A few months ago I was at forager Robin Harford’s Green Gathering on Exmoor.
It was a weekend of plant-based experiences. From workshops on foraging and fermentation to herbal remedies and storytelling round the fire… one of the sessions that had the most effect on me was an Earth Mandala workshop by artist Keith Beaney.
Keith got us collecting natural materials to contribute to a mandala frame that he'd created for us in the woods.
It was very muddy and wet, and initially I struggled with connecting with it, but suddenly something took over and I got caught up in the process, of being in the woods and looking around at the trees and wildlife for inspiration.
I started gathering white leaves, interesting twigs and unusual flowers for my section of the mandala, absorbed in a child-like flow.
It was an inspiring and fun creative process.
Each person in my group reported a similar experience.
And the mandala we made together was really stunning. As was Keith’s own work that he made from foraged and found seed heads and plant stems. (see pic above)
Back in Brighton, I met Dutch artist Anniek Verholt, she’s a leader in therapeutic arts and uses a similar artistic process to Keith.
We talked about putting on a session for School of the Wild on the South Downs: the result is our Land Art and Mindfulness workshop on Sunday October 9th.
In this workshop, Anniek will be guiding us through an approach to art that incorporates a love of nature, and leading to a place of silence, connection and creative expression at a beautiful outdoor location on the South Downs.
In a similar process to what I did before, we'll create individual land art pieces with gathered natural materials that we feel intuitively drawn to, and get to see unique creative processes.
The idea is that by doing this, we'll each gain personal insights.
I'm looking forward to it.
Author & Curator
Nigel Berman is the founder of School of the Wild.