Installation Highlights Beauty of Wool

Installation Highlights Beauty of Wool

By AMY TRINIDAD

Sheep Industry News Editor

(April 1, 2013) Wool will be in the spotlight in the upcoming site-specific light and natural material installation in Boston. The Lighthouse, a 70-foot tall wool and scaffolding sculpture will be part of more than two dozen public art installations from Boston Sculptors Gallery members on display at Boston’s Christian Science Plaza to draw attention to contemporary visual art and promote its prominent place in the life of the city.

Nancy Winship Milliken, an installation artist, says, “This new sculpture is important to my development as an artist because it is the first time my work will be installed in an outdoor public urban context.” Most of Milliken’s work occurs in remote, rural areas.
Milliken’s love for wool started when she traveled to Wales after college and stayed on a sheep farm, working for her stay. She has taught homesteading at a school that has a small farm with sheep and being from New England she appreciates how the sheep industry transformed the region’s landscape long ago.

 “I am using wool as a gesture of deepening the meaning of New England. The other reason I use wool is to bring texture back into people’s lives.” Milliken goes on to explain that wool responds to her touch when designing sculptures and is very versatile for outdoor use. It will transform as the weather interacts with it and viewers will be able to witness nature’s interaction on the material.

Once completed in May, the installation will employ scaffolding to surround an existing ‘lightbox’ on the side of a concrete building. The scaffolding creates an industrial platform for Milliken to weave 150 feet of raw wool collected from New England sheep farms. 

Milliken describes the finished installation as a mixture of urban and rural materials: the flowing, airy and textural natural materials providing a contrast to the static concrete and stone buildings. In addition to wool and scaffolding, other materials used in the construction of the installation will be steel, fishing net, silk and rope.

Milliken is looking for support of the project through donations and the opportunity to purchase wool from the New England region. She plans to use at least 200 pounds of wool in the finished piece.

Milliken says she is excited that the installation will be on display for everyone to enjoy without the cost of entering a museum. “I enjoy the whole aspect of public art, it’s for everyone.”

The opening date of the show is Saturday, May 4 with a public reception with the artists. The temporary installation will be on display through the summer in the plaza and taken down in November. Milliken will also have a show from June through August at the Boston Sculptors Gallery in which she will be showcasing the process of making The Lighthouse and also presenting new sculptures of wool, silk and steel.

For more information about the project, visit www.usaprojects.org/project/the_lighthouse  or http://nancymilliken.com .

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