Thesis Works
Oregon College of Art & Craft
Spring 2003



The Thesis Paper

Vessel of Sustenance

 

The vessel in its botanical meaning, as a means to transport sustaining fluids through a plant form, is the subject of my first piece.  A vessel is formed in a plant when a string of cells collectively dissolve their interstitial boundaries and form a tube. These cells basically self-destruct in order to serve the greater good of the plant. In trees, only the hardwood varieties have this type of structure; softwood trees have a more primitive structure, and the presence or absence of this structure, rather than the hardness or softness of the wood, is what differentiates the two.

This piece is tall, like a tree, and segmented to suggest the cells. The bulkheads are pierced to imitate the dissolved cell walls. The strips spread at the base like roots, and at the top, like branches. It bulges in the middle to suggest the passage of nutrients. This piece is the most abstract of the three, and the simplest. I used steam-bending techniques to shape the outer strips, and finished the bulkheads with Tung oil.

I wanted this piece to suggest growth and upward movement, fluidity and extension.

 

 





Vessel of Sustenance

2003

18"dia x 11' high

In the Collection of
David Brennen

 

 

Vessel of Hope

2003

28h x 19w x 12d

In the collection of
Max Sturtevant

 

 

 

Vessel of Hope

 

This piece is based on the idea of a person as the embodiment or container of a quality.  I chose to make this a female figure because of personal aesthetics, and because the female body is often considered to be a container for new life.  I choose Hope as the quality for this figure to embody because I believe that conceptually, women embody the idea of new life, of refinement of the environment, and of hope for the future. Hope fills the figure with light and air.

The piece is human scale, to suggest that Hope is not a concept too big for us each to possess.  It is the most representational of the three, more complicated than the first piece, but still relatively simple.

. The bulkheads of this piece are shop-made plywood with alternating dark and light layers to suggest strength in diversity, which is an aspect of hope for our future as a species. The beech outer strips are steamed and then attached onto the bulkheads directly. I built an elaborate temporary support structure to hold the bulkheads in place while I worked.

 

 

Vessel of Transformation

 

This third piece in the series embodies a definition of vessel that I feel should be included, as it seems to meet all the requirements.  It is, in essence, a cocoon.  A cocoon is a construction that is hollow and sealed.  Contained within the cocoon, a creature is transported from one stage of life to another. Therefore I feel that a cocoon fits very easily within the range of meanings that already exist for vessel.

My cocoon is imaginary, yet recognizable in form. In this way, it bridges the gap between the abstract quality of Piece 1 and the representational quality of Piece 2.  It hangs from the ceiling to suggest a natural formation.  It is open and inviting, even after its occupant has left. It appears to be a place where a mental transformation is still capable of happening.

 This is the most complicated of the three pieces, involving fabric patterns and upholstery techniques. The ribs were steam bent and then laminated. Assistance in producing the fibers portion of this piece was provided by Kelly Hoeppner and Antoinette Millar.

 



Vessel of Transformation

2003

78 high plus the chain and 42 diameter.

(designed for 16' ceiling, can be modified)

NFS