Jelly Roll In The BarnYard

Fate and the start of my Jelly Roll sprial

I wanted to take a walk, it was such a beautiful day.  Warm but not hot, a bright sun in a blue sky with big puffy clouds.  But we spent the morning at the doctors and I really wanted and needed to get into my studio and do some work.

So when it was time feed the animals, I hung around the barnyard looking for a reason to stay outside.

That’s when I though of the rocks.  Just south of the apple tree, down the hill from the feeders and  next to the marsh, there are rocks.  Lots of them, mostly small, scattered around on the grass, taking up space.

Why not put them all in a pile then the grass could grow more evenly and it would be better grazing.

If not a stone wall, a pile is what the farmers used to and still do with rocks.  In The Orphaned Woods, which used to be pasture and  is bordered with stone walls, there are two piles of rocks.  These are the rocks that didn’t make it into to stone all.  They tend to be small and roundish.

So a pile is the first thing that came to mind.  But then, I thought, we don’t really need a pile of rocks in the barnyard.  Also, I knew I’d quickly get bored.

But I wouldn’t get bored if I made something with the rocks.  That’s when I thought of the spiral,  specifically, a Jelly Roll Spiral.

It’s a game like hop-scotch, except you make a spiral the divide it into boxes the you have to hop in.  You get to land on two feet in the circle in the middle and if you hop all the way in and all the way out without stepping on a line or falling, you get to put your initial in one of the boxes.  Then you can land there with two feet for the rest of the game.  Whoever has the most boxes wins the game.

When I was in art school I drew a Jelly Roll on my studio floor and invited people to come in and play.  I was interested in the significance of the ancient form of the spiral, combined with a childhood game and the meaning it had in my life as an artist.

One of the pieces in my MFA exhibit was my used teabag strings woven into the gallery carpet creating a Jelly Roll.

I guess it was more of a question, because I never came to any conclusions about it all.  Maybe that’s why I still think about it.

My Jelly Roll won’t solve the problem of the rocks on the grass in the barnyard, but it will be interesting to see how it develops.  How big it gets, how the grass grows around it, what it will look like in the winter and what effect the sheep and donkeys have on it.

I am after all making it in their home.

You can see how far I got today in the picture above.  I’ll do it a little at a time, so it doesn’t become overwhelming.  I don’t want it to be something I have to get done, but something I enjoy doing.

Although I have been known to get obsessive about things like this.

This is what the beginning of a Jelly Roll game looked like with two initials in it. When I was a kid, we would draw a Jelly Roll in the dirt with a stick or on cement with chalk.

6 thoughts on “Jelly Roll In The BarnYard

  1. We played that game growing up but it was called snail shell in our neighborhood. We used to draw them in the alley between the houses with chalk. It was a fun alternative to regular hop scotch.

    1. Ah snail shell, I like that for obvious reasons Josie :). You’re the first person who told me they’ve heard of the game. Even when I was in Art School no one knew it. Makes me wonder what other people in different places call it.

  2. I haven’t heard of this game before, so I’m glad you drew a picture of how it works. Creating it with the rocks reminds me of Andy Goldsworthy’s outdoor art.

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