Signals

PLA Resin, Silk, Wood, Ink—2018

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If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one to hear it, does it make a sound?

The Signals project considered the above philosophical question from another perspective.

In a woodland ecosystem, flighted animals must find a new perches. Microbes, fungi, and invertebrates know it’s their turn to move in. I observe that the pulse of life ebbs and flows in a forest continuously & undeniably.

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Part I

The sculpting process for this work began with a stump I kept noticing on weekly forest walks. First, the surface dirt and microbes were gently brushed away to where they could resume their regenerative skills in the soil. 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 recognition. The surface was sealed with a black, non-toxic ink.

Part II

I traced intricate details of fallen branches and leaves with my 3D pen in my right hand. Pure silk thread was simultaneously woven in from my left hand wherever structural strength was needed. Many leaf sculptures were expressed true to form. I also shaped foliage to mimic a human cranium with vertebrae, and lungs.

The handling of these arboreal artifacts touched a deep personal ache. How a fallen botanical life form connected me to indescribable feelings of loss is a mystery. The reconciliation process initiated by the creative work is equally perplexing.