Part Two: This Wish is Real

This is a continuation of the story I began last week about my installation, The Wish

Wish-cropped

I began The Wish installation without a venue in mind. First came the idea and much thinking; next I set the wheels in motion as I began collecting wishes and creating the parts. I had no idea where I would install the piece, whether it would travel, or what kind of place it might land. Having recently moved to Colorado, I wasn’t very well connected either. 

Making the abaca seeds required embedding 6 strands of thread between sheets of abaca, pressing the sheets and allowing them to air dry and shrink

The seeds were created by embedding threads in between sheets of abaca and allowing them to air dry.

But moving does have some advantages – one being that it forces you to meet new people. At the end of 2013, I invited the Vail Art in Public Places coordinator to visit my studio. We had a lovely meeting, and she’d clearly read up on me, asking about pieces she didn’t see in the studio and suggesting other people I might want to meet. As she was leaving, she mentioned that she’d received an inquiry from a library in Denver that was looking for a book artist to facilitate a community based project. I asked her to send me the information.

The studio after a day of making seed papers

The studio after one of 10 days of making seed papers: papers laid out to dry and felts drying on racks

When I read the project description from Anythink Huron Street Library, I felt like it was written for me. Don’t you love it when that happens? They were looking for a book artist, someone who could facilitate a workshop with their community, and a team player. I wrote the project manager a letter explaining why I felt I was perfect for the project. We had a phone conversation, and then a meeting in Thornton (2 hours from Edwards). I showed their team a couple of ideas, and they all gravitated towards The Wish. We had great fun expanding on the ideas of what it could become. I think we all left that meeting energized. 

As an aside, I wrote a bit about this innovative library system in this blog post.

Model for The Wish

Model for The Wish

I love synchronicity! The space that the library wanted the work to be placed in (although I was allowed to look around the library to suggest a spot) is a triangular shaped multipurpose room that looked like it was waiting for my sculpture. I did not have to modify it in size or scale… it just fit the room perfectly. And at that first meeting, I told the staff that I’d been collecting wishes from all over the world and envisioned a sound element for the piece. Miraculously, they’d worked with a sound artist (Jim Green) on another piece in the library, and they were willing to expand their budget to hire him to collaborate.

Workshop participant with her card and wish: "I wish that I have a successful future ahead".

Participant with her wish: “I wish that I have a successful future ahead”.

At our next meeting, I presented a model of the 7′ diameter dandelion as well as some of the actual paper seeds attached to bamboo stakes. The next step in the process was a workshop with the library community. I designed a pop-up paper dandelion card and taught participants how to make their own. We also collected wishes from participants at the event, which are incorporated into the sound component of the installation.

300 dandelion seeds traveling in the back of a van to be installed

300 dandelion seeds traveling in the back of a van to be installed

At this point, we’re getting close to installing The Wish at the library. Every part of this project required planning… like how to fit these 300 paper seeds on bamboo stakes into the back of a van! Stay tuned for the final installment of this story next week.

And if you live in the Denver area, please come to the unveiling of The Wish on May 30th.

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Are you interested in how these paper disks were formed? Watch the trailer for my video Water Paper Time to see time-lapse imagery of paper shrinking as it dries. You can also  purchase a copy here. 

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About Me

Hi, I'm Helen Hiebert!
I'm an artist working primarily in handmade paper; I write how-to books and make films about papermaking and paper arts; and I love learning about new techniques and methods for working with paper! You can learn more about me at http://www.helenhiebertstudio.com

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