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Forum

2019

I have served as a team lead in this ongoing public art project. There are 8 teams each comprised of 10-12 public participants, some identifying as artists and some not. Each team is creating two 5’ x 10’ semicircle panels that will be inserted into vaults in a public structure in the Cleveland Metroparks.

Artwork for the panels is made using the marquetry technique , where imagery is created from thin wood veneer (walnut, cherry, and maple). All content centers around the theme of home. Over 100 participants will be involved in the creation of these panels.

Made at Soulcraft CLE as part of the ‘Forum’ public art project with LAND studio, structure designed by Studio Weave.

This page will be updated as the project progresses.

Panel 1

For my team’s first panel, we created a piece using symbolic imagery, largely from nature, as a way to explore the idea of ‘home’. We thought about all the ways home can be interpreted and experienced: as a physical place, as family, as friends and neighbors, as nature, as nourishment and food, as sanctuary or refuge, as support, as belonging and connection, as respect and love, as memory, as grief and loss, as the things we carry, as comfort and healing.

I had brought some concepts to the table as a jumping off point at our initial team meeting and we collectively decided to go with a turtle as the core of this panel. The turtle inherently speaks to the theme of ‘home’ as it caries its home with it wherever it goes. The turtle is seen as a symbol of longevity, patience, wisdom and stability. We also appreciated that, sometimes like home, the turtle is seen as sedentary but is known to migrate long distances. There are also numerous cross-cultural myths of the turtle carrying the world on it’s back (Hindu, Chinese, NE Woodland Indigenous American). In response to these stories, John Locke asked ‘but what supports the turtle?’. This question tied in directly with our previous discussions of what home is and helped us to think more deeply think about the symbols we were including.

We incorporated an older and younger (perhaps parent and child) turtle to speak to the role of family and generational guidance. After our initial discussions, I incorporated visuals to the overall design from team members’ input (mountains, heart, roots, plants with symbolic significance). The central plants that the turtles are eating represent both literal nourishment through food and the metaphorical nourishment to the heart that home brings. All plants depicted are heavily symbolic, reflecting feelings about home generated in our group discussion: jasmine (respect, tranquility, trust, unconditional love), campanula (gratitude), wisteria (welcome), ylang ylang (neverending love), and ambrosia (reciprocated love). In recognizing that not all homes are loving, we included the aloe plant also (symbolizing grief, healing, and soothing).

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Panel 2

For my team’s second panel, we decided to zoom way out on the concept of ‘home’ with a piece reflecting Earth as home to us all. We were being repeatedly drawn back to themes of nature and environment, and felt this was representative of a globally unified ‘home’. A few team members brainstormed the layout for this panel together, with the final composition drawn by Katie Avila. We constructed it giving special emphasis to utilizing interesting wood grains - highlighting the natural qualities of the wood as distinct design elements. We also applied a navy blue wood stain on some sections of this panel.

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Prep and Process (All teams and leads)

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