Permanent Public installation
Commissioned by The Washington State Arts Commission
for Bow Lake Elementary, Seatac, Wa.
State Art Collection
This suite of four chandeliers, created for the children of Bow Lake Elementary represents the bounty, diversity and wonder of the natural world that has inspired human cultures around the world and throughout time. Using the motif of the classical four elements paired up with their respective four seasons, each chandelier portrays birds, trees and plants that have been selected from mythologies and folk tales from around the world. For millennia, human beings have marveled at the wonder of birds and their ability to visit both the earth and the sky, resulting in a wealth of bird lore in nearly every recorded mythology. For each season, I have selected birds to create that are considered protectors of children, patrons of children and represent ideas that are important to them – play, autonomy and the quest for knowledge. World mythology is full of comforters, guardians and associates of children who care for them along their journey through childhood. This collection of hand-stitched flora and fauna bloom at the threshold of the school, where children both enter into a nurturing world of learning and exit into the larger world to make their own way. The four chandeliers of varying height of 13-18 feet high, cascade down from the upper balcony in a gentle curve. The abundance of nature, and the mixture and collection of animals, plant and tree species from around the world, is meant to have a Wunderkammer feel (a Renaissance ‘wonder room’), a jewel-box of beautiful examples of the earth’s richness and diversity. The chandeliers are made from steel armatures that are then sculpted over with paper mache until they are solid. The fabrics are hand-stitched wools and polyesters, and leathers for the birds, sewn around these forms. The leaves and feathers are all uniquely drawn, individually cut out and machine embroidered. There is hand-done beadwork throughout the installation. All fruits and berries are sewn by hand.