land art and richard shilling

Have you heard of Land Art? Have you heard of Richard Shilling? Richard Shilling is an Englishman that is a sculptor, photographer, and film maker that creates his art from nature. This type of art is called Land Art and is defined as-  “making sculptures using only natural materials gathered near to where the sculpture is made. Many of them are ephemeral and will last only a few short minutes before the wind or the tide takes it away…..He uses snow, leaves, wood and stone and anything else that mother nature can provide” (quoted directly from Richard Shilling’s website).

After watching the video, shown below, the little ladies and I were up for the challenge on this very cold, wintry day. Honestly, I thought it might be a little challenging in the winter wonderland right now, but our imaginations were on fire as soon as we ventured outside. We made all of our art purely from the materials provided to us by mother nature in our yard; no glue, no yarn, or clay was used. After our creations were made, we snapped some photos, then left the creations outside for the elements to do with as they pleased.

  chains in the oak

 “Nature Chains Hanging in Oak,” the chain in the background (above photo) is made of thyme and the the one in the foreground is from a shrub in our front yard. To make the chains- cut a fresh stem and simply form a circle then twist one end around the other end of the stem.  If your stems aren’t pliable enough for twisting, cut a slit in one end with a sharp knife, then feed the other end through the slit. The key to this chain is live, green branches and stems.

chain 2

 Here is Fauna’s “Snowboat” made of sycamore bark, a dogbane seedpod, and a scarlet maple leaf.


Araina’s “Pinecone Swordsman” made of a pinecone, acorn cap, and dogbane seedpod.

pinecone swordsman

Now that you have seen our simple Land Art watch this amazing video created by Richard Shilling called- “Leaves and Light- The Land Art of Richard Shilling

For more amazing photos of his Land Art visit his Flickr site, his webpage, and my personal favorite- Land Art for Kids  which is full of very inspirational things to create outside, snap photos of, and then leave outside. Now I challenge you to go outside, no matter the weather, and make your own Land Art.


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  • Laura
    February 3, 2010 - 8:10 pm | Permalink

    We tried this at the nature center and it was a great success. Our folks gathered rocks , and at first we made simple shapes on top of designs I drew with chalk. After getting the hang of it, they created a one eyed creature with moss hair, and fungus ears, etc. all on their own. I forsee alot of land art in our future.

  • January 11, 2010 - 5:29 pm | Permalink

    Oh so so wonderful!!

  • January 10, 2010 - 8:52 am | Permalink

    thank you so much for sharing this! i bookmarked his pages because no time right now, but i cannot wait to check it out.

  • January 8, 2010 - 9:05 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much for sharing this! It really provides some inspiration for these cold winter months. Beautiful work, girls!

  • January 8, 2010 - 1:13 pm | Permalink

    if you like richard schilling, you should check out andy goldsworthy, another english artist using only natural materials…he has a number of books as well.

  • January 8, 2010 - 1:07 pm | Permalink

    I had heard of Richard Schilling but thanks so much for reminding me.

    You three have created just wonderful things. My favourite has to be the little chains. I love doing things like this. I think my friends think I’m a little odd. This is what I love about blogging – finding someone else who likes to create from twigs, shells, cones… It’s such a treat. Thankyou!

  • January 8, 2010 - 2:19 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much for introducing us to Richard Shilling! We are big Goldsworthy fans here too but somehow Shillings work has a vibrance about it that moves me. Love his website for kids and I’m definately ordering his book ‘Land Art for Kids’ today!
    Your Land Art is beautiful!
    My eldest two’s school has closed due to the snow and the school have set a Snow Sculpture competition inspired by Andy Goldsworthy so I think there may be some serious Land Art going on in our garden this week!

  • January 8, 2010 - 1:15 am | Permalink

    Just lovely, Lisa!! Land Art… I think we are going to make some Land Art tomorrow.
    Thanks for the inspiration.
    Blessings and magic.

  • January 7, 2010 - 6:10 pm | Permalink

    we’ve had fun doing land art at the preschool as well…for more inspiration, have you seen JRT Pickles flickr? she’s been working on the project with Shilling…

  • January 7, 2010 - 5:27 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the introduction to Richard Shilling. We have explored Andy Goldsworthy and look forward to investigating a new source for natural art. The girls will love this post :)

  • January 7, 2010 - 3:37 pm | Permalink

    I have never heard of Richard Shilling before, but I am so excited to explore this more. It is about 2 degress right now, so this might not be an activity for today, but cetainly as the weather warms up over the weekend. Fabulous resource

  • January 7, 2010 - 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Ooh, beautiful! Thank you for introducing me to a new artist. I use the art of Andy Goldsworthy often with the children I teach; I think they’d love this stuff, too.

  • January 7, 2010 - 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the inspiration! We have used monterey pine needles for sewing before, I bet they would work GREAT to sew leaves together, and follow the ‘all local materials’ esthetic. I think we’ll try to do this with our art group tomorrow!

