaches are located near the mouths of rivers have better sand for sculpting as it isn’t worn down by the surf.

The most important part of making a sand sculpture is the preparation, or what sculptors call “pound up”.  Pound up involves building wooden walls in a square or rectangle shape.  These walls are called “forms” and are about two feet tall.  After the forms are built they are filled with sand, like a giant sandpit, right to the top.  When the forms are full, sculptors set to work making sure that the sand is pounded down as hard as possible by whacking it, jumping on it and watering it.

Water is REALLY important; the water helps the sand stick together and helps it to set hard as it dries out.  Successive forms are built on top of the first and compacted down so that eventually you have what looks a bit like a wooden pyramid of forms, as high as is required, all filled to the brim with sand that has been pushed down into them.  When pounding up a couple of thousand tonnes of sand, this process can take weeks but care is very important because if the sand isn’t compacted hard enough the sculpture might collapse later.  After the sand has had time to set the sculptors climb up, take off the top form, and begin to carve into the sand block left behind.

When you are on the beach this summer you might not have the time (or equipment!) to make forms but a bucket is the next best thing.  Fill your bucket with sand that is damp, not too wet and not too dry but somewhere in between is best, then push the sand down as hard as you can into the bucket.  Be careful of the strength of your bucket because too much pressure can crack it just as forms sometimes do when too much pressure is exerted on them.  Once you are happy with your pound up, find a good spot on the beach, flip your bucket over and very carefully remove it, leaving the sand behind on the ground.  Now you have the beginnings of your sculpture.  If you want to go the extra step ask your parents if they have an old bucket that they can cut the bottom out of, that way you can start with your bucket upside down and fill the sand in from the top.  This allows you to build up on top of each layer that you pound up with cups and containers like the professionals do with their smaller forms.

Now the fun part – carving.  Carving gives the sculpture all of its detail and character.  You can use almost anything to carve and most of the professional sculptors actually use cooking and dental utensils.  You better ask your parents before you start using their icing scraper at the beach though.  There are loads of tools you can use to help you carve out a work of art from icy-pole sticks to house keys (again you better ask before you try that one) and even water pistols can be used to cut a hole through the middle of your pile.  Try to visualise what you want to carve out before you get started and then go wild!

If you can get one, a water spray bottle is a great idea to have handy while you are carving to keep the sand damp.  Every once in a while, give your sculpture a couple of sprays so it doesn’t dry out. The rest is up to you.  Try using stuff you find on the beach like sea shells and sea weed.

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