Saturday, February 25, 2012


"My work is a form of evolved contemplation. If you live in nature for a time, you have almost mystical experiences. You get into a state of lyrical excitement and become part of the things that are happening around you: the grass quivering, the birds singing. On a sunny day there is an extraordinary feeling of energy, as light dazzles, bees buzz, birds dart, lizards slither. Nature moves through your veins in a spiritual way, and then the work of art flows out like birdsong" - John Wolseley

The Wolseley quote echoes the way I feel about making art. Since it is nearly Autumn I'm preparing to move outdoors to carve again. It is my time to connect with nature and produce my best carvings. I'm feeling the flutterings of anticipation!

The artists I've featured in this post share a similar bond or affinity with nature. Lori Goodman's amazing paper pod pieces caught my eye and when I found her website I also fell in love with her stacked paper installations. She makes her own kozo paper from Japanese mulberry bark to use in her work.

"For many years I have made paper and loved doing so. I enjoy the connection to its history, the knowing that for thousands of years something has been made so simply and yet has such an amazing impact on our world. Yet often I deny the medium, focusing only on the "art", the "message". As I began to make the paper for this exhibit, I became very aware of the process. The meditation and rhythm and the absolute beauty of the paper itself became of primary importance" - Lori Goodman

"Creating from and with nature has long been a way for me to stay connected to myself and my environment." - Liz McAuliffe

To give you an idea of size, Liz McAuliffe stands next to her beautiful carved pieces. To see a wonderful video about Liz and her work, click here.


  1. WOW!! I love this post. Everything is stunning and I agree, nature is the most inspiring thing there is.
    I have seen Liz's pods around on Tumblr, but I thought they were photos of the real thing, I had no idea they were handmade and so large! Beautiful! xoxo

  2. I like the way you choose a theme and give us so many examples Robyn. A friend of mine, who is very into art and also into Africa (she has visited Namibia many times) visits your site regularly. She is not a blogger but often comes and tells me how excited she has been by what she has read on your site. Thought you would like to know.

  3. what a lovely way to start the day here for me in cold chicago - usa. i'm really enamored of the Liz McAuliffe pieces and the video just put me a rest - silence - such a beautifully expressed vision. thank you so much for the post. I will go back i'm sure to watch the film over and over. cheers

  4. John Wolseley is the most inspiring artist and such a gentle soul. I have had the pleasure of hearing him talk about his work and the way he releases the paper to the wind... his joyful enthusiasm is infectious as is his deep respect for our beautiful planet-
    Here's the link to a recent interview -
    love this quote-
    'I suppose we all sometimes wonder whether there has been a common thread in the way we make our work. In my case I know it’s been about trying to describe ways of relating to land. The thread which joins it altogether in my case perhaps has been about ‘threading my way’ across the landscape in as subtle and gentle a way as I can.'

  5. Mr Wolseley eloquently stated how I feel about nature. It is a spiritual connected feeling.

    Wow Liz's carvings are amazing. I love those (money plant?)seed pods. So BIG!!! Wonderful.

    I bet you can't wait to get back outside with the monkeys, birds and other creatures.

  6. The green pods ball reminds me of an assemblage I recently saw at Anthropologie, made from coffee filters. I would love to try making kozo paper -- until now, I've only purchased it.

  7. Wonderful post, Robyn, I loved watching the Liz McAuliffe video, great!

  8. Thank you, thank you, thank you...I'm a pod fanatic. Love your theme and thank you for posting their links.

  9. thanks for the introduction to both women's work. Amazing!

  10. That's such a great quote to open the post with. The first shot reminds me of a map that got blown off a mountain and spent a Winter having adventures in a field!!

  11. The pants that Liz wears caught my eye. The only way to go!

  12. lovely works from all - john is a total revelation for anyone who gets the opportunity to meet him - which I did a couple of years ago after he addressed my uni's winter symposium afterwards we all had a yummy dinner together..... he is simultaneously humble and hilarious - his work is an extension of his being. fantastic

  13. it's always a delight to swing in here
    interesting themes, fascinating paths to follow off into the virtual forest
    and inevitably something to learn - thanks Robyn

  14. Annie, watch the video about Liz and her work. It really is wonderful. She paints her pieces with many layers until she gets the most natural colouring. The pod on Tumblr is so real except for the size.... which of course you don't realize by looking at the photo.

    Weaver, you are my British public relations officer :-)
    It is always nice to know that people find my blog exciting. Thanks for sharing my blog with your friends.

    Henrietta, I've watched the video several times. It is indeed soothing. I love Liz's lifestyle.

    Mo, thanks so much for the link and the quote. Wonderful Wolseley gleanings! I enjoyed the video too. Interesting "frotting" technique. What one doesn't realize by looking at the photos is how big some of his pieces are.

  15. Lisa at Greenbow, I could never quite express the way I felt about carving/creating art outside in the garden but John has hit the nail on the head.

    Teri, paper making is something I would like to try again too.... and particularly Kozo paper. If I could transport myself overseas in a flash, I know where to find the best teacher too.

    Valerianna, I thought you would enjoy this post!

    Georgina, I'm so pleased you enjoyed the post! We have a sausage tree just up the road with foot long pods (3 to 4 inches wide)which you would love.

    Jo Reimer, enjoy!

    Annie K, exactly! John lets his papers fly all over the place, experiencing the elements ... and he sometimes buries them.

    Leslie, yup... definitely the way to go!

    Ronnie, I gauged from John's website and the link Mo provided (above)that he must be entertaining ... someone to have at one's dinner parties.... or even better, to spend art time with him.

    India, I'm sure you were the first person to introduce me to John Wolseley's work.

