I had the honour of stepping out of my own life for a week and working in Troutdale Oregon, crocheting ivy for a sculpture installation.
Ken Colorado, an artist who divides his time between Vancouver and Troutdale invited me to participate in a show called Earth Art that is happening in May. I went down early to make something, and connect with some folks there to see what would come out of it. I did not have a chance to collaborate with the local community for the actual making as much as I had hoped as I was there for such a short time- but did have the realization that my sculpture is community engaged and location specific even by nature of how often the work takes shape in my mind from the conversations that unfold…
When I arrived I met Neil; owner of the old gas station/garage- where I was placed to work for the week as well as install the final piece.
In our initial conversation about the place, I found out Neil’s family has had the property since 1937, and he and his brother worked there as teens pumping gas. The pumps have been gone since 1987 but I could suddenly see the ghost presence of the pumps, added in part by the old ones in view at the general store where we sat. And the intention to recreate some part of that was formed.
As soon as I arrived Loree helped me to find the ivy that David from Portland had “scouted on line” . (Using Google maps and his learned recognition of the specific green of English ivy, David had judged where best I should go from satellite images- most impressive) Within a few hours of being in town, I had harvested material from the landscape, an action that also served in a small way as an ecological intervention/restoration. I had a studio and installation space to work with, a new friend in the community, and a game plan for what I was making. I had my work cut out for me..
I do not usually make things that are so object specific- this was sort of an odd departure and given my short turn around time; there was no going back, shifting direction, changing my idea too radically once I began. I did have a few moments of panic, ” what am I doing!” I suspect in time I will like the work, but am still too close to the project to really know. Seeing as how it is up and existing in Troutdale, I figured I may as well post in online too- I can always pull down this post later on if I decide I hate it..
gas, food, lodging
Through my week of working there was a constant din of traffic driving by on the old historic highway, when red lights forced a pause in the sound, birdsong took over. Sparrows flitted down and touched my knees while I crocheted ivy; so this piece is for the birds. The top holds birdseed, hence the title; gas, food, lodging….