My practice has been flowing through a family of series: Lumenpear, Skyhull, and Seedpod. Together, it’s an ongoing integration of pear, boat, and seed forms with various imaginings, lit from within. They seem to me a sort of organic architecture, radiating goodwill: perched on table tops, alighting on walls, floating in mid-air.

I love working this way, making along similar imaginative streams with the same set of materials, processes, and techniques. Not only do the streams intermingle, I get to go deep into a way of making. Lots of room in the mix of familiar and unknown for sculptural play.

Below, you'll find posts on the new work as I waft back and forth between the streams, with the most recent pieces at the top.

Custom variations can be created by commission.


Lumenpear series: Aspearsa

















Aspearsa (Genus Pyrus aspersum) is a fusion of pear, garden and snail. 

There’s a child-like ambiguity in the plant forms: whether they’re flowers or fruits is playfully open to interpretation. 















One of the joys of this work is choosing how much of each element to include. Here, I opted for the spiral pattern of a snail shell but not its contour, so the form of the pear remains. Its leaf-like base is a nod to a snail’s extended body, as well as the ground out of which the garden grows.








With Aspearsa, I wanted to incorporate more muted tones and negative space. A sense of plants curving upward against a backdrop of light blue and off-white sky guided the many choices in configuring the copper wire armature and placing the spectrum of colored flax-fiber paper. 

I’m really enjoying the saturated colors contrasting these lighter areas: rising up from denser/greener growth, floating kite-like toward the top.




Aspearsa is approximately 24"H x 31"L x 15"W

Seedpod series: Waters of Mothers














The Seedpod 
series evolved naturally out of the Lumenpear and Skyhull work, but its roots go back to the earlier Shamanic Seeds series from the years of artmaking in Bali. An aspect of the form I'd immediately found intriguing back then was its allusion to the life-giving potential of both seed and pregnant belly.



Shamic Seeds version



These similar pieces were made from local, handmade banana leaf paper, and were opaque; they were essentially 3D paintings. I knew the studio practice would eventually come back around to exploring them in translucence, yet it came as a surprise when six years later the time was suddenly ripe. Long gestation, sudden birth...












It seemed a fine and fitting opening into this new direction to begin with reproducing the design of one of my favorites: Waters of Mothers Ever Pouring. This piece plays with the intersection of seed and belly: Water spills from moon, fish/seed emerges from the placental stream to merge with land.






One major difference in this new form is along the back edge: it's beveled to make the piece more seed-like, and to set up a radiant, framing glow (when there's less ambient light than here). With this new version, the front of the form floats out from the wall. Indeed, there’s now a front and back, adding creative potential for interplay as the series develops.

The upper end of this piece called for a duskier quality, so I introduced more muted colors in contrast to the vivid ones below. More of this interplay is in the works with the next piece.


These images were taken outside in diffused light, which allowed the piece to both radiate from within and reflect sky light. I love this confluence of inner and outer light, yet it's just one view of the greater range of potential. 


A Seedpod could be suspended from a ceiling as well, like the Skyhull pieces... 

Waters of Mothers is approximately 30"H x 25"W x 12"D

Skyhull: Sunflitten




A friend who is into Ayurvedic cooking says a balanced meal incorporates all the essential aspects of taste (sweet, sour, bitter, etc.). She says it yields a sense of all-around satisfaction, not to mention aiding in good digestion.

In my studio work, I incorporate the Elements of Earth, Fire, Water, Air and Space in a similar way. Like a fine meal, a work of art is a universe unto itself: a landscape describing itself by the arrangement of things within it. 

I find great satisfaction in creating translucent landscapes in which the Elements meet and meld in a web of curvaceous lines, yielding a sense of delighted wellbeing. 


Sunflitten arose out of a life-long love of sunflowers. Who wouldn’t delight in the kid-like sense of scale: looking up at them towering overhead, unabashed yellows backlit with blue sky? 

I’ve mentioned that part of what draws me to the Skyhull work is the perspective of being underwater, looking up and seeing a sleek form dangling above. So it was quite natural to imagine a floating boat and bobbing sunflower as a harmonious, single thing.









The fin-like keel also seems seed-like, as if a large seed plunges from the head, scattering smaller ones down into the watery depths below. Earthy reds and purples shift into marine blues at the lower end of the fin. Here, the seeds are perhaps fish swimming about.

The earthier colors at the center of the flower erupt into fiery yellows and oranges, the tips of which merge with yellow-greens into blue-greens—a mix of foliage and sky.







The branchy spar extends the web of lines out into space. This reaching-out gesture adds to the sense of forward motion. For me, this vessel would no doubt flit if it were suddenly, actually animate. 

There's deep satisfaction, too, in creating things with a feeling of fluid movement in a form that is indeed still.







Sunflitten emits a warm glow downward, suitable for sailing over a dining table. It also provides ambient light from the top, which features an aluminum reflector topped with a copper wire cloth screen. This means that there is no direct bulb light: all light emitting from the top is softly diffused. 

Natural light from a skylight or high windows lights this piece gorgeously during the day.  

Sunflitten is 32H x 25W x 55L

Lumenpear: Peariver


Peariver (Genus Pyrus riparius)
















Peariver revels in earth and water meeting, flowing together.


