Susan Shantz - The Beginning of the Hibernaculum
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I think that piece, the one that’s at the MacKenzie, the Ash Cabinets, and the large wall that accompanied it, the hibernaculum wall, they came really directly out of living on the acreage.  And some of it was the contrast I noticed between an Ontario woods where I had been hiking before and then coming out here and walking on my land because the aspen woods would just be toppling over if there was a big windstorm, the trees would fall over.  And I guess their lifespan is 40 to 60 years.  So I could hear them outside the house, right behind the house if there was a windstorm, and you’d go out and there would be more trees on the ground and new ones shooting up.  So something about that movement, I was much more aware of the movement and of time in the landscape and how much more quickly it cycled through.  And then often my work starts with a gesture, so I remember walking one time on the acreage and kind of seeing a gesture in the corner of my eye of breaking twigs into pieces that were about the size of my palm and I thought, oh that’s interesting I’ll go try that out in woods, and I took a bucket out and I just started breaking the little twigs off the trees that had fallen down and collecting them in these buckets, and I’d bring them back into my studio which was the garage attached to the house and just piled them on the floor and go get some more.  And I liked…there was something about the process that interested me and often I’ll start my projects with a kind of gesture or a process and I don’t know what the final piece will be.  So those things kind of came together because after I got a pile of these twigs I was thinking what do I do with them and how do I arrange them.  And I think just going on those walks I would walk past the woodshed and I noticed the way we stacked the logs and I thought I could do that with my little twigs.  And I tried it on a window in the studio where I put them on the ledge of the window and stacked up a couple of rows.  And then I was thinking about the inside but when I walked outside I saw them against the glass, and I was interested in that contrast between how they looked like little ends, sort of little mechanical things against the glass, and then on the inside they looked very ragged, and kind of rough like wood.  So that led me to the idea for the wall, of making these large panels, they were three feet by seven feet and there were about 11 of them so the whole wall was 33 feet long.

Duration: 2:29 min
Size: 11297kb

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