Shroppie

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shroppie magic

The Wanderlust wandering down, perhaps up, or maybe over, better into a magic place called Shropshire Union Canal.
Our most favourite spot on the canals is the cut, a real cut out of rocks to prevent the need of many locks, Woodseaves Cut
Created as a vein for the industry ended as haven for wilderness.

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a green wall

It is still, it is green, it is wild yet human hands made it with spades and pickaxe. It was the last project made by the engineer Thomas Telford he never saw it finished as his ambition was high it took more time to repair and repair again what failed and failed again.
Yet, here it is full of life full of beauty. He knew you could do it and so he did.

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tall

The bridges here are TALL, higher than trees no problem here for the bird on the chimney. The canal here narrows to an almost single lane canal, yet two boats can just pass if no rocks stick out.

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ssssssstttt

Trees are growing almost vertical any crack hides its own little forest of ferns, moss and my favourite liverworts. The liverworts are old very old plants living while adapting, in my opinion the strongest plant on earth.

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Liverwort with a small fern covering cliffs

While passing you feel the jungle surrounding you with different sounds, different smells giving you the feeling you just entered an other world.
You can almost see the animals swing on the strings of Ivy.

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vertical garden 

Somebody said a picture never does it justice, no matter how i pick my brain, words certainly don’t describe it.

When you are ever on the canals in the UK make sure you don’t miss this piece of magic.

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good bye

A very special way to say good bye to our life on the canals as we wander on, over land towards new water to be explored by us but not with the Wanderlust.

Watch this space for more and even more updates.

 

 

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Wandering spirals

We are retracing our boat-steps from last year but not just so, we will leave behind a trail of spirals. All them lovely spots from last year, which left a deep impression we will visit again, not alone but with a group of other floating artist on their narrowboats. As a group we have several exhibitions on the land and on our boats, see video to get a first impression.

back to where we came from

back to where we came from

Right from the beginning of Land Art spirals were important, perhaps because we see so many wonderful spirals in nature and not just in plants also in animals like the tail of the Seahorse. So the idea to make spirals on our route as a community Land Art project was born. Each lovely place will get a spiral made in that landscape with what we can find in that landscape. As a part of the spiral a poem will be written, by them who make the spiral.

spiral tail

spiral tail

First the Wanderlust went back home, close to her home, where she was build. Last year we past it and planted an Oak nearby along the Trend and Mersey Canal, now we call it home, boat and crew. The Mercia Marina became our place to be in February. We can popUP our gallery here and sell our art while making it. The marina was very keen to hear about Spiral Journey and offered a place to make the Spiral.

spiral spotting

spiral spotting

The first spiral of a group of spirals along the canals on our tour this year. We made the Spiral with Willow cuttings pushing them in the ground and weave them together. Willow is such a great art material and there was plenty of it around growing and flowing. You can make great living sculptures with Willow as they grow the tree themselves makes a sculpture started by human hands.

growing sculptures

growing sculptures

So Spiral Journey started right near the home of Wanderlust. Boaters made this first spiral leaving something behind for the passing boats to wonder about and wander through. The spiral is big enough for people and their dogs to walk the spiral to the centre, where an other Oak was planted from the Shropshire Union Canal acorns seeded last year.

Spiral weaving

Spiral weaving

Willow Spiral could be made real big into a Land Art Forest, planting trees in the shape of a spiral people walking to the centre, all we need would be a piece of land large enough to accommodate a forest. Spiral journey will be preliminary to the Land Art Forest planted in the shape of a spiral. As from this moment anything sold from the Wanderlust 20% will go into the Land Art Forest and we will start to fundraise money on Crowd Funding Sites.

concentration

concentration

All the Spirals of Spiral Journey will come together in a book with the poems and photos of the Spirals, the selling of this book will go 100% into the Land Art Forest.
You can take part, this Saturday 9 May at Milton Keynes at the StonePit field. As the name says there are plenty of stones here to create the spiral with and to write a poem on.

