Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Knitting a sculpture of Great Salt Lake overlooking Great Salt Lake

I am attempting to knit a sculpture. It is an experiment and might not work out but I want to submit something to the Utah Arts and Museum Painting and Sculpture exhibition and some of my pieces are just too “crafty” (read functional) to be submitted.

I, of course, am still interested in Great Salt Lake and lately I have been ruminating on its changing nature. Every time I go out there, the lake seems to be shrinking. It is almost at historic lows right now so the outline of the lake is very different than in past years. It became very clear when my husband and I took a trip on Skyline drive last weekend in the mountains above Bountiful, Utah. The view of the lake is spectacular but the low levels are very apparent.

The lake’s shoreline becomes more and more salty and white from the evaporating water. On the northern shores, the white becomes tinged with pink from the halorarchaea. The north arm of the lake is super saturated with salt and the bacteria flourish so the water is noticeably pink. So much so that you can see the difference from Google Earth! The north side became more salty when the Lucin Cutoff railroad causeway was built across the lake in the 1950s creating two distinct environments in the lake. Several reasons are given for this difference and you can read about them here if you are interested…or are a layperson Eco-geek like me.

All this crazy chaos of the lake has captured my attention. I am trying to knit a cross section of the lake showing the growing salty shores, the blue south arm, the pink north arm, and the pink-tinged salt. I am knitting it with steel and silk yarn that can be sculpted and molded when I am done. You can see me knitting the sculpture while overlooking the lake above. Like I said, this is an experiment. Stay tuned to see how it turns out.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Golden Spike!

This year, I have visited Spiral Jetty no less than five times, which means that I have also visited the Golden Spike National Historic Site five times. Golden Spike is the last chance for a bathroom before driving out to Rozel Point so of course we have to stop. But beyond that, the historic site is really a destination in itself for the majority of the non-art-nerds from all over the world. It was at Promontory Point at the northern end of Great Salt Lake that the two railroads met in 1869 to complete the first transcontinental railroad in American history.

Apparently, there was a lotof pomp and circumstance around the event. With drunken officials, multiple spikes and some staged events for dramatic purposes. Today there are reproduction engines that perform (with live steam!) every Saturday. The shocking thing is that the real golden spike is not even at the visitor’s center. It is at Stanford University in California.

The Golden Spike visitor center apparently has a reproduction.

With all of my visits this year, I thought I would create some quick-to-knit socks that evoke the great colors of the railroad ties and the golden spike. The textures, colors, and even the little railroad heel all remind me of the crazy way humans like to commemorate important events, with precious metals and ceremony.

So to commemorate visiting the Golden Spike National Historic Site five times (so far) this year, I have created the Golden Spike socks, maybe I should engrave something on them…