Insects, Kozo, and Climate Change and other news from the studio....Category: Newsletter — Jan 31, 11:47 PM
The Small Winged Life is the new installation art piece I've been working on for a year, which will debut this month at the International Fiber Biennial at Snyderman Gallery in Philadelphia. As an artist, I am making this piece to explore the mysteries and complexities of insect life, and to raise awareness about the delicate ecosystems that make life on earth viable for all of us. I made over 200 insects out of kozo fiber, seed pods, and many mixed media natural processes and materials. The insects are mounted on entomology pins and flow across the wall in patterns.
"Insects are the little things that run the world." Biologist E.O. Wilson "Our planet's essential functions would surely collapse without them...The vast majority of insects are inconsquential to our personal lives, but of critical importance to humanity as a whole " -Kaufman's Field Guide to Insects of North America
What is happening to insects with the warming of our globe?
"As temperature zones have shifted...insects are shifting with them. Swift, numerous, and astonishingly adaptive...they have taken advantage of new conditions and newly expanded habitat ranges with amazing results. The dynamic is well established. Confronted by regional increases in winter and summer temperatures, decreases in precipitation, and the reduction in the duration of freezes, plants and insects have fallen out of step- despite having co-evolved for millennia. The insects adapt at a rate far more rapid than the trees. There is little hesitation... in understanding [the insects'] behavior as "infestation"and "invasion". -[Hugh Raffles, Insectopedia 2010] The human response is often to increase the use of pesticides in our environment in trying to eradicate them. Repression is scientifically futile, and our environment suffers from the increase in chemicals. "Somehow, we have to cohabit." H. Raffles
How did I get interested in this new work? Years of raising silkworms, and having intimate contact with them brought me into close range, where I sought to understand in great depth their miniature anatomy and habits. I am fascinated by insect's mysterious communication patterns and ability to adapt to change. My desire to bring my art to address issues of current global significance led me to investigate how climate change was affecting the insect populations. In discussions with entomologists, and reading extensively on the subject, I am learning about how delicate our ecosystem is, and what an important role the insects play in sustaining life on the planet. I plan to continue to evolve this project, and develop the art it inspires, connecting with organizations taking action on behalf of the insects and our planet. I will keep you posted as this develops!
OTHER NEWS FROM THE STUDIO: I have a small Art opening this Friday Feb 3rd at Muse Floral, a small new flower shop and gallery space in downtown Boulder. It is inside the West End Gardener, at 8th and Pearl. The opening is part of First Friday, and is from 4 to 7pm. Hope to see you there! There are two more Spaces Left in the class "Papyrus Art" on February 11th. Check the website for details. Denver Botanic Gardens hosted me this month as their speaker in the Cafe Botanique series of lectures. I spoke about the silkworm collaboration pieces, and my recent work with insects. I will be giving a workshop at the Botanic Gardens on March 10th on Papyrus Art. It is almost full, so call right away if you would like to be a part of this experience in a great setting! This semester I'm teaching a new special topics class at Naropa for undergraduates. It's called Eco Art and explores artist's work with ecological issues. Lots of visiting artists, and exciting work is opening up all kinds of new directions, and I'm meeting some interesting people in our community. I love to grow in this way, and treasure my life as a teacher.
Jill Powers is a contemporary fiber artist living in Boulder, CO. She experiments with many natural media and processes. She has often raised silkworms in her art studio for collaborations.
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