Stone Pit Field

Stone Pit Field

Two sand spirals will be made at Queens Park Art Centre Aylesbury, with children from 4 till 11 years old. The children will make some sand stories to take home and to leave in the spiral, poetry or figurative. After this a spiral will appear at Cassiobury Park near Watford on 18 July and anybody is welcome to join in followed shortly after by a spiral in the Peace Meadow as part of Linslade Canal Festival.

Willow hoop

Willow hoop

You can follow the Artists on the Canals on Facebook to see where we are but here is a list:

Milton Keynes at the Great Linford park from 2 – 12 May

Aylesbury at the canals basin right in town from 17 – 30 May with an exhibition at Queens Park Art Centre

Berkhamsted the mooring by the Rising Sun Pub from 3 – 6 June

Hemel Hempstead several moorings from 9 – 28 June with an exhibition at the Old Town Hall

Cassiobury Park by the Iron Lock Bridge from 6 – 20 July with an exhibition at the Cha Cafe

Spiral Poems

Spiral Poems

SPIRAL JOURNEY

The first Spiral for Spiral Journey will be made in the next few weeks, just a few miles away from Stenson where the Wanderlust was build in 1992.
On the moment we are moored at Mercia Marina near Willington along the Trend and Mercey Canal. It was here we planted last year one of the Oak trees, grown from an acorn found along the Shropshire Union Canal. The little Oak was planted in a hollow Willow tree which was sawn down to prevent it from falling.

the little Oak

the little Oak

Willows only live for a short time unless you coppice them. Now we will be making a Spiral as a part of Spiral Journey with people from the Marina. This Spiral will be made from Willow on a field next to the canal to virtual join the other Spirals which will be made along the canals. The field is a part of a wild life area and you can walk through it on the 3 circular walks from the Marina.

the field by the canal

the field by the canal

The field was chosen, not only for its position next to the canal, but also for its natural beauty. The location in the field is near the foot-bridge over the canal so people can see the spiral from higher up when crossing the bridge. In a way it moves on from the Bridge project starting by a bridge.

the foot-bridge

the foot-bridge

We will be weaving the Willow as some of the Willows in the field did natural, it will grow together into a living wooden sculpture. Last year i made a living Willow sculpture along the Shropshire Union Canal and after just one season the woven branches grew together.

natural woven

natural woven

Shropshire Union Willow

Shropshire Union Willow

A poem written by the people making the Spiral about the landscape in which the Spiral grows. Everybody experience the landscape different and by writing these different experience in one poem will make people look at that landscape from a different perspective. Visitors can walk through the Spiral while reading the poem coming to the centre. In the centre we will plant Flowering Rush, which we call in Holland the SwanFlower which is appropriate for the Marina as the Swan is used on their information packet.

flowering rush swanflower

flowering rush swan-flower

On our route with the Artist on the Canals more Spirals will be made. Permission has been granted in Milton Keynes on the StonePit Field using the stones we find there and again with a special landscape poem. In Aylesbury 2 Spirals will be made with children at the Queens Park Art Centre, these Spirals will be made with sand. One will have a poem the other, as it will be made by small children between the age of 4 till 7, will have handprints. The people of Cassiobury park are very keen to make an other Spiral there, on the moment we are working out the details of this project. The last Spiral will be made as a part of Linslade Canal Festival and will appear on the Peace Meadow next to the canal close to an other footbridge.

spiralpopUP

popUP gallery at Mercia Marina

Keep an eye on our FaceBook page for more details to be involved with the making of the Spirals any of the Spirals and become part of the Spiral Journey.

AYLESBURY ARM week 9

After several weeks in London we decided to visit a more remote part of the British canal system, The Aylesbury Arm. On our way to London we came past the canal, a site arm from the Grand Union Canal, seeing the beginning of the canal empty.

Empty

Empty

It looked sad and strange, a clear reminder of the fact that the canals are man-made and so can drain empty without the right care.
This time the canal was fully functional again. The Aylesbury Arm is a short canal of 6 miles long with 16 locks. Yep, many locks but narrow locks, so not too bad to do, specially after all them wide locks, better to call them wild locks.

