This was an exciting week. I finished a job with Outdoor School which left a ripe 24 hours in every day to pursue some art projects. So when good friend and total ripper Andy Wuest left me a message about getting a space at the Widmer Big Chill Art Show I took it even though I only had 2 days to make something. The concept is 20 different artists get a snowboard to do whatever they want with. I started with a 159 Static. Judging from this promo video I found on youtube, they were a millennial brand with some Finnish following.

My idea was sticks, plants, and traveling. I started by applying a topographic map from New Zealand to the top sheet. After sketching out a layout, it was a long, slow process of weaving and gluing sticks, moss and lichens together.

Arrowtown quadrant

Moss is awesome, I taught a unit at Sandy River Outdoor School. I used a wheat paste to attach the moss so it would be able to soak into the membrane a bit without harming the plant. Moss is actually a plant, although it is one of the simplest forms, lacking roots, true leaves or stems. However it does have the ability to photosynthesize, which separates it from lichen, a symbiotic organism formed by algae and fungus.

Here’s where I was at after the first day. I wasn’t totally confidant that I was going to finish it by the deadline. A good deal of day one was spent collecting material and cutting out forms for the pop-outs and planter box.

My hope was that day 2 was going to be all attaching material. And it pretty much was. My shoulder started to cramp up from  the repetitive motion of choosing a stick, gluing it, and weaving it in.

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I thought I finished but something felt missing. I figured out the missing ingredient was more lichen. It’s such an rad organism; over 700 different varieties exist in the Pacific NW so I’ve always felt a hometown attachment to it. When you start to really examine the growth forms you see crazy colors and structures that resemble coral reefs. It absorbs moisture and nutrients from the air so lichen is also a pollution indicator. My backyard must be pretty clean because I was able to collect a ton of samples.

In the end, I was happy with the work and it ended up being sold to a good friend at a silent auction to benefit the Snowdays Foundation. All around good night and time well spent.

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