The Great Dig

But First, The Staking

On Monday, I staked the coat location at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. The staked area is 10-feet wide to accommodate the width of the metal supporting structure and the coat ends that will be flared out and buried into the soil edges.

The Arboretum was humming with school groups and as soon as I pounded in my first stake, a half-dozen school children came running up the hill shouting “Cool!”. I don’t have a clue about what they thought was so cool about a single stake in the ground but they must have been seeing the potential of a single stake marking something grander. Oh children, just wait until the structure starts forming!

As you can see, “Earthly Coat” will be at the top of the hill above the Sensory Garden and Wildflower Garden parking lot and just outside of the Rose Garden. If any of you had visited my “1 in 10,000” exhibit a few years ago, this year’s exhibit is just a bit farther down the hill from “my” grand oak tree.

The site I was given was my first choice and where I sat and visualized the exhibit during the introductory project meeting in the fall of 2011. I was looking for a location in which people would have a great view of the beauty of the surrounding grounds while standing or sitting within something that made them feel like they were wearing the earth. (I hadn’t fully developed my coat idea at that time.) My hopes are that this panoramic view on the hill will give a regal feeling of wearing the earth via the coat. Just down the hill, you can see the Ordway Picnic Shelter. When you come out, plan to bring a lunch and enjoy the view!

Final Sewing Details

On Tuesday, I had to tear down the supporting metal structure and get it out of our dining/living room so I would have enough room to attach the coat sleeves and collar. The coat is HUGE! For the past few days, I have been sitting in the middle of the opened space like a queen (or perhaps Mother Nature?), with the coat gathered around me, while I’ve been stitching the final details by hand. The hand work has been especially enjoyable after all the rush, rush of the main construction. It feels meditative. And every time I sit down to work, my pup Rose comes over to lie down on “her” coat. She is REALLY going to miss it.

The “Great Dig” Day

Yesterday, Thursday, was The Great Dig Day. I had a “crew” of 5 generous friends and family who “volunteered” to help out. (Actually, my friend Tom said he shouldn’t have answered the phone the day we called seeking help! Funny guy.) Fortunately the ground was kind to us and broke quite well with shovels. An hour and a half later, and after coping up with 25+ mph winds, we had dug out an average of 6 inches of soil across the entire 10-foot diameter pit. That soil will be placed back around the structure and coat when the installation is complete.

The main digging crew, minus my sister, pausing to photographically record the historic moment.

My friend Rita and I are digging out the edges of the pit.

Tom expresses his “joy” at a job well done.

Here’s the result of our labor: The Pit!—waiting for the next step: Re-construction and placement of the metal supporting structure.

Our eyes are to the sky for the next 2 days. Thunderstorms are threatening. The structure and coat are scheduled to go up this weekend but I think I’ve scheduled the installation to avoid the worst of the nasty weather that may be coming. Crossing fingers…


About wendyj-sagahill

I am a textile artist, designer, and author.
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1 Response to The Great Dig

  1. Will to Work says:

    Wow! It’s really real now. I can’t wait to see the coat live.


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