Art 7 Goldsworthy, Mandalas, and Land Art

Art 7 spent the quarter exploring Land Art (or Environmental Art). Our unit started off with two videos of Buddhist mandalas being made from sand and then swept away.

Impermanence was emphasized throughout the project as the class watched Andy Goldsworthy work in his video Rivers and Tides.

We learned that Goldsworthy’s inspiration to create natural art came when his brothers wife passed away. He felt a loss that he could not express with words and began to create his pieces that emphasize a hole in the center. The classes actively discussed their feelings related to loss and related to the “hole theme.”

I invited students to think about a loss that they had experienced at some point in their life. It could be the loss of a pet, a relative, or even a feeling. On their first day outside they worked to build their mandala they created their piece in memory of what was lost. On the second day students were free to build and create anything although many carried on the mandala theme. 

Students submitted their two pieces to me through Canvas, an online Learning Management System. When they were finished with the upload I asked that they record a reflection on the project. I offered them the following questions to get started. They then recorded and submitted an audio file speaking their answers.

Goldsworthy Recording


  • Record your responses with Canvas
  • Try to find a quiet place to record
  • You may record audio or video (your choice)

Piece #1

  1. What do you think about your first Goldsworthy piece?
  2. What materials did you use?
  3. We talked a lot in class about loss and how that can fuel and artist to create work. What loss were you thinking off while you were making your piece? How did that loss impact your work?

Piece #2

  1. What was different about the second day (weather, materials, thoughts)?
  2. What materials did you use for the second day of Goldsworthy?
  3. What were you thinking about while making the second piece?
  4. What was different about your second piece?

Summary Questions

  1. What did you learn while working on these pieces of art?
  2. What is one thing that you will never forget?

The last part of the quarter was spent researching a land artist and presenting on that artist to the class. Students will share a keynote presentation of their artist with images of their work and facts. I am currently compiling a downloadable iBook that will include audio, video, presentations, and imagery from this project. This will only be available to students and parents of the seventh grade class. More information will be posted on this as it is completed.

Here is a slideshow of student land art work

2 responses to “Art 7 Goldsworthy, Mandalas, and Land Art

  1. Pingback: Group of Seven | artwitholiveri·

  2. Pingback: Artist of the Week: Andy Goldsworthy | artwitholiveri·

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