Guest Artist Anne Blackburn speaks and carves tomorrow, 6-9pm

August 27th, Saturday: Guest Artist Event, 6 – 9pm;  Artist and Lo-Fi Arts Festival curator Anne Blackburn Artist Talk and hands-on demo of book-carving for her environmental installations.  Photos and films from her two-year installation of human-made shelf fungus.

Earlier this summer, just a week before I started Solstenen project, I had a small exciting adventure at Smoke Farm with Anne Blackburn.   Smoke Farm has popped up its amazing acreage into my work before;  I’ve walked all over the place, made a film, done photoshoots…but it continues to yield hidden places and surprises.  Anne took me to one; her two year Shelf Fungus Project.  I’d heard about it…seen some pictures floating around, and had missed it at the last Lo-Fi.

Teeth Marks....

Teeth Marks....

I always imagine  Anne so immersed in her work — which also includes curating and organizing and gathering people together — that she doesn’t really do the full onslaught of ‘marketing’ that seems the norm for our age.  And I’m glad…not really knowing all I wanted to know from the computer put me in the position to get Anne to take me on a hike to see her woman-made Shelf Fungus.

After a hike down a path I was familiar with, we took a sharp turn towards the mountain and under some evergreen boughs that opened up into a cathedral-like clearing where you can’t see the sky.  The most striking element were the many very tall old-growth stumps, with the notches carved a century ago by lumbermen, tool marks still very much visible.  Each stump now has a 50 year old ‘new’ tree sprouting out the top, creating this dense canopy, but also very much showing the process that Smoke Farm itself is undergoing; renewal in the form of decay.  Once harnessed and used for human industry, the land, the trees, the water – through human care and the unceasing urge of nature to renew – are changing back (or changing forward) to a wild place….or a place that references the wild place it once was and can never truly be again.  It was easy for me to see a time-lapse in my mind of the clearing of the land, the farm being built, the cows, the effort, the lives made and past.

I could see the trees head to the saw mill and go through a myriad of processes to become any number things to meet  human needs, including books.  Then in this little village of massive stumps, we see Anne’s human-made Shelf Fungus….made of books.  Again, I can see another time-lapse of paper being made, books being bound, and used for half a century — law books about property rights, no less — then discarded when the weight of digesting information in that form became too cumbersome.  They became trash.

Until Anne Blackburn takes them up, carves them like one would if they were wood (because they are…..) and makes them back into the image of something they once were, a flourishing opportunistic organism, an ecosystem.   The tools marks remain, just as they do on the stumps in that old and new forest.  Then she sets them back into the forest, to decay and renew at the same time; in private, the only audience the life that goes on around them, and sometimes with human visitors.  Anne, an enthusiastic scholar of land art, science and the gathering of human effort, asks ‘when is the work done’ ?

On hearing that the Fungus project was nearing an end (if there is one….), and that there were miles of unedited footage of days and nights passing before a little wildlife camera trained on the Fungus installed, and the incredible overlapping of cycles of destruction leading to creation, leading to destruction leading to creation…some by human industry and need and some by the ever-pervasive natural cycle, I really wanted to learn all I could about this work where the edges seem to bleed over, and share it with everyone through my time at The Project Room.

Please join Anne and me, as we look over images, and artifacts, actual pieces removed from the forest (as books always are anyway…) and explore ideas about when anything made ever really ends. Have some treats and join us for conversation I’ll turn into a Solstenen Artist Profile.  We’ll add one more layer to how ‘work’ evolves and lives on….when it inspires.

See even more images in the slideshow below…

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Updated Guest Events Added to the Events Calendar!

The Solstenen project residency at The Project Room has a little less than two weeks to go before I take Solstenen to the privacy of my own studio.  So why not pack these last two weeks with events and terrific people!  Here’s a list of the newest events scheduled.

  •  August 25nd, Thursday – 31st, Wednesday, Guest Artist Installation, on-going – please drop by; Vis-a-Vis Society’s Sierra Nelson, Interactive Rune Poetry installation “Runasafn / Rune Library”.  Poems written during a residency in Iceland, Sierra shares them by having you choose a rune stone which corresponds to a poem, you fill out a library card and take your poem home.
  • August 27th, Saturday: Guest Artist Event, 6 – 9pm;  Artist and Lo-Fi Festival curator Anne Blackburn Artist Talk and hands-on demo of book-carving for her environmental installations.  Photos and films from her two-year installation of human-made shelf fungus.
Anne Blackburn's Shelf Fungus book

Anne Blackburn's Shelf Fungus book

  • August 29th, Monday, Guest Artist Event, 11 am – 2pm; Mini-residency with Wood Sculptor/Jeweler and sweets enthusiast Julia Harrison, sharing with me some techniques to carve wood shoes!  Then at 5 – 6:30pm;  Julia does a show and tell of works-in-process,  images and conversation…and special treats!
  • August 31, Wednesday, Guest Artist Event, 6 – 8 pm;  Poet, text-based artist and data-Dadaist’ Sierra Nelson comes in for ‘show and tell’ and conversation about her own journey to Iceland for the SIMS artist residency.  She’ll share her interactive surveys on ‘sending and receiving’ and photography of forgotten intimate spaces of Reykjavic.  And we’ll be making Icelandic pancakes!