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Richard Shilling Lake District land art

PUBLISHED: 18:25 24 December 2009 | UPDATED: 16:17 20 February 2013



Walkers across Lancashire and the Lakes will have been intrigued and delighted by a series of striking works of art

If you are out walking in remote parts of the Lancashire or Lake District countryside and come across something inexplicable but beautiful there's a chance Richard Shilling has been at work.

Richard is a sculptor, photographer and film maker working in the field of what he calls Land Art. He specialises in creating his work in wild natural places, particularly in Lancashire, the Lakes and Yorkshire. He has also created sculptures in places as far apart as Scotland and the Himalayas.

He uses snow, leaves, wood, stone and anything else Mother Nature can provide. 'Land Art involves creating sculptures using only natural materials gathered near to where the sculpture is made,' says Richard, who is from Lancaster.

Many are ephemeral and last only a few minutes before the wind or the tide takes it away.'

Richard captures his work in a photograph in that vital moment before the elements destroy it. This can be quite a challenge in the face of a strong westerly wind.

Richard loves to walk and while he's out in one of the county's many beautiful places, a colourful leaf or a striking rock will catch his eye. 'I will immediately want to show off its beauty in a sculpture. In doing so, I hope to learn more about nature, its structures and forms and how things change from season to season,' he says.

'The challenge of only using natural materials means that I have to really get to know them before I can make something with them. I also need to understand the environment and prevailing conditions as these can have a large impact on what is possible.

'The angle of light, the ambient temperature, the strength of the wind all play a large part. By setting myself the challenge of creating a particular artwork I have to learn all I can about nature.'

This year Richard has been exploring the colours of leaves. 'The series of artworks I made in spring and early summer left me astounded that such a variety of colours were always there but somehow I had managed to miss them.

What was there all the time was hidden from my awareness but through the process of making my sculptures I opened my eyes to what is there. Each new discovery is an opportunity for a new awakening.'

Richard is soon to begin new projects working with Lancaster University and will be exhibiting his art as well as producing new work. But regardless of what major projects he is involved with, every week he is out and about creating new ephemeral artworks around the Lancaster area and beyond.

If one day you chance upon a whimsical sculpture in an interesting natural place then you might have discovered one of his latest pieces. They can't help but make you smile.


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