Time and Weather

The sheep are sailing today

 Pleiades is entering its eighth week of sailing meadows and fields in the Pioneer Valley, exposed to rain, gusty winds, heavy frosts, hail and even snow. Two full moons have cast their lunar glow on the land sails. Pleiades will be up for two more weeks, until December 12th.

moonrise over Pleiades

Putting an installation up in the fall has it's advantages and disadvantages. As a plus, the viewer experiences the wool with the beautiful changing colors of the season, hear geese on their annual migration as they fly over the sails, witness heavy dew and frost on the wool in the cold mornings.  Now, in "stick" season, the grey tones of the bare trees, November field and weathered barn provide a subtle backdrop for the natural shades of the wool. However, fall is also the time of year to herald in winter and temperature changes bring strong, gusty north winds and rain. It is of this that keeps me busy interacting and responding to the installation's natural changes.


 In my work I employ the interaction of physical elements on different materials. Using the sun to melt and sculpt, rain to weather and rust, ice to expand, even insects and animals to leave their mark. Pleiades is the first time that I have put work out in the elements and planned to  repair what time and weather has started. This has allowed me to get to know my materials even more than when I was felting the sails. One of the land sails has already lost it's interior felt and two more are close to losing theirs. I never know what I am going to find when I head to the field each day.

Electra (sail named after one of the seven sister stars) has lost most of her wool


Most of the repairs have been sewing, felting, exchanging bent masts, replacing new posts, mending a back. Wind, that playful element that upset the wool as I felted the sails into shape,  has proven to be the mastermind behind the changes in the installation; bending masts, stretching material and creating holes as the strong gusts usher in winter.

German helping me repair felt in the field after a storm


Wind also has been my assistant animating these triangular sheep as they dance in the field and create the weathered tufts of wool that stretch out beyond the luff of the sail.