Client: Park Hill Orchard
Location: Easthampton, MA, United States
Completion date: 2015
Artwork budget: $9,000
Eileen Jager Studio
Art In The Orchard
Art In The Orchard
“Chalice and Blade” is an installation of blown glass vessels hung from a scythe handle from an arching branch of an ancient apple tree at the edge of the woods. It’s designed to be interactive with nature and can be played like a musical instrument. It sways gently in the breeze like a giant wind harp. With time some of the bottles fill with rain water, seeds blow in, things start to grow.
Approx. 5′ x 5′ x 16”
Art In The Orchard is a bi-annual event committed to bringing art into unusual places. My installation was part of a larger sculpture park featuring work by 30 artists in all media. The orchard plays an active part in out local cultural economy.
With meaningful support and encouragement from the Easthampton City government, Easthampton and Massachusettes Cultural Councils, local business donors and supporters we are able to gather in this remarkable setting to view Easthampton from a whole different perspective. Once an abandoned mill town Easthampton is now a destination for the arts. This event has drawn over 30,000 viewers who come back repeatedly with friends, family and picnics. Additional events such as music, storytelling, puppetry and theater bring the orchards alive with visual and performing arts.
As an artist I had free reign to create something unique for the orchard that could withstand being outside in the elements for 4 months and 30,000 viewers. I collaborated with the orchards caretakers to select the best place for my installation where it could be easily seen, yet sheltered from strong weather.
I worked with a musician, dancer and poet to create an improvisational performance for the grand opening and full moon art walk.
It’s a pleasure and a privilege to be part of the cultural renaissance that my small city is experiencing. The amazing transformation of a sleepy old mill town revitalized through the visual and performing arts. Easthampton has become a destination for art and culture. It’s a testimony to co-operative, co-creative community standing in possibility and envisioning a brighter future.
“Chalice and Blade” is a body of work that continues to fascinate and inspire me. It’s the dance of feminine and masculine. The chalice or vessel, is round and open, that which holds and contains. The blade is sharp and pointy, that which separates and divides. What is the dance of shiva and shakti, how do they interact, supporting or opposing each other and how are they influenced by the forces of nature and time?