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David Phillips
Quincy Square

Title: Spiral
Date: 1997
Materials: Wrought-iron, cast bronze, cut granite boulders, pavers and plantings
Dimensions: Half acre
Location: Intersection of Quincy Street, Harvard Street and Massachusetts Avenue

Seeing and experiencing

This artwork is a whole park! It can be explored in many ways. It invites us to stop and meditate or just rest and enjoy being outside. In transforming this former bus parking lot into a park, the artist had a lot to consider: the shape and size of the site, its different zones and the kinds of plants used in its landscaping.

fiddlehead fern
A landscape architect was responsible for the site's plantings and landforms. Notice the various materials chosen by the artist and landscape architect. Are the plants part of the artwork? How many different man-made and natural materials can you identify? How many different textures can you find? Take a deep breath. Are smells part of your experience?

plan
As you look around, how many examples of the spiral shape can you find, both inside and outside the park? Become part of a spiral by walking the park's curving path. Imagine what this busy intersection was like without the park.

Go to the fourth floor of the Harvard Inn and view the park from above. Can any park be a work of art?

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Onsite

What you will need:
Sketchpad or paper, pens, pencils, charcoal or crayons.

Draw the shapes that you see in the park. Do you see similar shapes in the neighborhood around you?

 

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Hand-on

Drawing
What you will need:
Paper, chalk (thin and thick), long stick, tape, charcoal, pastels, pencil, crayons, watercolor paint, tempera paint, brushes, water.

The shape of a spiral is a beautiful form. Where have you seen spirals in nature? Fiddlehead ferns, nautilus shells, and tornadoes are just a few examples.

Using the chalk, draw big spirals on a sidewalk, patio or driveway. Walk the spiral. Now make double spirals, connecting spirals and large and small spirals. Attach a piece of chalk to the end of the stick and make a spiral form using your whole arm. How does it feel to make such a large movement? Is it hard to control the form?

Next time you're at the beach, make spiral forms in the sand. Or, use different materials to make the spirals. Experiment with charcoal, colorful pastels, crayons or paint (tempera and watercolor). How do the different materials affect the experience?

Collage
What you will need:
Paper, stamp inkpad, disposable camera.

An artist often explores one idea in depth. Some artists even paint the same subject for most of their lives!

Continue your in-depth study of the spiral by photographing or sketching all of the spirals you can find. Or cut a spiral shape out of cardboard, a sponge or a potato to make a simple stamp. Press your stamp into the pad and then onto paper to make prints. Or ink natural spiral-shaped objects (like cut cabbage or seashells) and make prints of them.

Gather your photographs, sketches and prints to make a collage out of them or put them in a book. Can you even design a spiral-shaped book?

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