I am now working in Lancaster, California, as an artist in residence at the Museum of Art & History, Cedar Center for the Arts. Lancaster is located in the Antelope Valley high desert country on the western edge of the Mojave Desert and about 70 miles northeast of Los Angeles. My residency is sponsored by WEAD (Women Eco Artists Dialogue) in conjunction with the WEAD group exhibition titled “Smaller Footprints” also at Cedar Center for the Arts in Lancaster, CA.
My eco-art project in Lancaster got started on Saturday, Feb. 13, with an Introductory lecture and presentation for the community at Cedar Arts Center from 6-8 PM. I introduced my work with a slide show and showed examples of handmade paper and talked about my process and what I will create here in Lancaster during the residency.
Here are a few photos of the Introduction presentation at Cedar Art Center where I showed images of previous environmental art installations and talked about my idea for the Lancaster art project.
My Lancaster Eco-Quilt will be all biodegradable and changing over time with the paper pulp dissolving as mulch and the flower seeds in the pulp sprouting and blooming for years to come, hopefully.
My Lancaster Eco-Quilt will have a motif of California golden poppies, and I will place it on prepared ground in a city park or nature preserve to decompose over time and produce a living, blooming bed of wildflowers in the quilt pattern. I will also build up a bed shape with the earth and create a headboard and footboard for the bed with local branches. I have looked at several possible sites in Lancaster for my eco-art installation, and we will make the final decision in a few weeks about the exact location.
I am making the Lancaster eco-quilt with handmade paper I create from local plant waste materials and putting seeds for California golden poppies and California desert bluebells in the pulp. Here is a sketch of my idea for the Lancaster eco-quilt.
I learned that the Antelope Valley area is famous for California golden poppies, and there is a nearby Poppy Preserve. I visited the Antelope Valley California Poppy Preserve over the weekend and did see one or two California poppies starting to bloom, so this seemed like the perfect flower to use for my art project in Lancaster. The California desert bluebell will provide a nice contrasting blue flower in the quilt squares, and I will also use some white wildflower seeds (baby’s breath) for the border of the quilt.
I started gathering local plant materials this week and will be making paper for the project from Joshua tree leaves, fan palm leaves, sagebrush and other local plants. It will be very interesting to try out these high desert plants that are new ones for me to experiment with, although I have used relatives of some of these plants in other places around the world. I will be coloring the paper pulp with a non-toxic dye and using some recycled blue jean pulp for the blue areas of the quilt.
This coming Saturday, Feb. 20 I will hold a public workshop on Papermaking with Local Plants, and it will be at the Cedar Center for the Arts, MOAH, Lancaster, CA, from 11-1 and 3-5. Everyone is invited to come and join in the papermaking fun.
My residency at the Cedar Center for the Arts in Lancaster will continue through March 13, and the installation for the eco-quilt will be on Saturday, March 12. Public programs are scheduled for each Saturday.
Keep checking this Blog for updates and more photos of the papermaking and the Lancaster eco-art quilt project. The photos documenting this project are by my husband Timothy S. Allen (http://allentimphotos2.wordpress.com).