Bespoke Land Art Quest for American Artists Patty and Rick Volner

Patty and Rick Volner have been visiting some of the most important sites around the world for land art including Michael Heizer’s Double Negative, Nevada and Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty in the Great Salt Lake in Utah.

Patty, an artist and art therapist herself, is passionate about Andy Goldsworthy’s work and had been following his Striding Arches project as it was being constructed, visiting the Arches at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. I had worked closely with Andy and the local community to develop Striding Arches for an area of Cairnhead Forest above Moniaive in Dumfries and Galloway. Its was Goldworthy’s work that inspired me to study sculpture and I had done my MA dissertation his ephemeral work so I am also a great admirer of what he does.

Patty had contacted me just as I was setting up Quests and Retreats to ask about visiting Striding Arches so I offered to curate a Quest for her and her husband to look at Striding Arches and then go onto the Crawick Multiverse by Charles Jencks, also land art but a very different approach.

I met Patty and Rick in Moniaive where they were staying and then we headed up to the Byre at Striding Arches and I shared my knowledge and story about the projects development. From the Byre you can see the Bail hill Arch looking majestic on the top of the hill and framing the sky. It was a joy to talk with two people who admired Andy’s work and also were so interested in the surrounding landscape, the changes, the law, the forestry, the wildlife. We had some wonderful conversations before travelling back down the valley and making the decision to visit another Arch Andy had created in the river at Drumlandrig Castle, without double one of the most beautiful castles in Scotland.

I love serendipity when something remarkable happens…..Patty had a calling to go to follow the Arches and as we headed to see the Drumlandrig Arch who should we meet but Andy Goldsworthy himself out for a walk with his family….You couldn’t write it. Andy generously spoke about the Arch with us and Patty thanked him for giving his work to the world. It was a beautiful moment.

Afterwards we visited Charles Jenck’s Crawick Multiverse and talked through the different approaches to landart. The Multiverse is a landscape created from an open cast mine and illustrates current scientific theory.

“Dear Jan,

We thoroughly enjoyed our day with you seeing the local Land Art in southwest Scotland. It has long been a dream to visit the Striding Arches and it was a stroke of luck that we hooked up with you. Not only were we able to cover more ground that we would have on our own but coupled with your knowledge, experience and artistic connections our day was absolute genius! I am still floating on “cloud 9” after the excitement of finally seeing a couple of the Arches in their permanent home.  Dealing with the disappointment of realizing we were not going to make the climb to the Arch on the hill, forced to switch gears and look to another direction with out you we would not have known about the Arch in the Stream…..then low and behold as we approached the Arch in the Stream who do we meet but Andy Goldsworthy himself, what a thrill. Unplanned and unexpected a complete joy, thank you for introducing us! Walking the Multiverse with you was so interesting we are so glad you introduced us to Charles Jenck’s work. You gave us an experience we will cherish forever.

From the center of our hearts, we thank you,


What is fantastic about Dumfries and Galloway the region has such a breadth of internationally significant land art to see, to engage with, to discuss…..If you are interested in a landart Quest please get in touch there is so much to see.

If you are interested in a Bespoke Quest related to art, history, literature, mythology, spirituality with landscape, please talk to us we can create something magical for you….