On my trip to visit my parents in Arizona, I gathered a few seed pods from a Spanish Dagger yucca plant as I wandered around Monument Valley. This trip incited my urge to experiment with the seeds and discover how they can affect my creative vision.
My intuition recognized contrast between life and death; this catalyzed a symbolic theme of my project. I imagined a form with the joining of a yucca flower and dried seed pod.
First, I wanted to succeed at nursing the seedlings, which are known to take several months to germinate. My plan is to carve a stone vessel for the seedlings to mature in.
My intent is to experience the "old school" struggle of carving a 260 pound block of stone in a hot tent without power tools. I thought of the tent as the nomad's wikiup. It reminded me of how comfortable my lifestyle is through an industrial age. This tent also keep most of the stone debris inside for easier clean-up.
Stone with the start of roughing-out the form.
It is awkward and very uncomfortable working inside the tent, but I wanted this experience to challenge my threshold. Taking a break is very much a part of solving the design problem as much as a brief physical recovery.
Notice the form of a hollow pod. The seedlings will be transplanted into the carving, separated by basalt spacers that are the artist version of the black seeds.
I confess that basalt is one of the densest stones in the world, and that I had to use my industrial power tools to form the seeds.
With the cutting wheel, the seeds are beginning to take form. The seventh one is wet to show how dark the stone will appear, once polished.
The basalt seeds are polished and ready for installation with transplanted yucca seedlings. One of the yucca's shown in this image is thriving.
I wanted to show the viewer some of the contours and carving marks within the work.
I bring the stone out of the tent at this point.
I really like this chair, so I wanted to photograph my stone under the sun's rays. The carving is almost finished, but will be presented for exhibition with the yucca seedlings inside.
The exhibition is Autumn 2017 at El Museo Latino in Omaha, Nebraska.
The final work, Nomads that contain yucca seedlings, are separated by the basalt pieces. Finishing the sculpture by transplanting the young plants into the vessel brought me a profound feeling of bliss.
Copyright © 2019 Travis Apel