  • January 7, 2010 - 11:41 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much for the inspiration to finally get out and do this. I’ve had the LandArt site bookmarked for weeks and…just haven’t gotten ‘out there’ yet. We have snow in Ireland now and I felt like I would have to wait until it melted to give landart a try when I saw your blog entry. No need to wait! Love your site. Thanks again.

  • January 7, 2010 - 11:24 am | Permalink

    I love Richard Shilling. Your families work is great! All of it is lovely. What fun in the snow. I wonder when my babies will be old enough… maybe today?

  • January 7, 2010 - 10:35 am | Permalink

    Pretty!!! I love it!

  • January 7, 2010 - 9:44 am | Permalink

    Awesome! Our land art will involve snow! It started around midnight….The kids are excited. Our youngest (3) has never seen snow so he is thrilled.

    Have a good day! Karen

  • Mandy T.
    January 7, 2010 - 8:32 am | Permalink

    I do love Andy Goldsworthy’s work – Shiller should be fun to check out as well…especially his Land Art for Kids.

  • January 7, 2010 - 7:23 am | Permalink

    Ooh this is interesting! Owen was just reading an article about Andrew Goldsworthy- another land artist so we’ve had this in the back of our minds.

    The girls art is just so creative and beautiful and the concept is too!

    Thanks for the links Lisa- we’ll be sure to check them out :0)

  • January 7, 2010 - 5:38 am | Permalink

    A very fun idea. I am having more difficulty getting the girls outside now that they are getting older. Perhaps we’ll try this–we’ll have to use snowshoes to get out in the woods though!

  • January 7, 2010 - 4:20 am | Permalink

    Beautiful land art!!!
    It’s freezing and snowing here still.
    Maybe I will create a land art today ;)

  • January 7, 2010 - 3:14 am | Permalink

    Beautiful land art you’ve made. That thyme chain :) – And the colored leaf window by Schilling, looking at it just makes me happy :)
    I thought of Andy Goldsworthy too, he’s a fantastic land art artist as well…

  • January 7, 2010 - 2:57 am | Permalink

    Wow Lisa, what you and your kids made is really so beautiful!

  • January 7, 2010 - 2:15 am | Permalink

    his work is beautiful. similar to andy goldsworthy. thanks for sharing the links. loved what you all did as well. so pretty.

  • January 7, 2010 - 2:09 am | Permalink

    This looks like so much fun! We’ll have to wait for warmer weather, though. When Princess started suffering from eczema her body temperature changed and now she runs really cold. She doesn’t like to be outside much in this weather. We will definitely do this in the summer, though!!

  • January 7, 2010 - 12:41 am | Permalink

    There’s an artist who does workshops on creating art with nature at many of our street festivals and I love how he is spreading the word for people to find beauty in the natural world.

    Thanks so much for sharing this artist and those amazing photos! I think my boys may be looking for some acorn caps and pinecones tomorrow to make their own swordsmen!

  • January 7, 2010 - 12:37 am | Permalink

    thank you for sharing your creations and this artist! i had not heard of him, but he reminds me of andy goldsworthy, whom i admire.

  • January 7, 2010 - 12:33 am | Permalink

    Lovely! Thanks for the inspiration. I too immediately thought of Andy Goldsworthy. Its great to know of another artist that works similarly.

  • January 6, 2010 - 11:13 pm | Permalink

    After seeing Andrew Goldsworthy Rivers & Tides last year my little guy loves doing this too. Thanks for sharing the new (to me) artist!

  • January 6, 2010 - 10:51 pm | Permalink

    I love this!
    One of my most favorite creations of Cali’s was in nature.
    I wrote about it here:
    She was so little and I was very proud!
    Thanks for the links!

  • January 6, 2010 - 10:46 pm | Permalink

    Oh, I love this! We are huge fans of Andy Goldsworthy (watch Rivers and Tides if you have not – this is right up your alley) – I can’t wait to know more about Shilling! What a great challenge to set for us…

  • January 6, 2010 - 10:15 pm | Permalink

    That little swordsman is adorable. At the risk of sounding dumb, how do you make the chains. I know I’m supposed to know, but I’m not sure I ever made daisy chains and if I did I certainly don’t remember how.

  • January 6, 2010 - 10:13 pm | Permalink

    Just beautiful!
    I love all of them. Maybe we’ll try our hand tomorrow if we get to the park!

  • January 6, 2010 - 9:51 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful! What a darling little swordsman!

    And, I love the chain–it’s gorgeous. Too bad you didn’t make it prior to the holidays, it would look gorgeous on your tree!

    • January 6, 2010 - 9:54 pm | Permalink

      I know, I thought the same thing! Next year I will definitely creat a natural chain for the Yule tree!

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