top of page
  • Writer's pictureSuzy Costello, workbooks

Art Studio Week 11 Oct 5-9

Making, researching and planning for Exposure


I visited the site in Muritai park where I collected lots of the cicada shells, in the hope of finding some inspiration and guidance on what to offer at Exposure. This was so helpful, just sitting quietly in the bush allowing it to instruct me. These are some photos capturing that moment -

...and this is the PLAN Stan - 3 stumps from the pohutukawa each used differently to express life processes and our absurd relationship with nature.

Object 1 - this large heavy stump will be suspended from the ceiling using a thick rope to suggest a swing used as a play thing. Underneath will be a cavity of the stump built from clay and the root structure of the tree stump will be made using clay from the bush and the little pots made for the cicada nymph

Object 2 - this stump is being sanded using the orbital sander to expose the tree rings. The negative shape of the stump will then be marked out using pohutukawa stamen scattered on the floor reminiscent of summer shedding around the tree

Object 3 - trunk placed vertical and debarked material laid on the floor

I have asked for a quiet area 5mx3m for Exposure and we find out on Friday who we will be installing with. We then need to negotiate how we will curate our artworks in this space. I am hoping we all have a nature theme and possibly install as if we are walking through a forest along a winding path, discovering things as we happen upon them.

I met with Raul to get some advice on ideas to install. This was very helpful. He suggested only doing two sculptures (bark and stamen) as they were directly engaged with the material and the other object felt man-made which didn't fit into the conceptual theme. He suggested using the photographs of cicadas rather than using the shells, as this allowed people more room to interpret and appreciate them. He paired the two close up together and felt the other should be placed separate from them.

He thought a book would allow more information about the cicadas so I am considering this - like the idea.

And he thought the plinths allowed the wood to become sculptural and enter into a fine arts dialogue.

Cool bananas ... will install in T24 this week


This is my get installation in T24 practising dispersing the stamen. It is a meditative process and different methods result in different affects. This is the result of gently dropping through fingertips over a central spot to achieve the pile. Surrounding circle is a broader scatter and the edges reflect the spiral motion of moving around the circle.

Shannon came to review it and suggested this was all that was needed for Exposure, maybe with the tree stump on the ceiling! Loved this idea, the simplicity of focus and consideration to empty space and engaging both floor and ceiling. Dani felt the pile was dynamic, showing the process of building up layer by layer and was more interesting than the circle. All good does look like a nipple though!

3.EXPOSING RINGS ON TREE After hours of grinding the stump (Tim thought I had done too too much!) here it is in all its splendour. I love it, all the lines telling the tree's story and the obstacles it faced over the years. I felt as if I might weep when the lines first appeared, seeing the circular tree when young and then its gradual reshaping and resilience - branches appearing then falling away, the phloem (the vascular tissue responsible for transporting sugars from photosynthetic leaf cells to root cells or developing flowers).

It was a living being and this patterning of rings describes its unique life history just as a fingerprint describes us. I wondered if we have growth rings inside us and what they might look like? Genome coding adapting our genetic inheritance to our lived experiences...maybe our growth rings are letters and code sequences changing and adapting?

I will make a book on the tree using the one I made for the socially engaged art practice that provided photo documentation of the growth of the St Alban trees only I will add the growth rings for each corresponding age of the tree.


Had a meeting today and this is the team I am in, feel happy about this. We like minimalist aesthetic with lots of empty space and Nina said last year it was the best curated area using T walls to create interest and a walking path. We discussed each of our artwork and how we might curate it.


bottom of page