Great point of view.

Great point of view.

The canal cuts through lovely countryside which you don’t always see as the hedges hide it. The Hawthorns in the hedges were in full blossom treating us to a lovely scent. The Willow cuttings on top of our roof started to wilt in the warm sunshine, so we stopped the boat at bridge 14 to plant them in the soil.

coming up to bridge 14

coming up to bridge 14

In the centre of the Willows came a little Oak all planted wild and rough. This piece of land art you will see in years to come as the trees grows on.

colourful welcome

colourful welcome

Entering Aylesbury you see a mural under the bridge a nice welcome. The arm ends right in the centre of town with a basin. The basin was almost empty, meaning no boats. It all looked very new but abandoned. We just popUP the gallery at this new place but came to the conclusion that the fence was a too big a barrier for people to come and look.
The next day we moved back to the familiar towpath and made some phone calls to get some clarifications about the situation here. The tourist information centre and the council were very helpful reassuring us that we were doing the right thing. In the end we were informing the people along the towpath what was going on.

The basin

The basin

Next to the basin stands a brilliant building, which houses the Waterside Theatre, the little details on the outside and the inside were enormous. The way they made the windows reflected the pattern in the water when a little breeze flows over it. On the outside a wave is made with river pebbles and limestone. While in front around a tree, spared during the construction a seating area circles away in different layers, while a statue of Roald Dahl sits and contemplate the time.

sunset theatre

sunset theatre

Our popUP gallery needs quit a bit of improvements but thats just a point of view.  We see we need to make more contacts relate to other art organisation in an area. Therefor we went to see the Queens Park Art Centre, not far from the canal.
We will be back next year to do 2 Land Art workshops in the Queens Park Art Centre.

an other point of view

an other point of view

We popUP the gallery for 5 days in a row, met many people and several books and sculptures found a new home. We had some lovely conversations about art but also about boating, living on a boat and about planting trees.

On our way back we looked at the newly planted Willows and Oak who, by that time got plenty of rain and sunshine.

fiets

fiets

We cruised back up north to Linslade to do some research about the Linslade Festival in which we will participate. A trip with the bike along the canal to see it all from a very different perspective. On Saturday 26 July we will be at the park, with other words we will be back.

Right now we are moored down from Milton Keynes Art Centre making new contacts linking the land art folks with water art folks and also here we will be back next year. Perhaps even organise something more than just a popUP gallery as the surroundings here the Great Linford park is asking for the planting of some special Oaks, even it has plenty of wonderful trees.
The area is wonderful with plenty of parks and even wild or better create wild areas for people to walk and cycle. The Stonepit Field is worth a visit. It reminded me of my work at Clegyr Boia fields, only here they did it a lot better. Even they only started the work in 2008 the result you see now is spectacular.

mooring in the park

mooring in the park

On friday we will move on to Wolverton and than up to Coventry.

here is our cruising agenda
29 May Great Linford Park
30 May Great Linford Park
31 May Wolverton
1 June Wolverton
3 June Stoke Bruerne
4 June Stoke Bruerne
5 June Stoke Bruerne
8 June Braunston
9 June Braunston
12 June Coventry
14 June Hinckley
19 June Atherstone
20 June Atherstone
21 June Atherstone
22 June Atherstone
26 June Birmingham by the National Indoor Marina until
30 June taking part in the floating market
11 July till16 July we will be at Cassiobury Park near Watford
24 July we will be at Linslade till 27 July when we will cruise back to were we are now Great Linford Park

Than on Friday 1 August we start to cruise back up North towards our home mooring to do an other floating market  Market Drayton from Friday 22 August till Tuesday 26 August 

From 1 August till 22 August we have no idea were we can stop along the canals, high season with plenty of boats on the canals.
However whenever you see us, you can call or even knock on the boat as we are always about and willing to show what we have onboard.

