People Trap / Living Basket, 2020, 12′ x 28′ x 14′, dead tree limbs, blue berry bushes, red maple, poison ivy, Glossy Buckthorn, Sycamore Maple, Bush Honeysuckle

      The inspiration for the People Trap is rooted in both the contemporary and ancient world. The work is a direct reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. yet building a space for the purpose of  connecting with the earth is a practice that traces back to the dawn of society. Stonehenge was erected as a place for people to celebrate the world beneath their feet. Hundreds of years later, more was added purely to intesify the experience of connecting with world one felt within its presences.

      At the start of the pandemic lockdown I felt a purpose to create a space that encompasses the unique and pure relationship between man and earth creatures. Often we think of humankind being detrimental to health our planet, and unfortunately, many aspects of the modern world are true to that idea. However, people tend to neglect the fact that we are nothing more than just another animal and our connection to our earth has been simple and pure. Mankind has worked with the natural world far longer than we have worked with metal machines. The materials used to create this space are incredible simple, and showcase how easy it is for a single person to act in a way that helps, not harms the earth.

      This place is constructed from hundreds, possibly thousands of fallen limbs I gathered from the forest floor. Woven between these limbs are a collection of various living plants, some native and other invasive to the area. Native plants such a red pine, red maple, along with invasive species, like Glossy Buckthorn, Sycamore Maple, and Bush Honeysuckle work in harmony to fortify and support the numerous rows of dead branches. Due to the intervention and direct action of a single person, these species are no longer competing, but instead coexisting in a way that strengthens the surrounding ecosystem. Large canes of blueberry bushes supported by the arching walls reach further towards the sun. Many of the trees in this area were threatened by poison ivy. The fast growing vine chokes the tree’s trunk, eventually killing it. I carefully removed and re-directed the many ivy vines to the basket walls. By doing this I was able to utilize the attributes of the plant to further enhance the meditative space and protect the local timber.

People Trap interior

exiting the People Trap

All of this work created infrastructure for local animals species which promotes biodiversity. Animals of all sorts quickly found refuge within the space. The noise created by the movement of birds, squirrels, rabbits, frogs reverberates within the space, and encompasses you while you are within the work. This unique and ever present sound I can only describe as  loud and wonderful.