Happy Wonder Wednesday 110!
September marks the birthday of this blog. And today, we mark 110 months of blogging and Wonder Wednesday activities for Wings, Worms, and Wonder. I haven't missed a month in 9 years since I started. If nothing else, I'm consistent & try to always have fun with it! (ie: see today's "office")
Each Wonder Wednesday project is inspired by something I see or discover around me in the actual month. I don't plan out these projects (or any blog post really) way in advance. Whether through nature, culture, or both, I let the posts and activities reveal themselves to me around the month I write them. I figure that is the best way to keep it fresh and authentic.
I hope you feel that energy and are inspired and motivated to bring more creative nature connection into your everyday - however that looks for you, your families and/or students, and in your particular neck of the woods.
Rebeccas Louise Law: The Journey
This month I went to my first museum exhibition since the pandemic started. Being vaccinated. masked, and going on a mid-week morning, I felt that it was a safe excursion to embark back into "normal" life.
The exhibition was "The Journey" by English artist Rebecca Louise Law.
The museum describes the site specific installation as "using 1,200,000 dried and fresh plant materials to form an immersive experience exploring the relationship between humans and nature."
Law elaborates, "The motion of walking through nature and witnessing its many forms from life to death. The rhythmic cycle that we are all participants of, fascinates me. This installation will be a short journey through nature, with it's many forms and scents, stimulating the senses..."
The installation is designed to be "a physical and participatory experience... [and] this work explores the complexity of human connection to nature..."
"Part of her ethos is that there is beauty and value in flora beyond the fresh."
In her installations, Law uses a combination of fresh, pressed, and dried flowers, along with bundles of dried up flowers used in her previous installations and "spent" dried up old browned flowers, leaves, and seed pods.
The installation I saw is no exception, as it was created with the help of local volunteers contributing 1,200 hours to the preservation of the flora, new and used, and sewing of the copper wire garlands.
Perfect autumn nature inspiration
The idea and reminder that flora in the stages of death can be beautiful is so wonderful. With the autumnal equinox last week, the seasonal cycle is on the wind, in the colors of the sunlight and the ocean water, in the fading of the gloriosa lily and blooming of the goldenrod, and perhaps most clear in the humidity drop.
We remember to experience this beauty each fall as the leaves change, but we often don't apply that eye for beauty to flowers as we deadhead a bush or shift over a garden's plantings seasonally.
But beauty is everywhere in every stage of life, regardless of what media tells us and sells us. If we just take the time to see it, the beauty of growing life and waning life awaits, just as in the seasons of spring and fall.
While it isn't the easiest installation to photograph, and you actually aren't allowed to use cameras while in it*, the curtains of flowers in various stages of life fade from very pale to brightly colored in the center and back to pale at the end.
The shadows cast by the forms onto the wood floor offer their own contribution to the experience, both sensorially and visually.
The photos don't begin to do the installation justice. This is art to be actively felt rather than viewed passively. The experience when you are between the double thick flora curtains is pretty spectacular.
We spent probably 30 minutes inside and outside the curtains.
Your mind and senses shift from: the quietness of being in between the garlands, to trying to name all the different varieties of flora, to noticing the flora as one swath of color fade, to the twinkles of the bright copper wire flashing between the matte flora, to the smells, to the subtle dance of the shadows on the floor.
(*You can take photos from outside the door of the gallery room & I had snapped a couple before the guard told me the rule. I wasn't being defiant with the few photos I got before I knew. The artist wants people to be present in the experience and that is why no photos are allowed within the gallery room.)
Wonder Wednesday 110:
Flowing Fall Flora!
Let's take that inspiration from Rebecca Louise Law and make our own fall flora garlands and curtains!
Use the nature growing and waning in your neck of the woods!
This project is suited for ages 9+ to create & for all ages to enjoy
- Flora in all stages of fresh, fried, and end of life. If access to wild flora is scarce for you, chat with a florist and they will very often give you their spent flowers, especially if you buy some too.
- String or thin Wire. Both work, both have pros and cons. String is easier to cut and cheaper, wire is easier to wind around the stems and doesn't require knowing how to tie.
- Scissors and garden snips if you are wild harvesting
- Clothes pins and a line or hooks to hang your garlands
- Take a walk in a garden or on a trail where it is allowed and appropriate to harvest flora n various stages of life.
- Cut lengths of string or wire. I used 4 foot long lengths of embroidery floss. (Baker's twine or yarn would work too.)
- Sort your flora into varieties
- Tie a slip knot with a loop in the top in a length of string. If using wire, create a loop at the top of the wire and wind the tail around the base of the loop.
- Then tie or wind a flower or leaf under the loop.
- Continue adding flora to the garland all the way down.
- Consider sizes and colors as you create each garland. Will it be random, will it be a color fade, will it be a pattern of some sort, will it be texture dependent, will it be a mix of all of the above? It's up to you!
- How dense or sparse your make each strand simply depends on your aesthetic, the amount of flora you have, the size of the flora you have...
- Once you've completed all your garlands, hang them up like a curtain and watch them billow in the breeze welcoming fall in a fluid and flowing way that honors birth, life, and death.
(I just added the cloth behind so you could see the final look better with out the distraction of the plants behind it.)
- Do this as a group, class, or community project where everyone makes a garland of their own, using the same type and length string or wire for continuity. (*In a pandemic safe group setting or as individuals and bring them to a designated spot.) Then, hang the group made garlands together as a collaborative curtain in a community space for all to enjoy!
- Use the collection portion of the project as a nature journaling and plant ID exercise. Before turning the flora into garlands, draw and ID each piece, like a botanical catalogue of the sensorial experiences of collecting, creating, and experiencing the final expression.
- The exhibition I saw is up for 6 months. I saw it after 1 month of being up. I'm interested in visiting it again in a few months and then again at the end to see how the colors and feel evolve. Try this long term experiential approach with your garland, if you have an appropriate location to hang it. Nature journal about your observations regarding how the garlands change over time.
What fall flora is most abundant in your neck of the woods?
Share in the comments below!
Share photos of your garlands on Instagram #wingswormsandwonder
Seeds to Sprout:
I love making garlands! We're at the brink of citrus season, so to celebrate, try your hand at this Citrus Garland project!
Make Fall Leaf Journal
Check out this fun project (with a template) to make your own leaf shaped journal! Use it to nature journal about fall leaves, or just to make to-do lists this fall!
Which is right for you?
Ever wondered which Wings, Worms, and Wonder Book and or Deck is the right one/s for you? Wonder no more! Check out this video I made explaining each!