 

 

week 4 land art ONLY

During the fourth week of our cruising trip, the first piece of land art was made with the first trees planted in Cassiobury Park by the Iron Bridge Lock.

wanderlust

Wanderlust by the Beech trees

We found the perfect mooring spot for our popUP gallery, right in front of some wonderful Beech trees.
The wooden sculptures Berth makes are of beech wood. Beech wood is a challenging wood, a hard wood that easy splinter however it has such a lovely texture and with patience it becomes as smooth as silk.

Beech Wood closeup

Beech Wood closeup

Cassiobury is near the Whippendell Wood and customers were telling me how lovely it is. The next morning I went out to explore and to look for more material for the roof land art. This area has lots and lovely flint stones. They almost look like bones scattered around as if in a field of dead.
The last storms have turned some lovely trees upside down revealing in their roots what once was hidden in the soil. Under a fallen Beech tree I collected some great flint and decided that all the flint I was collecting to come from trees somehow.
Some came from fallen trees and others from standing growing trees.

flinter bones

flinter bones

Yet even under the fallen trees and dying trees you find the sculptures of life turning up in corners once hidden from the light to reach the light once again.
Cassiobury is close to Watford one of the fore towns of London, one of the last big green open spaces. Many people use the woods for sports, most of them running past, cycling past only a few take the time to stop and watch.
Rushing past all that can be seen and feel very little, never having time to touch.

inspiration for ONLY

inspiration for ONLY

There sitting on a fallen tree the inspiration for ONLY came to mind.
The flint was washed and scrubbed to reveal the white as bones.
The pattern, for ONLY, came from a fern leave. When a fern leave comes into life it rolls out like a spiral.  A hairy spiral the leave rolls into the light to grow and seed her spores.

spiral heart

spiral heart

The next morning, before we set of on our next part of the trip towards London, long before anybody was awake, i start to make the spiral ONLY.
I find it hard to work with people wondering around and watching my hands.
Therefor at 6 in the morning with the broom I started to sweep a part of the soil clear and made a circles with the fallen leaves and broken sticks.
The spiral came between two standing Beech trees next to a cut down Beech tree.
The spiral followed free hand the lines follows, this way, her own shape and when you look you see an almost a heart shape in the line of the spiral.

The Tree Centre

The Tree Centre

In the centre of the spiral came a small circle with in the middle two small Willows, which were grown from cuttings from Willows along the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal.
A piece of bark from a fallen Birch tree give the young trees protection from small nibbling animals. Around the tree on the soil a mixture of used tea and coffee provides some nutrition for the young trees.

one by one

one by one

The rocks were placed one standing one fallen like the fallen trees in the woods amongst the standing and growing trees.
The poem with this piece I wrote on the trunk of the sawn down Beech tree.

poem ONLY

poem ONLY

The letters form in addition an other spiral:

ONLY
when you sit
d
o
w
n
you will see
this

mAgdA

14 April 2014

 

 

WEEK 1

Our first week cruising along the canals started at our home mooring on the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal. We said goodbye to many well known neighbours, even we are here just 6 months, something about boating community we all help each other. The first part of the journey was known territory until we came to the flights of locks at Audlem. There are 15 locks in a row to take us up 90 feet.

Audlem flight of locks

Audlem flight of locks

We took our electric folding bike which was very handy at the locks as you go backwards and forwards between the locks to set them to open them to close them.
The steering of the boat was a bit of a challenge with the overflows and the wind pushing the boat away. Now many people say it is a contact sport, but it should not be that way in my opinion.  A narrowboat steers in the middle so the stern and the bow go in opposite directions. To straighten the boat for the locks with an overflow either pushing the bow or the stern gives a bit frustration.  I pushed the bow in the overflow to straight it just before the lock, however the overflow and wind often pushed the stern back out loosing the straight line in the progress giving some big contacts with the lock. After watching a more experience person getting the boat in, i used the reverse to help me steering, it worked. After the locks we had some damage in the cabin from the contact sport.

