Signals

PLA Resin, Silk, Wood, Ink—2018

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My work on the Signals project considered the question, ‘If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one to hear it, does it make a sound?’

I think the answer depends on who or what is listening. A flighted animal responds by seeking a new perch. Microbes, fungi, and invertebrates somehow know it’s their turn to move in. A felled tree marks the end of an era. Silent or audible, a ripple-effect sound seems undeniable.

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Part I

The sculpting process for this work began with a hardwood stump I noticed on weekly forest walks. I required assistance to carry its mass home. The dirt and microbes on the surface were gently brushed away to where they could resume their regenerative skills in the soil. Next, I washed the wooden artifact thoroughly and then dried it for days in the bright sun. I cradled the root in my lap while drilling out loose parts that were beyond saving. I coated the surface with a black, non-toxic ink.

Part II

I traced tree branches and Oak-Leaf Hydrangea leaves with clear PLA resin from my 3D pen. Many leaf sculptures were expressed in the original leaf form. I also combined leaf shapes to mimic human body parts;  a cranium with vertebrae, and lungs. Pure silk thread was woven into these elements to illustrate a fading, frayed existence.