Landscape Projects > Earthworks (3D Design)

Earthworks Project: Ephemeral, environmental, & installation artworks

Project Overview
In this project, you will be working outside to create an Andy Goldsworthy inspired earthwork sculpture. Using found materials, you will create a site-specific installation that works with, and stands out from, its environment. You can create your installation in your yard, a local park, or in the wooded area behind the art building. As you look at Goldsworthy’s work, notice his use of simple geometric structures like lines, shapes, and simple forms like obelisks, mounds, and walls.

Step 1: Materials & Setting

Selection of Materials
-- It's important to note that the careful selection of materials is the first step towards making a successful work in this vein.
-- Goldsworthy selects leaves, sticks, and rocks with the utmost consideration for size, color and other qualities.

Respond to Materials
-- What can these materials do?
-- What are the qualities of the materials?
-- How can you exaggerate these qualities?
-- Do the materials lend them selves to building, or laying flat?
-- What kind of forms and shapes will highlight the stand-out features of the materials?

Consider the Setting
-- Where can you put these materials that provides a good contrast?
-- Look for places that are an opposite color, texture, or structure.
-- Transpose your materials to a new, unexpected place.
-- Use gravity or simple connection methods to place your materials.
-- Don’t bring too many other things into this step. A bit of tape or string is fine, but see if you can do it with just natural components, like Goldsworthy.

Environmental Impact
-- Be conscientious about picking your materials.
-- Use things that are on the ground already.
-- If you do pick live things, spread out the picking and don’t strip whole plants.

Step 2: Create Your Sculpture
This project should take you multiple days to create. Carefully consider the ephemeral qualities of the sculpture and anticipate how the sculpture will change over time. You may add onto your sculpture over time OR create a series of small sculptures that fall within a similar theme (review the various series of earthworks Andy Goldsworthy created). Suggestions:
-- Earthwork that takes multiple days to create: large rock tower, stacked sticks, etc
-- Earthwork series: sticks propped in trees, colored arrangements of leaves, cracks within rocks, lines of leaves, etc.

Step 3: Documentation
-- Document your earthwork in a series of photographs and/or videos-- and select your best 10 images for this project.
-- The work you are making is ephemeral. The only thing anyone else might see or experience is the documentation.
-- Look at Goldsworthy’s photographs. How are they framed? They don’t show any extraneous information. They show just the sculpture and a bit of the surrounding area. There is nothing to distract.
The photographs further enhance the contrasts and textures and colors of the work.
-- Do look for existing features and structures to work with and exploit, like roots, branches, gullies or other spaces and features that will add to your work.
-- Do not rely on pictures and images to drive the focus of your artwork. In other words, don’t draw pictures with your leaves and stay away from symbols and other recognizable imagery.
-- Do allow yourself enough time to create the work. Look at how Goldsworthy transforms the materials, generally one sees the form and color before seeing the leaf! This takes time.
-- Do not forget about emphasis and contrast. Emphasize a property of your found material and contrast it with the surrounding.

What to submit to Canvas
-- Photo Documentation: Submit 10 photos of your earthwork (this can include videos). Submit these as individual files.
-- Artist/Project Statement: Write a 2 paragraph reflection about the process, concept, and final outcome. Include 3 artists / artworks that inspired your creation. Use active art terminology (10 unique art terms).
-- Creative Writing: Write a poem, short story, etc inspired by your sculpture.

Inspiration: Watch the "River & Tides" Video
The first thing you can do is watch “Rivers and Tides” on Amazon Prime Video.