Birth of a Process

This new Saga Hill blog has come about because I had a design concept accepted into the 2012 Minnesota Landscape Arboretum outdoor exhibition “Dirt-O-Rama.” My concept is a big one—literally—as I am creating a 6 foot+ tall, felted structure (called “Earthly Coat”) that will be outdoors on the grounds of the Arboretum from June 2 – October 14, 2012.

In addition, I also have my first major book coming out this year (Yarn Works: How to spin, dye, and knit your own yarn, pub. Voyageur Press), and this forum will help me post news that comes along with the adventures of “authordom.”

So that’s why I’m here in the “blogosphere.”

Some background on the Arboretum project… In late November of 2011, I found out that I was one of five artists accepted into the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum annual (mostly) summer exhibition. Here’s a link to the Arboretum webpage that lists the other artists and a brief description of their projects: Dirt-O-Rama artists. It’s exciting being a part of this great group of artists!

[BTW… This will be my second installation at an Arboretum summer exhibition. My last installation was “1 in 10,000” (2009) and was a grouping of 100 stainless steel gazing globes installed on the ground under the over-reaching branches of a very old, majestic oak tree. It symbolized the statistical fact that, out of 10,000 acorns, only one will survive to become a tree. I’m proud to say it was a popular exhibit and so cool to see in real life. In 2010, I nearly made it into “Waterosity,” but ended up as the first runner-up. (Hey, if anyone has about $3,000 and a nice, expansive tree with pavement beneath and wants to see light dancing around like snow in the middle of summer, contact me! I still want to see that installation happen.)]

First, you may wonder… what the heck is “Earthly Coat”? Well, the theme of the exhibition is Dirt (or the word I prefer: Soil). My installation idea centers around the fact that soil is the “coat” of the earth and that nearly all of our garments also come from the soil, directly or indirectly. Experientially, I want people to have a sense of wearing the earth. So “Earthly Coat” will be a 6+ foot tall wool coat that will be accessible to visitors (essentially like a tent structure) so when visitors enter the installation, they enter the clothing of the earth–and, in a broader way, will also be wearing it. There are other issues that come to the surface with this concept (no pun intended) such as the fact that clothing is one of the first items of human creation to disappear into soil and leave no trace (just as we return to the soil–ashes to ashes), ecological ramifications of how we care for our earthly coat, and a number of other issues that will reveal themselves to visitors as they experience the installation. I will be needle- and wet-felting the exterior of the coat with designs of flowers, grasses and other natural things that are found on the exterior of the soil; and on the inside of the coat, I will create felted designs of roots, stones, creatures, etc. that are found within the soil. My intent is for the coat to appear raised up out of the ground so the hem will be buried into the soil and, hopefully, over the course of the summer, may support some growing life of its own!

So that’s it, in a big nutshell (sorry about being so punny)!

Here’s an image of the model I created for the proposal:

Earthly Coat model

About wendyj-sagahill

I am a textile artist, designer, and author.
This entry was posted in "Yarn Works" book, Earthly Coat and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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