I had almost forgot to write about this one day introduction into landscape art ,which I went on during last September. This taster session was just for the day in the stunning grounds of Ilam Hall, leading the group was local Derby based artist and international sculptor Denis O’Connor.

Ground Rules

1) You can only use the materials found on your specific site.

2) At the end of the day everything must be dismantled and returned to its original place (if possible).

Ilam Hall and park Derbyshire near the river dove and thorpe cloud,

The picturesque English village of Ilam (eye-lamb) nestles beside the River Manifold in the Staffordshire Peak District among spectacular hills. It sits in the Peak District National Park right on the Staffordshire border with Derbyshire, close to the famous Dovedale Gorge. All being well I will be spending a week later this year with Denis to make some more interesting marks on the English landscape.

I found a quiet spot with plenty of shelter should the weather become inclement, but I needn’t of worried the sun shone all day. The remit for the day was to pick a suitable place which is naturally framed by the environment and build a simple sculpture, we could choose either a cube , a square, or a pyramid and utilise the natural or manmade finds within our chosen place.

Trust me it sounds easier than it actually is. So , I chose this natural plinth on which to start, my first attempt was appalling so I wont show you that picture.

It also took on a natural frame of the trees either side of it and the open field and trees in front.

As you can see I used a variety of materials, with the old roofing slates stuffed with golden autumnal beech leaves does looked particularly good. I used small cobbles of local Derbyshire stone to make another cube and a large cube made up of concrete pavement edging. Seeing them altogether in one site , a visitor would probably stop and wonder what it is all about. Well, for me it is the juxtaposition of a variety of materials which are having a visual relationship.

The good news is… I will be going back to spend a week there later in the year. Here is a link to see Denis’s work :

Denis O’Connor’s sculptures