Friday, March 29, 2013

sensory sculptures

My advanced sculpture class has been working on a project to create sensory sculptures.  The Lander Equestrian Center shares a campus with the Burton Center in Greenwood.  This proximity allows the Equestrian Center to offer Therapeutic Riding.  Recently a grant made it possible for the Burton Center to develop a Therapeutic Riding Trail in a beautifully serene patch of land behind their building.  The trail features grassy areas, flower beds, a cement walkway and a gravel path for horses.  The trail is open and accessible to walkers, wheelchairs and horse riders.  A few sensory stations had been set up on the trail and the administrators were interested in developing the idea of sensory stations further.

My first public art project idea was not able to be approved in time for the students to work on this semester, so when this opportunity became available, we jumped at the chance to learn about sensory stations.  A sensory station is some device placed along a trail designed to stimulate at least one of the five senses.  As visual artists, I figured we could nail the visual sense, but we all had to do some research to figure out how the other senses were normally involved in a trail like this.  The projects needed to stimulate a sense beyond the visual, needed to be safe for interaction and needed to work well with the natural environment.  

Last Tuesday we loaded the seven finished sculptures up on my trailer and made our way slowly and carefully to the trail for installation.

 Bethany created a seating area with a bamboo planter.  There are also hanging bamboo planters suspended from the twine at the top.  

 Whitney created a series of running horses out of steel.  Ten horses in different stages of trotting.  I'm pretty sure one of them only has 3 legs but don't tell her.

 Danielle (The Tavmanian Devil) created a giant abacus.  The sides are made of horse shoes and the blocks are made of wood.

 The blocks have textures and at least one on each row has a hollow interior with tiny pieces of steel and bells inside.

 Fred used the Equestrian Center horse logo to create an outdoor rocking chair made of wood.

 Jermel (Canada) came all the way back from Toronto just to weld again.  He used steel to create this tall wind chime and he drew the horse head with steel rods.

 Haley (HDawg) created a gear tree.  The tree is steel and the giant gears are made of wood.  There are handles at the low gear and high gear to make them turn.  Admittedly, her design was foolproof.

 Samantha created an arch for the sidewalk with spinning metal leaves at arms reach as you walk/wheel through.  Horse riders can tag the hanging metal leaves as they go by.  A large planter will be added to the left side.

 The Honorable Dr. Tom Pitts, art historian extraordinaire came out to help with the installation.  He showed off his skills with some power tools and even used the post hole diggers a few times.  I'm in constant awe of him.  He's a sculptor from way back.

And here's the group photo on installation day taken by Jeff Lagrone from our PR office.  Starting with the tall guy on the left, Jermel Kennedy, me, Samantha Brown, Danielle Tavernier, Fred Parker, Haley Floyd, Bethany Murray, & Whitney Price.

1 comment:

Java said...

Lovely sculptures! I'm fascinated. Can anyone (meaning me) go see the trail and the sculptures?

Doug, standing beside the really tall guy makes you look really short. Not that there's anything wrong with that.