From The Earth

Submitted by Martin Webb

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Client: Huntington Beach Senior Center

Location: Huntington Beach, CA, United States

Completion date: 2018

Artwork budget: $100,000

Project Team

Industry Resource

Mikael Kirkman

Trainhole Studios

Artist

Martin Webb

Martin Webb Artist

Client

Chris Slama

City Huntington Beach

Overview

An installation of sixteen ceramic clad columns for the garden of a newly built Senior Center in Huntington Beach.

Goals

The garden is a quiet reflective space and I wanted to propose some art that was human in scale, was dispersed throughout the garden and it's planting, and would reveal itself slowly as people explore it over repeated visits. The Center is located in a City park and adjacent to a nature center, so I drew on imagery of the plant-life around, and also noticed the abundant birds and monarch butterflies. One time whilst I was photographing the garden and pondering potential images, a big jackrabbit jumped out of the bush I was standing next to and ran across the lawn. It was a striking image that I immediately latched on to. First of all jackrabbits and hares make great shapes to work with, and are playful, energetic, and peaceful – all great qualities to bring into the garden. I took the jackrabbit images and mixed them with plant images, abstract designs, and phrases sourced from the Center's users in a fragmented, puzzle-like way that the use of tile encouraged.

Process

The piece comprises sixteen columns with hand made and hand glazed tile. The materials had to be durable in the strong sunlight and coastal air so I worked with Berkeley ceramicist Mikael Kirkman who handmade all the tile, developed glaze colors for me, and generally gave me constant technical support.