This new member of the Lumenpear series is a sculptural collage of river elements. Aside from the more apparent one pouring down the front, there are cool-colored waves rolling through from the back. As well, the undulating network of lines, colors, and shapes feel to me like water mixing and remixing afresh as it courses through a landscape.







There’s a soft shadow along the bottom of the piece, starting higher in the back, dipping down at the sides, then rising again at the front. So a wave, too, of shadow wafting through the earthier reds and deep purples at the base.


Visitors have remarked on a sense of aliveness in the Lumenpear and Skyhull pieces. In the many hours of birthing them, I’ve had time to contemplate its source. Turns out that it comes back around to what draws me to this work in the first place: the glow of wellbeing that comes from fresh-mixed light. 






Seems the aliveness arises in part from the constant intermingling of color. Along with that interplay, the light refracting through the paper mixes with light reflecting off it from outside. From this artist’s experience, these qualities of light at play quite simply delight the eyes and feed the soul.


Peariver is approximately 23H x 25L x 15W

Skyhull: Slipperfin



Like a bird, I’m drawn to meetings of Earth and Sky. This is a lifelong inclination, yet it continually blossoms afresh with new materials, forms and imaginings. The new Skyhull series flushes the assumption that boats must float on liquid, trades the ever-increasing pressure of marine depths for atmospheric expansiveness and light. 







Add to this a readily admitted container fetish, and the result is a sky-floating form, the surface of which might describe what’s in it along with what’s around it. Earth and Sky meet in this series in the form of a translucent hull, seen as if from underwater.

 

Slipperfin is the first Skyhull. Given the series' watery roots, a curvaceous form mingling boat and sea elements seemed a fine place to start. 

One of the joys of making this piece was the nebulousness of the intersection: The waterline strays, the keel is also a dorsal fin, and the cooler-colored lower surface seems more interested in revealing the teaming fish life than the boat itself. 

Slipperfin emits a combination of mood and ambient light. Its top is partially open, allowing the light from a pair of dimmable LEDs to spill upward, after having reflected around inside. There’s an aluminum reflector above them to aid in this down lighting effect, along with a wire cloth screen to prevent bulb light from projecting directly out. This creates a soft, lively upward glow, with the bulk of the inner light refracting down and outward through the colorful surface. 

Lit with LEDs and skylight.

 




There’s enormous potential for a range of openness on the top, allowing for adjustment of both the quantity and quality of radiance. With Slipperfin, I’m especially intrigued with the light invited in by the relative openness of the top: Whether the bulbs are on or not, ambient light passes through the piecelighting it from the outside in. Without the light of the bulbs, the reflector/baffle lends a lovely shadow to the keel. It's been a delight to have this hanging in the studio: joyous radiance day or night, on or off...

Slipperfin is approximately 52L x 17W x 31H

Lit only by sky light.



Lumenpear: Pearphin and Beetle Pear


Pearphin  (Genus Pyrus cetacea)

 




The pear’s form is exquisitely evocative, readily inviting others of similar convexity out to romp. It can be added to and subtracted from, yet retain its identity with a few nods to its bottom-heavy, tapered-top varieties. As fruits go, it’s a particularly amiable one, happy to go along with imagined fusions with a wide variety of forms. In China, it’s considered a symbol of fertility. Fertile landscape indeed for creative play!

Beetlepear  (Genus Pyrus coleoptera)











This new work evolved out of the Sky House series, which seems to have concluded its five-year arc with the recent Orcan Swallowtail commission. Make a piece to do with metamorphosis and one should hardly be surprised to have radical change come sniffing around. I’d been working in response to Balinese birdcages, inviting in other materials, facilitating the birth of various creatures in counterpoint to the cages’ original purpose of imprisonment. 


Beetlepear






The cages were always partial to some extent, areas of them sliced away in the melding process. With the Lumenpear series, beginning with Pearphin and Beetlepear, the translucently contained space remains while the cage element has entirely disappeared.

At the core of my work is the interplay of structure and sculpture: the impulse of the masculine to create a stable container in a realm dominated by chaos and gravity, and the feminine inclination to invite in the wild and natural.



Beetlepear




 






Pearphin 
When I first discovered the birdcages, they immediately struck me as little architectural gems on the masculine side of the spectrum, seemingly waiting for a balancing response. So I extended them with structure attuned to the feminine in the form of organic, curvaceous lines and surfaces. With Lumenpear, I’ve eliminated that seminal impulse, focusing on the mergence of the architectural and the natural throughout.












The bones—the emphatic lines of these pieces—look as if they’ve been drawn with an old-fashioned ink pen, with some bleed marking starts and stops. These intersections also reflect the way plants grow, with a bit of bulging occurring where stems and branches diverge. 







Pearphin 











This colorfully backlit confluence of human endeavor and natural growth resonates in my own bones, brings me back around to making more of this. Amid the chaos and difficulties of life on this wondrous, whirling blue orb: Yes, more of this. Thus, a series is born.







Beetlepear (with a mug for scale)



Much of the Sky House series was created in Bali, where I wasn’t able to make my own translucent, high-shrinkage flax paper. Lumenpear (like Orcan Swallowtail) features this long-fibered paper “skin” over a copper and steel wire armature. Each area of color is a separate, hand cut piece of paper. The combined surface is made more translucent, colorful and strong with thin layers of pigmented, natural resin-based glazes. 


Pearphin is approximately 25H x 18L x 14W 


Beetlepear is approximately 25H x 26L x 15W