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Earth Returners

1996 Winter Solstice Observance

Highvale, Queensland, Australia

Artist's Statement

‘To affirm a connection to a new land’


During the day the clay heads were placed on a mound in the copse: they looked as if they were emerging from the earth and taking their first breath.  At dusk the candles around the heads were lit, one candle for each month, and placed in a circle around the figures. The candles inside the heads were also lit. Grass seeds taken from the previous seasons crop were placed in the hollow heads.


Participants were offered their choice of small raku cups. Water was poured into the cups, participants were invited to take a sip of the water and pour the rest into the clay heads. Participants were invited to keep their cups as a gift. Sparklers were lit.


The candles represent the light returning from the shortest day. The twelve candles are the twelve months of the year, the earthly light, the sun. The candles in the clay heads represent our connection to the divine light. The seeds are the beginning of a new cycle. The water is that which will begin the new cycle – along with the light of the sun.


The clay heads were a personal offering to the land. The hollow heads filled with light symbolized the opening of matter into sentience, the opening of the senses, the taking of the first breath.


The local clay of which the heads were made will go back to the earth when the rains begin, mingling with the earth mound underneath, giving life to the seeds for a new cycle.

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