Embark/Embrace

Submitted by Janet Austin

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Client: Lakedale Resort

Location: Friday Harbor, United States

Completion date: 2018

Artwork budget: $40,000

Project Team

Artist

Janet Austin

Janet Austin Art

Artist

Shelley Bogaert

Artist

Anthony Heinz May

Overview

“Embark/Embrace” begins as a red cedar log felled on its side at the edge of a lake. As it extends out from the water, it explodes into large splintering shards of wood that eventually form into a split rail fence, meandering and arbitrarily dividing land, and water. Temporary transformation of red cedar log into a fence will ultimately make its return to nature over time. Red Cedar is a beneficial habitat for many native creatures, represented by bronze sculptures of salamanders, toads, voles, snails, snakes, turtles and beetles.
Dimensions: 180’x20’x8’
Materials: Western Red Cedar, Yellow Cedar, Bronze

Goals

Located in a resort where families enjoy outdoor activities, integrating the sculpture into the landscape and allowing exploration and access was a prime consideration. Enhancing the beauty of the landscape, durability for climbing, educating guests on the environment and encouraging interactive components were the main goals, inherent to the design.

The beautification of the landscape was achieved by accentuating the space along the bank, breaking it with the meandering tree to fence. The use of red cedar, found throughout the resort in fences, connected the work to the resort’s aesthetic.

The education will continue as guests engage in a treasure hunt for the small bronze creatures, native fauna, which find shelter in the crevices of the installation.

The interactive element will continue as guests create and place mushroom-shaped cookies, fitted to be placed along the base of the sculpture as it becomes a fence.

Process

The collaboration process began with a discussion among the three artists: Janet Austin, Shelley Bogaert and Anthony Heinz May to define the goals of the project. A site visit helped to determine the location of the sculpture and the material- red cedar, used extensively by Pacific Northwest Native Americans as a primary material for buildings, art, clothing, rope, canoes, vessels, etc. The artists wanted a material that was locally sourced, and had the potential over time to decompose and return to the earth. The material was procured through a collaboration with a neighbor, a long time wood worker with a saw mill and a seemingly unending supply of trees and split railing.

The staff at Lakedale Resort supported the project in many ways, providing food and lodging, excavating space for the tree trunk, loaning tools and consulting on safety and accessibility.

Additional Information

The division and acquisition of land depends on a concept that states a parcel or plot of nature exists for purpose of claim. Inasmuch, nature is an impossible sale-point and portrays overarching enslavement of land. Nature is essentially chaos, depending on values beyond the scope of economy and capitalization while surpassing spurts of materiality and human destruction that tries to hold it hostage. Nature is only contained by nature, not by human regulation, as man would prefer. Boundaries are arbitrary as they ultimately signify division of being and existence rather than pronouncing universality by nature.