Friday, September 16, 2011

Rustic Fencing

Do Good Fences make Good Neighbors? maybe

I've messed around with rustic fencing for many years. By "messed around" I mean exploring what kind of variations are possible with materials so that there is still the function or illusion of "fence".  Sometimes the fence only had to be a visual marker between two areas: here and there, maybe here and elsewhere?...
Siometimes, I put sticks or 1" rebar into the ground and wove fresh local bamboo or branches between them. Mostly, I can use that wonderfully free construction technique called Gravity
Recently, I've arranged fallen branches and trimmings into fence-like piles and in between trees as a deer deterent. Yesterday, I watched six deer playfully jump over my fence. I thought I heard a deer snicker

Other times, like this cedar buck fencing, it had to really work-- to keep ATVs off this land.

I've collected other pictures of rustic-inspired fences:from the Brooklyn Botanical Gardensstyle="float:right; margin:0 0 10px 10px;cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;width: 180px; height: 320px;" src="" border="0" alt=""id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5653707866840002178" />

On Saturday, March 24, 2012, I lead a 2- hour Debris Fence Workshop at the Fuller Mountain Preserve of the Orange County Land Trust. The Preserve is in Warwick, NY about 10 minutes from my studio -- where we first met to see the 60 foiot version I've been making --- and then we went out to the Preserve.

A few large trees came down in the hurricane and they have already been cut into firewood/logs and the branches for fence-size pieces. There were 10 of us and we got a couple of hundred feet of this "fencing" done in an hour.

We basically straightened up the area. We removed some fallen branches from the many vernal pools and took windfall branches and just gathered them into a wandering row.
The resulting snaky lines are pleasing-- helping to invite people into the Preserve and indicate the trails.

DEBRIS FENCING — Rustic artist Daniel Mack teaches a Debris Fence Building Workshop at 10 a.m. at the Fuller Mountain Preserve in Warwick. Learn the mechanics of building a natural materials fence at Mack's studio, then travel to the preserve to collect blown-down branches to transform into a beautiful and useful work of art that will remain on the preserve. $25 or $10 for OCLT members. Call 343-0840, ext. 12 or go to

What is Rustic?

"Rustic" is the opportunity to engage with natural materials in an interactive way. You build with natural materials, not just from them. You allow for the eccentric nature of the materials to be incorporated, not excluded, from the work; You--as any maker does--create patterns and pleasant orderliness with the materials, while still keeping the feral quality of the materials itself. This can be unnerving, because you are always having to consider and decide when enough is enough; you have to learn to develop and trust what someone once called The Natural Eye.