Saturday, January 27, 2018

Do You Like To Work Collaboratively?

     Have you ever done artwork on one piece with several other artists at the same time? I never had until just a few weeks ago when I was invited to help create a set of art cloths to grace an exhibit at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida, my hometown. It was for an amazing exhibit put together by scientists and artists called  "A Better Nectar". The artist in charge who coordinated the exhibit is Jessica Rath and the artist who was in charge of designing the cloth is Madison Creech.
Cover of the Brochure

     It's about the fact that certain bumble bees pollinate certain plants in a very special way. They hover over the anther part of the flower which contains the pollen and vibrate their wings at just the right frequency to allow the pollen to be ejected out onto them. Honeybees can't do this. Neither can the wind. So these bee species are extremely important to keeping these plants on our planet. Many of them produce foods that are part of our diet.
A giant anther sculpture that makes sound of pollen
being ejected when a person stands in front of it
     Over the course of a three-day weekend, we seven artists practiced printing with screens, designed screens with images of pollen, finalized our design, and discharge printed it onto three purple silk cloths that were each about 4 feet wide by eight feet tall. Of course, since the discharge paste is toxic, we wore respirators when near it and while we printed. And we worked outside in a beautiful courtyard on the campus.
That's me on the right side.
two of the cloths almost finished

Ironing to make the paste discharge
Screening on discharge paste
     The exhibit opened with a reception on three different places on the Stetson Campus the other night. When you stood outside the art museum, they had a portable microscope that you could focus onto anything you wanted and the images were projected onto the outer wall of the building. The purpose was to get you to interact with the microscope and they had some set up inside focused on pollen grains.

An image of a sequin on my purse projected

Stitching from my purse projected

    Inside the art building were sculptures of parts of bumble bees' hives with speakers inside. A choral group had prerecorded sounds to mimic the the frequencies of the bees' wings. The speakers are linked to the weather station at our local airport and switch sounds to match what the bees sound like as they would respond to temperature, wind, and humidity changes in the real world. You stick your head into a sculpture and can listen to the changing sounds in real time. 

Jessica Rath, the sculptor, explaining

     And at the entrance to the science building is the art cloth we created. 
My husband and me in front of the cloths
     The flowers and bee are paper sculptures created by students. Notice the musical score (to represent the music of the bees' wings) printed near the top of the cloths.
     It was a magical night not only because of this exhibit, but also, because just a few blocks away, we attended a mind-blowing M.C. Escher exhibit at Museum of Art DeLand an hour before. 
So, the answer to the original question, for me, is a resounding YES. I loved working collaboratively and hope to do so again. And do come to DeLand to see these two exhibits if you can. The links above will give you the details and dates.
     I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday where you can find some interesting art quilt blogs. Please make comments on the artists' posts so that they know you visited. Thanks for stopping by.


  1. What a great opportunity! Thanks for the experience!

    1. I'm blessed to live in such a culturally active town.

  2. Interesting, Regina! And I like the attention to species that need our attention and help.

  3. Thanks for reading and commenting. And, I agree that it was good an exhibit brings attention to environmental issues and in such an interactive and visually pleasing way.

  4. Such an awesome and interesting project and exhibit. Congratulations on being a participant. I have collaborated on a couple of projects and they were good experiences, though nothing on the scale of this exhibition; one was a series with my son which was shown in a solo exhibit at Visions Art Museum in San Diego. I discovered your blog via Off The Wall Friday!

    1. Thanks for your interest. It is a rewarding and a learning experience to collaborate. That's quite an accomplishment to be exhibited at Visions. Congratulations on that.


Your comment is appreciated and will be posted after it is approved.