Wheel of the Year

The year is always turning, seasons changing, fortunes fluctuating with them. This year, I’ve been working on a series of stencil cuts that represent stations along this cycle, to use on ceramics, fabrics and paper. In doing so, I’ve been trying to distill down the essence of each movement in the mechanism, to get at what animates each turn. Sometimes we assume that we are more detached from natural rhythms than we are truly capable of being. If you are a gardener, you know we are subject to the whims of the same agricultural gods we’ve always been beholden to, that sun and rain bring life.

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Personal Germ Factories

Blessed with an abundance of little germ factories in my house, I had options when trying out this recipe for taking a bacterial culture from kids. Ona was quick to volunteer her hands for the experiment, and Dax took notes. Below are the instructions we followed in preparing our agar plates. The results looked like yeast and maybe some kind of slime mold??? We also failed to completely dissolve the beef bouillon cube, so we most certainly skewed our results toward sugar-loving microbes. Try it and share your findings with me, eh?

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Culture Your Biome

Recent scientific studies suggest that for every 10 cells making up the body, nine are beneficial organisms that help the body’s systems, and only one is unique to you. That means that roughly nine tenths of your body weight is non-human. Weird, right? As a species, we behave as though we’re above the rest of the organisms on the tree of life, and here we’re nothing more than a glorified petri dish full of microbes we just happened to pick up along the way.

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Bio Couture

Borrowed imagery from the Center for Disease Control’s catalog of bugs & biopsies (all for use in the public domain), look like they come from another planet, but they are all to be found in, on or around the human body. We have our own clouds of microbes surrounding us, leaving a signature behind, everywhere we go. Our micro-biomes are affected by the biomes of others we spend time with, exchanging microbes, literally culturing friendships. According to a recent National Institutes of Health estimate, 90% of cells in the human body are bacterial, fungal, or otherwise non-human.

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Bio-Art

Seemingly another lifetime ago, back in ’07-09, I focused on exploring the potential for using ‘living’ structures and ‘cultured’ environments in small architecture. I was working on an MFA at Vesper College, and for my thesis exhibition, made a series of miniature sculptures from natural specimens from my private collection. These were presented along with a host of simple ‘cultured objects’, employing small fish, trilobites, snails, brine shrimp, yeast, bread mold, algae, duck weed, moss, Epsom salts, bluing solution and copper crystals to add a dynamism. Strategically placed N scale model figures appeared to be overwhelmed with their surrounding ecology.

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Herstorical Context

The following portfolio of images date from my time at Vesper, and the evolution of a material philosophy and aesthetic. I continue to struggle with conceptual direction after graduating with my M.F.A in 2009. If you dare continue on, dear reader, you will encounter such tangential spirals and ontological wrestling as you have never imagined. For the brave of heart alone.

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