Autumn has an interesting effect on me…

My favourite season always seems to give me a creative surge, so what better time to start a blog and record some of my projects and inspirations.

Currently I am working on a collaboration with another Northern Irish visual artist, Kate Shaw. We plan to install our interactive sculpture space in Botanic Gardens for the upcoming Enchanted Evening on 1st November. This is all very well but with such limited time frame, I did not factor the in the distracting qualities of this beautiful season… All I want to do is arrange gorgeous leaves in interesting and contemplative formations, Andy Goldsworthy style as seen below…

The creative limitations of our installation are going to be influenced greatly by health and safety laws in the UK, and this is something that I think hinders the amount of interactive learning that can be done by children in a stimulating outdoor environment. On a recent trip to Japan we visited the Hakone Open Air Sculpture Park, I was amazed to see the sculpture/jungle jim created by Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam, The Knitted Wonder Space 2, which is something you could never see in the UK or Ireland due to health and safety, and a lack of interest in alternative ways for children to learn, play and develop.Knitted Wonder Space

I was very annoyed that you had to be under 12 to play on this amazing piece of art…

Anyway, back to Belfast. I really wanted to bring aspects of this Wonder Space into something that I could create in my own city, and being on a student budget is of great importance, so all the objects we will use are donated, found or personal belongings.

So far Kate and myself have found a common connection of materials we have at our disposal, that being that both our families have sailing influences so we will be using mostly nautically themed objects; sails, rope, buoys, reclaimed nuts, bolts and other metal found in the Titanic Quarter.

Our aim is to create a space for children to feel imaginative and safe in, as they play with and around reclaimed rope which was an essential part of Belfast’s heritage. On the night of the Enchanted Evening the atmosphere of the installation will ideally be fun with a thoughtful twist, maybe tricking the viewer into thinking they are not in a park anymore, as the sails will be lit from behind, but rather that they have escaped into a kind of surreal space.

For the period that the installation will continue to be in Botanic Park after the first evening, I hope that it will provide a contemplative and restful place for adults and children alike to explore and enjoy, while the colour of the piece hopefully further enhancing the beauty of the park in Autumn.

Our dream would be to install a number of swings, made from rope netted/macrame together, and also from buoys, but as mentioned before I do not think health and safety would allow this. If this is one of our perimeters then I feel that the same structures should still be in the trees, just tantalizingly close but out of reach, forcing the viewer to consider why we could not make the piece fully interactive, and maybe resulting in a change in the style of public art in Belfast.