Tyrley Locks

Tyrley Locks

The next day we went through the Tyrley Locks which are the start of an amazing piece of canal work, called the Woodseavers cutting.
The canal is cut out of rocks by hand so the story goes creating a manmade heaven for nature.

red stone  shelter

red stone shelter

The boat enters a different world were nature meets culture, it is hard to believe this canal was made to push the industrial revolution.

tree roots

tree roots

In the early years hardly any trees would have been there and the mud must have been twice as deep as now. Yet trees grow where trees should not grow altering their behaviour to their environment showing where there is a will there is a way. The trees gave a place for other plants creating a magical environment which no photo really can show not even with the best camera. How to capture that sparkle of the sun on the leaves of the ferns, or even the dark green growing in the dark red, or the falling stems creating a mist of shadows, how can a camera catch that.

fern magic

fern magic

The plants made a fern-tale, where all kind of stories just bubbled up out of the red sand stone.
It was here the first stones came onboard for the roof land art. There had been some land slides after the heavy rain of the last months and many trees had to give in to the pressure of the storms.
One making a perfect bridge before the bridge.

tree bridge

tree bridge

The bridges on the cuttings in the Shropshire are tall and one is a very famous, called ‘High Bridge’ the most photographed on the canal.

duo bridge

duo bridge

High Bridge is actually Bridge number 39 and we started the Shropshire by Bridge 100, time to go on land to collect more stones. There in a corner was a special piece of wood that a boater just chucked as no good. It was from a hollow part of the tree filled with composted wood, a perfect planter for one of the trees. First idea was to plant it near Bridge 39, at second thought it came on board to be planted there.

waiting trees

waiting trees

In the brown bags, covering the ugly plastic bottles, are some germinating Oaks and in the back some Willow cuttings waiting to be planted one day in the piece of hollow wood. Wood feeding wood.

intimate trees

intimate trees

Along the way we saw some amazing trees hanging in the canal, over the canal, hugging the canal. In one spot there were several tree huggers all Beeches being very intimate along the canal.

tree tunnel

tree tunnel

The next time we pass this canal them trees will be in full leave, that must be a true tree hug as they will shelter the canal crating a real tree tunnel.

In the end we came where we wanted to be Brewood to set up for the first time our popUP Gallery.

popUP

popUP

We became very good at the popUP as we had to take it down and set it up 3 times as the weather turned from sunny to rain and even hail.
We are not quite happy with the setup yet, it needs something to get peoples attention.

Poetry flags thats what it needs, a boat without a flag is missing something.

SHELTER

A story about a piece of land-art made along the canal.

clay pit

clay pit

While wandering along the towpath at the Middlewich Branch, you come along a nice pick nick area in a small strip of woodland. The local people call it the clay pit, i assume when they build the canals they used clay to seal the canals leaving some nice hollows.
Wandering through the shrubs my eye comes to rest on a Yellow Willow.

yellow willow

yellow willow

In the past somebody cut it down making it an interesting bundle of new growth. Willow is very good at this, whenever you cut Willow back, they will give you brilliant new branches ready for some weaving.
This particular Willow was not only giving me weaving material but also an idea to use the clay. Back down in the clay pit i test the clay, digging with my bare hands and forming it, does it hold.

willow art

willow art

Back at the tree the clay and the willow become tree art.
The silence of the wood was shattered by some howling. First what came to mind was a dog in distress which quickly became dogs followed by some fear and what the hack. It became clear by the sound of the horn it was a hunt.

hunt

hunt

I stayed hidden as i know a confrontation with these people is not appreciated and my mobile was not in my pocket just my camera. There was not much i could do by myself than making pictures and hide. It is still legal for them to hunt but not on a real fox, but how do you tell.
While i hide something was running through the woods, i stayed down, it was a single animal. It didn’t need me to scare it back into the field so i went very low to let it go.

