Rachel Simmonds – Nature Art and Clay

Rachel Simmonds – Nature Art and Clay

We asked local artist Rachel to put together some ideas for keeping ourselves creative during lockdown and beyond.
Running Big Sky Arts, she puts together workshops for local groups and also works alongside other organisations producing videos of creative ideas.

Here’s the video she produced for us, all about using what she finds on walks to make a permanent memento in clay.

Rachel has also given us some notes on other ideas to use natural materials. Here’s a PDF to download

Rachel explains:

One of the easiest ways to improve your health and well-being is to exercise outside, in nature. This has helped many of us get through these tricky times during the past few months. If you add art and creativity to the mix then you really have a good thing going!

During my daily walks I started leaving little hearts made from natural materials, my initial idea was that others might find them and it would brighten their day. However spending 10 minutes quietly gathering and arranging natural materials left me with a sense of peace and lifted my mood. The great thing about this type of art is that you can spend as much or as little time on it as you like (it’s very easy to get carried away!). You can create small or large, simple or complicated, there really isn’t any rules.

Artists like Andy Goldsworthy have been creating art in nature for decades, using materials found in the local environment

Have a go yourself!

While you are outside, start to gather materials. Materials found on the ground are great but be careful if you pick from plants. Make sure the plants or berries are not poisonous and if they are safe make sure you don’t take too many that it harms the plant. You can gather from woodlands, beaches, country lanes or even your garden, anywhere really! Once you have your materials, start to arrange them. There are many possibilities, you could create a simple shape or a line leading down a path.

To create a mandala, start with an object in the centre and add materials going out around in a circle. To create symmetry, add your materials at first at the top and bottom, then either side and finally fill in the gaps in between. Remember there is no right or wrong way to do this!

Just play, relax and reconnect to nature!