  16. Wonderful collection of art and artists. Every photo made me say WOW. Now I'm off to do further exploring of these artists. Thank you, Robyn!!

  17. Robyn,

    I tired to watch Liz's video, but when I click on your link nothing happens, I wnet to her website and I could not find it there either.
    What am I doing wrong? xoxo

  18. Hi Annie, I have just tested the link and it works for me. Try again and see what happens. Here is the link.

  19. Hi Kim, there's a lot to see and read on the links. Enjoy!

  20. wow! fantastic works here!
    so glad i accidentally discovered your blog and art <3

  21. Amazing work! The works all seem to say...stop, look, touch!!! Thanks Robyn and enjoy your own creative process!!!

  22. Love our inky, textural piece at the top and very inspirational photographs.

  23. that John Wolseley has a wonderful way with thought.
    Couldn't get video, but love the perspective. I also saw these go on Tmblr and thought them real.

    Glad ur moving out into the cooler air. Spring is opening fast here--already giving flowers. Why does it still surprise so!

  24. When I had seen the lotus pods somewhere (?), I thought they were real. The other wood pod I knew was created by an artist, and I loved it (from a "money plant"?). Liz's video . . can't begin to tell you here how it moved me . . thank you.

    (and the video takes quite a while to load and doesn't show you it's loading, as I thought it was removed from the site, but all of a sudden it appeared! Glad I was patient!)

  25. Repetition is always soothing; the works here provide calm. Thanks, Beautiful! Love, Deej

  26. Hi Robyn,

    I love those giant lotus pods. What an incredible shape those pods are!

    I very much enjoyed your previous post about goats (and everything else) on bicycles. In Bangkok, I saw similar kinds of loads on tiny motorbikes. How they maintain their balance is a wonder to me. I barely stay upright on a bicycle with just myself!

  27. deep connections are huge.beeLo itisni

  28. i am always in awe of the visual library you draw from... you take a theme and present not just inspiring art, but jaw dropping, the kind-you-must-learn-more-about work... and you graciously provide the links to do just that... thank you -

  29. Art flowing like birdsong... I like the sound of that. And the idea of contemplation and the visuals of nature combined to create poetry with the artists you have featured here...wonderful.

  30. Liz's work is amazing and I like the idea of frotting. Interesting post.

  31. Oh what delights you've pinned ...I mean posted!
    The last image Robyn... what a wonderful pod form that love that the artist is holding it out like that... as if she just came across it on her walk!
    Autumn is getting close... wonderful days of working to you!

  32. these are wonderful Robyn...I especially love the first two works with charred grass. Enjoy your time connecting with nature and your inner muse.

  33. Enjoy your time thinking about Autumn and cooler times...being in nature and drawing from its strength and inspiration. I love that first piece of John's - divine!

  34. R- what can one say except that multiples make a statement. Thanks. B

  35. "flutterings of anticipation"
    How fabulous is that line!
    Looking forward to seeing new work from your flutterings!

    I love those pods too!

  36. I find nature mesmerizing much of the time, love the larger than life pods.

  37. Thanks Kim B

    Patti, it's still far too hot to work but it's great to prepare.

    Gwen, glad you enjoyed the post.

    Mansuetude, it's been a sizzling 2 weeks here with no rain to break it but yesterday there was a nip in the air early in the morning. Hope it's a sign.

    Jann, it was well worth the wait to see the video. I also thought the pods were real before I realized how big they were.

    DJ, glad you felt the calm xxx

    Karine, I would land flat on my face with any kind of load on my bicycle, but I suppose it takes practice.

    Velma ... indeed.

    Mairedodd, there are so many wonderful artists out there. How can we not be inspired and it's an absolute pleasure sharing the links.

    Donna, glad you enjoyed the "poetry".

    Sarala, frotting is a new word for me... I also enjoyed the process.

    Sophie, Autumn can't get here quick enough. It's been impossible in the heat! I suppose you are experiencing the same.

    Laura, another hot day is dawning .... but I do detect a nip in the air.

    Fiona, you must have seen John's work close up. He sounds like quite a character.

    Barry, I even have a multiples board on Pinterest :-)

    Babs, still just flutterings but I'll get there :-)

    Linda, the pods are amazing aren't they?!

  38. Hi Just catching up with your blog, it is like picking up a favourite old book, I love leafing through! Wonderful as ever!

  39. Robyn - this post is such a balm
    to my soul, spirit and hands
    a light shining
    around the shadows...
    this is how I feel
    about the natural world
    those pods sing a sweet song
    hollows cupping emptiness
    the charred grass drawing
    speaks deeply to me esp. now craving the scent
    of grass and soil...

    a quiet blanket of snow
    covers my world today
    but the buds of spring are stirring below...

    thank you also
    for your visit
    leaving me a trail to here
    where hope
    and the dance
    of nature and creation rejoice,

    xox - eb.

  40. I have this unreasonable urge to go out looking for pods today.Unfortunately I am currently in the mountains with my family and snow covers everything. Drat!!!

    Beautiful discoveries here, Robyn.

    I am thinking you should start a live art tour company and take us all to visit all of these featured geniuses in person. How heavenly.

  41. OH WOW!!! I love those pods! Especially the one that looks like my native Kowhai. Wow.

  42. ~good morning my friend an dthank you so for stumbling over for a visit and your sweet words left...

    this post is a feast for ones eyes...i am always intrigued by the minds of others...where they are led...moved by natures gifts to create the uniquely beautiful pieces...the Lotus Slices...gorgeous...they look like metal...

    as the autumn winds begin to gently blow in may the sweep you up adn fill your mind with much inspiration and moments to carve...

    be well and much love light and blessings~