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Enviromental Art 3-Week & Squaw Rock

Hello Everyone!

I hope all students and faculty are enjoying the Spring 3-week so far!!!


This week has been the beginning of my 3-week class, Environmental Art with Professor Linda Bourassa. We are on a journey to find the answer to the question: What is Environmental Art? In this class we have been using natural materials from the environment around us as a medium and influence in assignments. It is a great way to experience the outdoors and become one with nature. The class has worked as a team to come up with a pond design we are building at Hiram Farm. On Monday, April 22nd, which was Earth Day, the class spent the time digging and shaping the pond. It is not done yet, but it looks great so far. The majority of this 3-week will be held at Hiram's Field Station. So far we have had a tour there; seeing the wildlife and work spaces available. At the Field Station, we have drawn animals that we have seen there, and created bundles using natural materials for a fire we created. The class designed bundles as a ritual offering to let go of any fears, worries, or anything that is negatively affecting our lives. It was a very positive and enjoyable experience. While the fire was going, we had a chance to celebrate with instruments, snacks, and exploring the Field Station.


Our current assignment is influenced by a local environmental sculpture, Sqaw Rock (picture is shown above). Sqaw Rock is a sculptural piece; a carving made out of a large sandstone boulder. It can be viewed at the South Chagrin Reservation. The piece is carved by Artist and Blacksmith Henry Church in 1885. In the 1880s Church began carving relief figures in Squaw Rock on the bank of the Chagrin Falls. The work is part of the South Chagrin reservation of Cleveland Metroparks. The carving depicts arrows and the four phases of the moon, a giant serpent, an eagle, a woman with a shell behind her, a dog, skeleton, and a baby in a papoose. Church said he created this as a statement about the loss of Indians' sovereignty over their land.

The class is to create a design that floats like Church's carving on the rock. We will include our "vision" self during our drumming and fire experience we had at the Field Station, the animal/reptile/fish we sketched and incorporate our bundle. Then, we will use hand made paint from ash and charcoal that was made from burning our bundles. The charcoal will be used to draw a big scale piece of the design we come up with.

We are hoping to take a field trip to Chagrin Falls sometime in the three week to visit Sqaw Rock in person!!!!

P.S. I am looking forward to the rest of the activities. I love the outdoors, and it has been so refreshing to learn and design outside, especially after being stuck indoors during the winter time. :-)

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Niesha Zeigler is an art major with a focus on digital photography. Since the eleventh grade, she has been intrigued with photographing people “ I love capturing genuine emotions of people and the reality of their lives. Photography is my way of showing that life itself is a work of art. I also love drawing and graphic design, learning about different cultures, listening to Korean pop music, watching dramas, playing video games, trying ethnic foods, traveling, baking, and practicing martial arts.”

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