My heart was pondering while helicopter and ultra light gliders circle above the field, apparently to protect the hunt. Now this made me mad. So the thing came to mind, a very British thing.
Stay calm and make some art.

shelter for the fox

shelter for the fox

So a new idea was born. The woods became on that moment the shelter for the fox or what ever other animal was getting away from the howling of the hounds.
The clay is perfect to make a sculpture, texture is a bit wild with many bits in it but it handles very well.

wild clay

wild clay

So a poem emerged written on slate that came from a beach in Pembrokeshire, the holes were made for a long poem that was never written. I took the box with slate to the boat for creating more smaller land art poems on our way along the canals. In a way all these poems will be connected to Pembrokeshire where my land art emerged out of gardening, therefor also the trees.

clay and slate

clay and slate

The poem was written on the pick nick table and in the cracks was some bird po with seeds in it. The clay slate didn’t really need the holes as this time i was not hanging them on some string. One of the seeds went into the hole.
The poem became something more it was going to grow. The seeds were from the dog-rose, a wild rose with big thorns but lovely rose hips, full of vitamin C. The perfect shelter for hiding from the unwanted, while feeding the birds. What also happened when the howl came closer many birds took to their wings and many cried alarm. The whole woods was in uproar including me.
The making of land art can me so relaxing and so rewarding and by the time i was looking for more seeds the birds came back, right near me. I was not a part of their fear.

shelter seeds

shelter seeds

The clay is very natural and will fall apart after some rain and frost can crack it open giving space for the seeds to grow.

not yet

not yet

It started to rain making the clay lovely and smooth and a special shine came over it like a glaze but too much rain and it would wash the clay away.
The pieces went for shelter under the pick nick table to wait for the rain to pass over.
I went looking for a good spot to create this poem, somewhere in this woodland. Some place where the poem can become a part of the trees.
At the clay pit are many self seeded Ash trees in all sizes it looks like a stick concert. Amongst them stands the white stem of a Birch. You need to look to see but than it is perfect.

ashes

ashes

I found the spot.
Ashes are easy to twist and turn just like Willow, perfect to make a living sculpture. I made one before in the walled garden with two Ash trees. So i started to make hoops with the branches and cut most of the side branches away. The brambles around the Ashes was weeded away, to give the trees a change to grow next spring and not becoming the climbing frame for the brambles.

ashbow

ashbow

To make the bows more visual they will be wrapped in natural spun wool , this will also prevent the little stems to start shooting again in spring and so the bow will keep its shape for longer. In the walled garden i used coloured wool, not so good in the wild it must be subtle so people need to look to see it.
Than it was dark

wool

wool

The next day i came back to finish the work with more wool in my bag and my mobile in my pocket just in case. On my way i saw somebody done some chain sawing at one of the pick nick benches leaving a lovely pile of saw dust.
Some time ago one of the benches was sawed into fire wood but not this time, the bench was just used as saw-bench.

The poem clay was still under the pick nick bench by the clay pit.

wrapping

wrapping

The wool is hold in place my some string made from Hemp, in the end it will all disappear down into the ground, feeding the trees.

claying

claying

The final pieces were made for the poem. The question was how to place the poem and the trees together. Sticking them on the branches did not work, the clay was too heavy. A wand of clay was too intrusive. Perhaps a bed of moss just like the fox shelter but not so good to take the moss away and kill it, it is too beautiful for that.
The sawdust could work.
My backpack became bucket and the sawdust became bed.

saw dust bed

saw dust bed

The poem altered on the last moment as the shelter became retreat, it sounds better almost rhyme with seeds.

retreat for the
wild
is build from
seeds

klaar

klaar

It is subtle hidden, most people will not see it unless they stand still and look.
The wool mirrored the white stem of the Birch.

birch sticks

birch sticks

So became the scare of a hunt a piece of art.

The other day i went back to see how it was. The clay did as i expected and was falling apart. The rain had washed away most of the poem. The wool looked good specially after some rain, the drops hanging from the wool, look like a magnifying glass.

drop

drop

Art within the art.

The yellow willow ball stands strong and is growing. The clay had all sort of little bits in it and some were little roots which started to grow.
When springs come and the willow starts to grow as well, this piece of art will be something.
In the willow will grow clover and grass, only time can tell, how the art will grow.

growing

growing

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