Happy Earth Day everyone! I was thinking today of the first art project I made with seeds in the paper pulp to sprout and grow over time. That was an art installation titled “Living Earth” created for the 25th anniversary of Earth Day in 1995 made with my art students at SUNY Morrisville on the campus in Morrisville, NY. A handmade paper global map with seeds for wildflowers in the pulp changed over time into a living blooming earth. This artwork was focused on bringing more awareness to the problem of global warming and showed the continents of the Western Hemisphere and how they were projected to change from global warming. This is an even more acute problem today as global warming and climate change are becoming evident to all of us, and our coastlines are already changing. Here are some pre-digital photos of my “Living Earth” installation in 1995.
My recent public art installation in Santa Rosa, California, also uses handmade paper pulp with seeds for wildflowers in the pulp to change, grow and bloom over time. This artwork called “Living Quilt for Santa Rosa” continues to grow and bloom with more flowers appearing every day. The artwork was installed on Nov. 25, 2018, and the first blooms began appearing in mid March 2019.
The “Living Quilt for Santa Rosa” art installation was part of the city of Santa Rosa public art program that awarded grants to artists to create public art in response to the devastating wildfires of October 2017. My installation is in the Fountaingrove area at Rincon Ridge Park near the children’s play area, and it consists of a “bed” made with soil and a headboard and footboard for the bed woven of local trimmed branches. The handmade paper quilt for the bed was created with seeds for wildflowers in the pulp in the same colors and pattern. I used the traditional “Flying Geese” quilt pattern and the colors of blue, white and yellow gold. The seeds in the pulp are for California golden poppies, Tidy Tips, Baby Blue Eyes, Wild Lupine, Globe Gilia, Baby’s Breath, Sweet Alyssum and White Linen Poppies. The flowers will continue to bloom over the summer, and the installation will biodegrade over time.
Hope you can go to see “Living Quilt for Santa Rosa” if you are near Santa Rosa, California. Rincon Ridge Park is off Fountaingrove Parkway at Rincon Ridge Drive and open to the public. Here are some photos of the Santa Rosa artwork taken on April 20 and 21, 2019, showing many flowers in full bloom, and the handmade paper quilt has all disappeared into the earth as mulch. Seeing all those wildflowers in bloom reminds us that the Earth is a living thing of great beauty.
I also have another installation with handmade paper and seeds for wildflowers in the pulp that is in Sacramento, California, at South Natomas Community Center Park. The Sacramento public art project is about the issue of gun violence and called “Guns into Flowers” That project was a result of an artist in residency at Natomas Charter School, Academy of Performing and Fine Arts in Sacramento, CA, and the installation was done on March 16, 2019. The handmade paper quilt has a pattern of many different types and shapes of guns, and the paper pulp has seeds for wildflowers in the same colors and patterns. The installation was made with the participation of students at Natomas Charter School, and the “guns” will transform over time into living, blooming wildflowers as the handmade paper quilt dissolves into mulch and the seeds sprout and grow. Check back on this Blog in a few weeks to see how it progresses. The seeds are already beginning to sprout, and the wildflower plants are growing taller.