I am very excited for my next project! I was selected as one of the textile artists to make an installation in an exhibition this spring called Natural Threads. It will be at the Heritage Museum and Gardens in Sandwich Massachusetts. My project is called Identitatum Arborum (The Identity of Trees) and involves wrapping six to ten trees with a knitted “bark” skin to change their identity. The knitted skins will be approximately 15 inches tall and wrap corset-like around the tree trunk.
Each knitted skin will mimic a type of bark from a tree that is distinctly different than the tree it is on, thereby changing the tree’s identity. For example a pine tree might have an oak bark skin or a cottonwood could have an aspen bark skin. Each skin will have a stamped aluminum tree marker with the new identity of the tree. I hope visitors will ponder a few questions when looking at the installation: What is identity? Have you ever wanted to change your identity or persona? Does your core change when you adopt a new identity? Why would you want or need to change? What elements of your new identity are you hoping to project or adopt?
In addition to the installation in the garden, I will take the designed bark skins and translate them into wearable art. I hope to publish the patterns for people to knit and wear so that they can change their identity or take on an element of the tree.
I am excited to start the project but also a little apprehensive that I bit off more than I can chew. Although, if I could design and knit 15 pieces for my Black Rock Desert residency in four months, I bet I can do this. I hope to blog a bit more as I explore my process and try to figure out how to knit bark. So to all three of you who look at my blog, stay tuned for (hopefully) more blogging and more insight into my process of creating.