Finding solace in forests, rivers, and streams, artist Sylvain Meyer transforms materials from the earth into magnificent pieces of art. Taking cue from the land art movement of the 1970s, Meyer calls attention to natural beauty with careful arrangement of the elements, usually on a grand scale. He sources materials directly from the installation site, so as to remain in harmony with delicate ecosystems already established. This giant spider is a carefully placed collection of boulders and branches adorned with moss. Other works are composed of gathered leaves, twigs, or rock matter. His work feels both contemplative and playful at once. As with many land/nature/eco artists, Meyer celebrates the temporal limitations in the existence of his work. Although his formations are immortalized in stunning photographs, the few who experience the pieces in the flesh are lucky to be in the right place at the right time. Discover more amazing pieces by Sylvain Meyer in his Flickr feed.
Kathy Klein of Arizona might be my new favorite nature artist. Her incredible floral mandalas are both irresistible and inspiring. She calls her creations ‘Danmalas’ which is the combination of two sanskrit words: dan [the giver] and mala [garland of flowers]. Essentially, her pieces are intended to be “the giving of flower circles.” These elaborate designs are gifts indeed; their color, symmetry, and precision are so pleasing to the eye, they lend themselves perfectly to a meditation practice.
Klein in fact creates her flower circles in a ceremonious state of meditation, arranging flower petals, stems, leaves, seeds, pine cones, stones, and even seashells into intricate geometric designs. Her inspiration comes directly from a her love of plants, animals, people, “and the divine presence within all” and manifests in an array of site specific mandalas. Klein explains, “Mandalas are deeply imbedded in our collective consciousness. They can be used to describe all of creation and are a reflection of the Sacred, which is inherently present in nature’s perfect geometry.”
Klein’s first mandala happened in 2010 on her family’s farm, coined endearingly, “Beloved Gardens.” Exalted by a vibrant summer harvest of peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes, Kathy “envisioned it in mediation, and it seems completely natural to arrange all of the beautiful vegetables we had grown in a sacred circle. It was like writing a big Thank You note to the Divine and to Mother Earth.”
We can all learn a lesson of gratitude fro Kathy Klein. Her sensitivity to and appreciation of the beauty of the natural world is no doubt the soil that feeds her tranquility of mind. Kathy hopes her Danmalas inspire people to “keep looking within, through the eyes and ears of soul, at the eternal mystery.” Perhaps others can take a cue from her reflective practice, a conscious engagement which leads to fulfillment. “My mind is completely at rest. My heart is full of love and my hands are happily busy in the process… perfect peace.”
Check out Kathy’s website and this great article about her work. She also has an amazing interactive 2014 calendar to adorn your wall(s). Go forth and make your own Danmalas!
I am very excited to begin this site as a resource for other nature art nerds. Use this guide to seek inspiration, learn about featured artists, meditate on stunning photographs of nature art, or find complete how-to instructions for creating your own art from nature. Feedback and contributions by users are encouraged! Happy Trails!