Tyvek Innovative Uses Blog, by Material Concepts

Friday, October 27, 2017

Two Tyvek Art Works from Susan Knight

Hidden Magic and Water Bank Boogie are the names of two Tyvek art installations by artist Susan Knight. She excels at cutting Tyvek into various shapes and forms to create works of art. She describes her work like this:
An acute awareness of water drives me to examine aspects of it everywhere I live and travel. Water’s physical and metaphysical powers to unite, circulate, connect and sustain compel me to create patterns in two and three dimensions based on the physics and structure of water and the land around it. Patterns cut into paper, plastic, Mylar, and Tyvek reveal multiple aspects of environmental issues of fragile water, remediation and sustainability. My primary tool is an Xacto knife. The act of cutting makes me feel like Zorro.

Knight describes the Hidden Magic installation:
Hidden Magic consists of 12 suspended components up to 12 feet in length of hand cut 14-S Tyvek affixed to Borden and Riley paper. Folded Mylar spheres dangle in the fore-ground. It reveals a rain garden which is a small landscape depression designed to temporarily hold rainwater runoff from roofs, pavement and landscaped areas so it will soak into the ground to be filtered and benefit plants. Healthy rain gardens typically drain water within 12-24 hours so mosquitoes are not a problem. A wide variety of plants, including perennial flowers, ornamental grasses, sedges, rushes, and woody shrubs are selected for use in rain gardens to enhance biodiversity and adaptability to the wet/extended dry garden conditions.

The extensive and typically deep roots systems of the native and adapted plants that thrive in rain gardens are fundamental to garden function and health – yet their importance and beauty are normally hidden. The roots help plants to survive extended drought conditions; they increase pore space and water infiltration as they grow through the soil; and they facilitate water movement along their intricate structure. In addition, many root systems replace themselves over time, and the decomposing old roots add additional pore space for water storage and infiltration.

Rain gardens are a naturally effective way to manage rainwater runoff – but the beautiful flowers and textured grasses we typically see above ground are only a small part of a rain garden’s beauty!

Knight describes the Water Bank Boogie installation:

To hand cut these suspended pieces I employ a methodical way of hand cutting paper that fascinated Victorians in the nineteenth century. The dials and pods are constructed from 14-S and 1460-C Tyvek on Borden and Riley paper and colored with acrylic ink. The resulting porous texture of the materials mimics the porosity of groundwater deposits, a topic that has engaged me for several years. The implicit expansion capability of the material captures the physics of water and the architecture of soil. My use of color, red, yellow, green and gray is based on the colors scientists use to color code their soil samples sand, silt, clay and gravel.

Two notions inspire the installation, the interconnectedness of watersheds and the fact that the water is only as healthy as the soil around it.

My intention for you the viewer is that these particular pieces prod you to discover feelings and emotions about your own water associations and experiences and consequently open yourselves to a greater awareness of water issues.

Knight's installations have been displayed at various galleries in Nebraska, including The Kaneko in Omaha.

Many thanks to Susan Knight for the photos she provided, used here with permission. Thanks to Susan for providing the details on the use of Tvyek 14-S in her art works.

Tyvek 14-S can be purchased online from Material Concepts in rolls. Or contact Material Concepts for more information.

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