When researching and developing the artwork for the Hop-hornbeam (Ostrya) I was drawn initially to meaning behind it’s names. The name Ostrya is derived from the Greek word ostrua, “bone-like”, referring to its very hard wood. It is also called Ironwood. These thoughts led me to revisit my collaboration with David Taylor on our exoskeleton project and subsequent two person exhibition in the Parsons Building, Trinity College Dublin in September 2015.
The trajectory of my own practice since then has included the creation of sculptural elements that took on some of the physical and technical properties of abstracted corsets as exoskeletons.
Images above show the protuberance that I am interested in
The physiology of the tree was also a source of inspiration in particular the lumpy shaped protuberance that snaked around the outside of the tree. It was really interesting to hear from David Hackett that this growth is a direct result of the tree’s reaction to wind factors and it’s environment in general.
My favourite SEM imagery taken from this tree was the microscopic spiky thorn-like structures that were growing on the surface of the branches. See image below taken by Clodagh Dooley. Thanks to Daniel Kelly and John Parnell of the TCD Botany Department I now know that they are epidermal hairs, which are only visible on the very young twigs of the Hop Hornbeam.
All these thoughts and inspirations have led me to the decision to create a corset-like protective covering for the large protruding element snaking around the lower trunk. The artwork will be made from bright orange heavy swimsuit-like fabric, cut into various segments and sewn together using corset making techniques. Where normal corsets add boning (a plastic/metal strip inserted into channels sewn in the corset to create of to create structure) I will insert wire between each segment. This will allow the artwork to follow the natural lumps and hollows of the bark. Finally these lines will be accentuated by the addition of electric blue sticky fabric strips and spikes reminiscent of the SEM imagery.