If Mother Nature didn't inspire art, there would be no inspirational art. 'The Arts', as a term, always invokes visions of landed gentry, stately homes, museums, galleries, theatre and multi-million pound investments, but art is all around us and it is totally FREE! You just need to take a closer look.

eco art projects

Spring is taking its time in arriving here in Frugaldom but we are managing to inch our way along the list of garden jobs whenever the weather permits. As you know, we have already laid in most of the foot path through the garden, so it now extends to the bottom of the micro-orchard. Next, we need to sort out the remains of 'rubble mountain', which H reduced by around 6' in height. This year, it has been levelled enough to sow some potatoes to help break up the soil and prepare it for greater things in the future.

6 months later

The Frugaldom garden

The above is photo of the Frugaldom garden from November 2013 and then today, May 2014. It shows the difference a little bit of sunshine and 6 months can make. Our little microholding is definitely beginning to take shape and pave the way for the eco art creations that have begun appearing from H's garden studio. Isn't nature wonderful? It inspires to such an extent that frugal living can become an art form in itself.

Live sculpture of a sheep

Living sculpture

This little fellow was spotted in the gardens near the abbey on the Isle of Iona. The buds had just begun opening on the hedging from which he had been sculpted, so I wasn't sure if it was privet mixed with willow. Our attempt will be from willow, as that was what I planted here for cultivating into weaving material.

Landing on Staffa

Basalt columns at Staffa

This magnificent rock sculpture has volcanic origins. It is part of Staffa, where I recently went to photograph the inspirational Fingal's Cave.

Fingal's Cave, Staffa

Fingal's Cave, Staffa

Fingal's Cave, as it is now named, is an awesome place to visit. It is like several huge mushroom clouds being expelled from the ocean, colliding to form this spectacular island of basalt columns, caves and puffins. The island has strong links with it's counterpart, the Giant's Causeway, on the Antrim coast of Northern Ireland, all of which could have been formed from the same lava flow many millions of years ago. Myth has it that the Giant's Causeway was built by Fionn MacCumhaill (Fin McCool) to get him from Ireland to Scotland, hence FIN in the cave name. Inspiration for so many myths and legends, not forgetting the famous Hebrides Overture composed by Felix Mendelssohn.

Giant's Causeway, Antrim coast, Northern Ireland

Giant's Causeway

The Giant;' Causeway on the Antrim Coast, which looks towards Staffa. Said to be created by the same volcanic activity, or else laid out as stepping stones by a giant trying to make his way to Scotland. Whatever the truth is, we can be assured that it will, no doubt, be stranger than fiction.

Bhreac McGonk

Fun on the fungi ladder

Little Bhreac McGonk came on the expedition to Mull, Staffa and Iona, just as he did when we walked to the top of Ben Nevis, walked along the Giant's Causeway and walked across the famous Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. Our recycled McGonk friends can find art in all nature and never miss a photo opportunity, even when on their own back doorstep.

Bluebells in the woods

Bluebell woods

Bluebell woods - this is a great time for visiting them as the flowers are in full bloom. How many artists have been inspired by such a scenes? We are lucky to be living in a place that allows us to visit and see such scenes just by walking out our doors. Long may this continue.

Driftwood heron

Heron by the pond

The latest creation to emerge from H's garden studio has been a large heron sculpted from driftwood we collected along the shore. Even the stump on which the heron perches was salvaged after being thrown up by the tide. Recycling beach debris into art must surely be one of the most satisfying pass times. I'm now eagerly awaiting my first glimpse of a commissioned piece in the shape of an owl.

footprints in the sand

Footsteps in the sand

My own version of 'Footsteps in the Sand'. Art takes many forms and I am sure even the tiniest grains of sand look amazing if we look close enough - art is not the privilege of the wealthy, it is nature's gift to us all. As followers of the frugal lifestyle, we get to experience it in all its raw glory without the need for the Great Masters. I have great plans for a tiny sensory garden here in Frugaldom but there is no hurrying nature, it has to be respected and allowed to develop at its own pace, extending what it wants, where it wants and when it wants. This is why permaculture interests me.

Loch

The loch at sunset

Without our vistas and landscapes, there would be no landscape artists, gardeners or photographers. All are inspired and learn from nature. This is no special place in the grand scale of commerce or tourism, this is simply our local loch on a spring evening just as the sun was setting. The sound of the fish jumping was about all that could be heard.

Oystercatchers

Oysercatchers at dusk

Oystercatchers at dusk by the loch - the don't care how much money you have, what you look like, how you dress or what you believe. They simply ask that you respect their environment and not tread on their nests.

Wind turbines

Each one of these is reported to generate energy for 25 years.

And finally, at the risk of stirring up controversy, I have to include wind turbines. They tower on our horizons, taller than many of our largest trees. They have yet to prove their ultimate worth but they are here and they are fast becoming part of our local landscape. Whether we see them as majestic works of art or grotesque, man made blights on our landscape, they are, nonetheless, inspired by nature. They are farming the element of wind, just as power stations are harnessing the power of earth by way of coal and fire, from the natural gas. Nuclear reactions are a hole different kettle of fish but again, something, somewhere inspired someone to develop a recipe made up from nature's ingredients. Perhaps we should look at what gets wasted in each method of production and how that waste is used after serving every possible purpose and in so doing, compare the long term effects on the lives of all species.

Out of sight, out of mind! Not In My Back Yard! But our lives seem to be driven by an ever-increasing need for power of one description or another. Perhaps if we looked around us more often and looked closer to see what was already in our own back yards, we would see that we are but tiny pieces in the jigsaw of our universe. By living within our means, sharing whatever we can to help those who haven't the ability to help themselves and doing whatever we can to make life good, we can see the wood in the trees. 

Logs

Each one of these can take anything up 40 years before it can produce any energy.

Nature will prevail and will forever be the greatest artist of all. Her art will mould our future, just as it has our past. We would do well to respect that fact and learn to work with it, rather than draining it of every last resource. Have you counted up how much energy you use in a typical week? Even here in Frugaldom, I doubt we could generate sufficient to meet our own needs and I guess that is why we have never really tried. It's too much like hard work while there's money to pay for it. That. however, does not prevent me from pursuing my ambition to cultivate a willow plantation for future biomass fuel (logs for burning) and garden sculpting materials to further the eco arts project.

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