Soft land art in Italy

Experimental expressions with plant materials (EX) have been in the “Riviera dei fiori” every year since we started, to try out making land art in different areas. We work in a botanical garden, in a olive grows, and on the beach. What we find to use is very different, and the limits and the “rules” are also different.

The first two days are in Hanbury Botanic Garden www.giardinihanbury.com . This garden is very special because they try to keep it natural, not like most botanical gardens where they take away everything that is not perfect. This garden is nearly on the border between France and Italy, on the slopes to the Mediterranean see.


In the area of dying Banana plants Linn and Erik made an installation. This made the area interesting and with new life made of shapes that also looked natural.


Florence wanted to protect the palms from the hard winter times and reused the leaves that had fallen of to make a nice wrapping of the trunk.


This garden has so many details that it is impossible for a visitor, who does not stay there for months, to see all the beauty. So, Trude marked out this points to be seen.

The Brugmansias have been cut down for the new flowering. All this stems that laid on the ground was used by Bryndis and Valgerdur to make new shapes on the trees, one that looks like the tree has turned into a vase, and the other more abstract.


Seed pods from the Brugmansia was filled with leaves and integrated in the tree as surprising objects. Trude and Gudrun gave people something to wander about.


The palms have a problem with some diseases, something that makes holes in the trunk and kills the palms. Ingunn and Rita used thin stems to make bended lines and at the same time filled the holes, maybe it helps?

Under a big Pinus Liv, Elin and Siri tried out many different possibilities to make this room an adventure. The lines made of palm bark gave some interesting movements.

Two objects made by Sissel show the difference between integration and exhibition object. The integrated one gives a feeling of the trees willingness to build a structure, the other is more like a freestanding object in an exhibition.



A place that is ornamental, can also have decorations. Bente and Anne Sofie filled in the missing parts of the décor with leaves, bark and flower petals. The interesting work is made with technique form a spindle net.

Badalucco, is a beautiful little village where it said that they make the best olive oil in the world (we agree!). We do usually work in the olive grows one day, but this year the rain was too heavy, so instead we had a very interesting guiding in the production of oil and a visit in the art gallery.


This old city of Bussana is mainly taken over by artists and artisans after an earthquake in 1887. In the beginning this town was seen as a ghost town before the international community of artists started to move there in the early 1960s. It is a charming little place that we always visit during our workshop.

The third day is on the beach of Taggia or Bussana.


Florence has been with us for three years on this workshop. This year on the beach she made a shape of seaweed with a hole to look on the horizon, and she also tried out the balancing stones.


“There are so many beautiful materials on the beach that nobody sees, we want to show them”, said Linn and Erik. They have also been on the workshop for three years.


By the edge of the see there is a lot of seaweed, washed on to the beach. Ingunn and Sissel gave the seaweed the shapes of waves, and then the harmony was total.


Graffiti is everywhere, sometimes very beautiful and sometimes not. This graffiti was nice and had colors like the violet seaweed. Gudrun made the graffiti and the seaweed work together to show the communication they had.


On this beach there are a lot of nice stones in assorted colors, not so visible for everyone. Anne Sofie sorted out the orange ones and combined them with something we don’t like to see, the blue plastic. The direction to the sea give thoughts about the problem with the plastic pollution. 

This workshop will also bee done next year, in the end of April, and it is open for those who want to join it. If you are one of them, be early, because we have a limit.

This workshop is a part of the study for those who are students on EX. If you want to study Experimental expressions with plant materials, at Vea in Norway, check it out here: Experimental expressions with plant materials.  And if you have any questions just contact the teachers for Experimental expressions with plant materials:

Photo: Siv Engen Heimdahl

Text: Runi Kristoffersen

Oppdatert 25.05.2018