Karen Miranda Abel

Earth Pods: A year at Triangle Prairie

Earth Pods

A year at Triangle Prairie

Walpole Island First Nation, Ontario

Earth Pods: A Year at Triangle Prairie is a series of 22 seedpods cast in bronze using the lost-wax and natural burnout methods. The large, fallen seeds were collected from the base of a Kentucky Coffeetree (Gymnocladus dioicus) — a rare Carolinian tree species in Ontario — at the edge of a tallgrass prairie on Walpole Island, locally named Triangle Prairie. The bronze sculptures were buried in the ground around the parent tree in August of 2004 for one year to obtain a natural earth patina.

The special project location required collaboration with residents of the Walpole Island First Nation to complete the site-specific burial and subsequent excavation of the work, exactly one year later to the day. Before commencing the site work, a traditional tobacco offering ceremony was conducted with Clint Jacobs, Natural Heritage Coordinator of the Heritage Centre and local Pottawatomi resident.

Gallery images show an installation of the sculptures after being excavated from the site. The work was installed in the gallery space as a re-enactment of the site-specific process. The coloured patina on the bronze is the result of prolonged exposure to the elements combined with the soil and mineral composition at the base of the tree.

The project was completed with the permission and supervision of the Walpole Island Heritage Centre. A special Chi Miigwech to Clint Jacobs, Lindy Altiman (metal detectorist), Ralph Jones (landowner), and University of Western botanist Dr. Jane Bowles, for their generous and most memorable participation.