• Ellie Iorio

Saugatuck Dunes - a synthesis of land and mind

Updated: Sep 3, 2019

Today I took another trip to Lake Michigan and started off at Saugatuck Dunes State Park, where I hiked down to the lakeshore and then traversed the steep coastal dunes and rolling hills with my wool roving and felting block to find a good place to work.

Earlier in June, I had visited Saugatuck Dunes to scope out the land and take pictures to begin formulating some ideas for what scene I would use.

Coming back a second time in August, I was strikingly amazed by how different a varied layering of clouds, or softer tone of light can make the same scene appear. This organic ability to always be changing and never be exactly alike is what I appreciate so much about water and nature. Always flowing, yet always there, nature presents this steady sense of calm that I hope people will help to always preserve.

Once I found a grass-tipped hill with a view worthy of the spectacular layering of sand and grass and treeline and peninsula and cresting waves I saw around me, I plopped down with my wool and began recapturing the scenery that was so materially there around me, spanning in all directions.

When needle-felting, I typically work from images I have photographed while out in nature, sequestered back to my workspace indoors. I have found, however, that actually physically being there, in the moment and surrounded by the scenery I am creating has an entirely different effect on my work’s outcome. I can take in the wide-open expanse of blue sky reflected by the gleaming stretch of water, light refracting on its surface. I can really feel the sweeping power of the curved bluff in the distance and the grounded aspect of the dunes I am sitting on. This real connection with nature is what I hope to portray in my artwork, so that my audience is able to feel the genuine powers of nature, too.

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