As I’m taking a little break from any new projects at the moment, I figured now is a good time to make some posts about the work I did before my website was up and running. Some of these projects may be familiar to those who have ventured beyond the blog page of my site, but for those who haven’t - enjoy!
I’ll start out with perhaps the most time-consuming project I’ve ever worked on: the Cocoon. This was a piece I did for my senior seminar art class in College. The idea was to create a work that sheltered and protected the person experiencing it while inducing a somewhat conflicting sense of unease. This initial concept surprisingly remained intact throughout the course of the several month project. In the final product, the viewer approaches the piece and lies down on the “bed,” which sinks downward. This sinking causes wooden ribs to bend over and enclose the viewer, protecting them but also inducing a sense of claustrophobia that is enhanced by the coffin-like space the “bed” sinks into.
The most exciting aspect of this project for me was the opportunity it gave me to play with motion in sculpture. I never studied engineering, but I have always been fascinated by it and I was excited to design a mechanism that would allow for the motion called for by the concept of the piece. The process involved lots of problem solving and adapting, but I ended up with a successful design that involved a plywood platform held up by counterweights on pulleys. Along the bottom of the platform ran a wooden fin from which steel cables extended, connecting to the wooden ribs. When a viewer would lie down on the platform, it and the spine would sink, thus pulling downward on the cables and, consequentially, on the wooden ribs.
Though the heart of the piece was its mechanical plywood base, I decided to wrap the entire thing in very thin strips of poplar wood. The goal was to obtain an organic, cocoon-like feel to this bizarre creation. The final product weighed about 250 lbs and, sadly, was too bulky to do anything with once its time in the museum was up. Now it just lives on in pictures.