Art gallery billows with 20,000 pipe cleaners

art installation Billow of 20,000 pipe cleaners

This post could easily start with a Q & A:

Question—How did I spend my summer?
Answer—Hand crimping pipe cleaners.

I was invited to create a site-responsive installation for the Sun Valley Center for the Arts in Ketchum, ID as part of a multidisciplinary project titled “Forests, Foraging and Fires.” Click to see the more of Billowcomprised of 20,000 pipe cleaners. It will be exhibited Aug 23 to Nov 12, 2014.

My work is a response to the 2013 Beaver Creek Fire, which devastated surrounding hillsides of this much-acclaimed ski region. I wanted to created a tactile presence suggestive of the permeability and density of smoke I imagined arising from the flames and darkening the skies.

This was my first experience using the material for an installation. I was intrigued by their unique properties—the fuzzy fibrous surface and twisted wired stem that functions as built-in armature. Lightweight, malleable, pipe cleaners are capable of generating multiple forms that can embody space in ways suggestive of both stasis and fluidity.