I’ve been meaning to post about this for a while now, my friend Wyly Astley’s installation from the Arts and Nature Festival a few years ago. Wyly and I just spent a few weeks together, as she is from time to time a studio assistant for me when I manage to scrape together some funding. She is a very present person, quiet sometimes and always bright, not as one might use the word to mean “smart” but like something glowing. She, as an artist, person, mother, really reminds me of this installation of brilliant blue dandelions that were subtly sprinkled about the grounds of Camp Long during the festival.
This work was so straightforward. Simple and direct, about a beautiful healing plant so often viewed with disdain for silly reasons, and it also filled me with a glee that I kinda stifled because I’m a dumb adult. But the children didn’t stifle and loved and raced about the park finding the flowers. She once did a temporary art installation for children at a school, where outside the window of their classroom a colorful grove of fabric mushrooms grew overnight. These same mushrooms popped up in my yard on the morning of my son’s birthday, and he has never stopped talking about it. It created a particular path in his mind about how he saw the world, and what kind of magic was possible. I have been from time to time been asked to make art for children (by adults) and it is hard, nerve wracking…but Wyly does it effortlessly, because she is present and knows how to listen to the natural intellect of the child. I admire her. I also shared this installation with my high school class at Centrum on environmental installation, and those young artists particularly were drawn to this piece because it’s just craft felt but some how transcends itself. We talked a lot about how and why this can happen with art…I’m still not sure I get it, but Wyly seems to. She’ll be doing another installation at this years Arts and Nature Festival, which I eagerly await.
Wyly also makes lovely things for children to wear that you can find here at her Etsy shop.