Still Point: Personal Essays Inspired by Andy Goldsworthy's Ephemeral Art

Graduation Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department or Program

Graduate Humanities

Department or Program Chair

Joan Baranow, PhD

First Reader

Thomas Burke, MFA

Second Reader

Chase Clow, PhD


This project is a creative interpretation of Andy Goldsworthy's ephemeral art in the form of personal essays that combine memoir, story-telling, and reflection on themes, inherent in his sculpture, that inspire exploration of universals of human nature. These essays concern themselves with Goldsworthy's collaboration with nature and time in creating site-specific sculpture, which, in its essential ephemerality, is about constant change: change in the world around us and change within us; and, also those characteristics in nature and our human nature that endure: the unseen world, expressed throughout time within the Humanities. Initially, I was drawn in by shapes -- circles, meanders, arches, cairns; then materials -- blossoms, leaves, twigs, trunks, stones, river mud, silt; then tools -- hands, spittle, thorns, the exact temperature at which freezing occurs. My engagement shifted to process, the human being creating: time, structure, intention, control, response, suspension, release. Interwoven with shapes, materials, and tools, a fuller human experience ensues, such that touch, intimacy, perseverance, daring, listening, speaking, and joining beyond the finite come into play. Thus, the unseen world, the world we all inhabit in our humanness, the world we all live in distinctly and long to live in, in our humanity together, becomes the driving force of my reflection. The collection as a whole speaks to the message that our natural environment, its beauty and wisdom, is intrinsic to the world of humankind, our lives, and the sustainability of our species. Its nature is our nature.

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