Biostrata Residency Week One: Sharktopus

This was the first week of my Biostrata: Cutaway Ecologies artist residency. I am so thankful to be working outside in the Culture Garden at the Charlotte Street Arts Centre. Every summer I feel so justified in shirking my work, because, well it’s summertime, and the outside calls to me. This year it’s different because I get to exercise both of my passions, art and nature, all at the same time. I think I’m onto something here.
Shark Octopus Nesting Sculpture_2

This project is all about connection between organisms. I’ll be making three nesting sculptures, each showing a different biome. So, naturally, I started the week off by researching biomes, which are areas of similar climate which house similar animals and vegetation.

Shark Octopus Nesting Sculpture_3

Fun fact: an increase in altitude acts the same as distance from the equator, in terms of which biome you find yourself in.

Tuesday is not only research day, but also design day. I started by choosing the different animals that would be represented throughout the residency, and then made little polymer clay models to get an idea of form.

Fimo maquettes for biostrata sculptures Wm

When I say nesting sculptures, I mean that in the sense of nesting dolls. These will be sculptures within sculptures. The first ecosystem I’m working with is the marine biome, and the first piece represents an apex shark.

The innermost layer will be an aquatic terrarium like you have seen in some of my previous work. It contains a Marimo moss (actually a form of algae) and shows the base of the food chain.

Shark Octopus Nesting Sculpture

Around this is a stone sculpture which shows an octopus or squid type creature, something tentacley that would be delicious to a friendly neighbourhood shark. This acts as skeleton to the skin.

Shark Octopus Nesting Sculpture_1

The skin layer is flexible textile and plastic. When finished, it will be painted with the habitat of the shark: water and those neato underwater rock formations and hydrothermal vents.

He is made up entirely of other creatures and his environment. Without them he would have no substance, and could not go on holding the shape of a shark. We humans are not exempt from this rule either, we are all made of what we eat and live with.

Shark Cotton

This week you can stop by Tuesday-Saturday from 9-5 and see the skin painted, the stone refined and polished, and the whole thing put together. To find out how you can follow along and participate, visit here.

 

Travelling Vest

Travelling vest embroidery - Allison Green_5
Travelling Vest

All natural materials. Cotton canvas exterior, hand-dyed silk lining, embroidery floss.
© Allison Green 2012.
Modelled by Megan McGeachy.

Hand-embroidered vest fitting the theme “By Land, By Sea, By Air”. Land is shown on the left panel with a train, a bison, and a tumbleweed; sea on the right with a boat, a whale, and a jellyfish; air on the back with a plane, a bird, and a bug.

Modelled by the artist at “By Land, By Sea, By Air”, a wearable art show for Transport Canada. Scroll down to see video of the event by Charles Harding (visible 3:54 – 4:09).

Travelling vest embroidery - Allison Green Travelling vest embroidery - Allison Green_6

Burning of the HMS Iapetus.

This acrylic painting is currently hanging at the Isaac’s Way art auction. It was made by the boy that I like to call mine. I am quite fond of it and wish we didn’t have to send it away. Ah well, there will be more. In fact his father told us the other day that there is an un-built model ship with his name on it, from when he was a kid. Can’t wait to see that. Hope he doesn’t set it on fire…

For your interest, Iapetus is the Titan of Mortal Life. He is father to Epimetheus (meaning hindsight), Prometheus (meaning foresight), and Menoetius (who died in a flash of lightning).

You are the grand HMS Iapetus and your main sail is aflame.
You think about the hundreds of men you carry in your belly and the scores of cannon you hold on your flanks.
You ponder your terrible might as a proud ship of the line and all you can think is what it would be like to be a whale. For even just one minute.
To slip beneath the infinite ocean.

-Warren Steeves