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Jane Ingram Allen

Sculptor/Installation Artist

"Habitats" Art in the Environment

a Collaborative Workshop Installation at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, 8480 Hagy's Mill Rd., Philadelphia, PA 19128.

Opening June 10, 2001. The installation will be on view until it decomposes and disappears.

This collaborative installation was made by a group of artists working together under the leadership of Jane Ingram Allen, artist in residence at the Schuylkill Center. The artists learned about making outdoor installations in harmony with the environment and hand papermaking with natural bio-degradable materials. The participants created the installation during a one week workshop June 4-8, 2001. The artists used handmade paper and found materials such as vines and branches to create an environmental installation based on animal habitats and the concept of home, shelter, nest, den and other types of structural spaces that are made by animals and humans. The participants felt that their work should not try to compete with nature or harm it in any way, but that they would use nature as a collaborator to create this artwork. The design of the piece uses the changes over time that take place due to weather and other natural processes as well as interventions by animals and humans. The artists decided that since nothing lasts forever, they would go with the flow of nature and create work that changes gradually over time and is beautiful and evocative in all phases of its cycle of life, eventually disappearing as mulch to nourish the earth.

Each artist participant developed a unique part of this installation, and all worked collaboratively to design and create this environmental installation. Artists participants include:

Bobbie Adams, Haddonfield, NJ

Sheila Benedis, Hastings, NY

Aileen Cramer, Princeton, NJ

Karen Frazer, Wilmington, DE

Bonnie Fuoco, Lewisburg, WV

Linda Louise Horn, Philadelphia, PA

Neila Kun, Malvern, PA

Tom McKeon, Philadelphia, PA

Barbara Spadaro, Philadelphia, PA

Peggy Wright, Dallas, TX

Workshop Leader, Jane Ingram Allen, Hamilton, NY

This photo shows the entry to the site chosen by the workshop participants as the site for the installation. Participants selected this site because it was on the entry road to the Schuylkill Center's main building and because it had a sort of natural entryway into the woods. The site also featured many interesting tree forms and large hanging vines as well as open meadows. The handmade paper markers on the trees leading to the site and at the entryway were created by Bobbie Adams and Neila Kun.

These photos show Aileen Cramer creating some handmade paper at the workshop and the nest-like structure she made for the installation using vines and branches and handmade paper. The photo on the right shows her nest after the first torrential downpour at the site.


These photos show Peggy Wright working on her structures of branches and woven raffia covered with handmade paper. Peggy worked on several smaller structures for the installation. Her creations were inspired by the tent caterpillars that we saw in many cherry trees at the Schuylkill Center. Peggy's structures were installed in trees at the site and made use of growing branches as well as the added ones.


These photos show Bonnie Fuoco's path markers drying and in progress and after they were installed at the site. Bonnie worked to clear and plan the paths at the site to give viewers interesting ways to move through the installation. She used some food coloring as a bio-degradable paint for her flag-likehandmade paper markers.


These photos show Tom McKeon's part of the installation both before and after the rainstorm that started the process of decomposition. Tom made a nest-like form incorporating some vines already hanging from the trees at the site. He included bird seeds and other bits of ground food in his handmade paper to provide some nourishment for visiting birds and other animals.


These photos show Barbara Spadero's part of the installation sited in the meadow behind the trees. She created a bed-like piece by removing some grass cover and using branches covered with handmade paper. Her installation changed only a little after the first rain.


These photos show Linda Horn's part of the installation, a large open tent-like shelter that viewers can enter. When inside the structure viewers enjoy the effect of light coming through the handmade paper. She used existing vines and tree forms to create her shelter and covered parts of it with circular handmade paper forms. On the right is a view of her structure after the first rainstorm.

Karen Frazer and Aileen Cramer worked together to make this part of the installation, a very large spiral form created with fallen branches and vines and using large suspended sheets of handmade paper. Visitors could walk into this piece progressing to the center of the spiral. As shown in the photo on the right, the first rainstorm caused most of the large sheets of paper to fall and begin decomposing on the stacked branches at the base.

Sheila Benedis created some coccoon-like sculptural forms from branches covered with handmade paper. She also used bamboo leaves and feathers in her part of the installation.which was attached to existing trees and vines at the site. After the first rain her handmade paper structures had beautiful feathery edges and interesting forms created by the wind and water.

These photos show Jane's part of the installation created during the workshop. She made a den-like shelter by re-arranging some fallen trees and branches at the site and covering some parts of the structure with handmade paper sheets. Since Jane as workshop leader did not have much time to work, she invited viewers to make additional handmade paper sheets for this structure at the exhibition opening.

For more updated photos of the "Habitats" installation as it changes over time, please re-visit this page. Jane plans to make some additional structures and perhaps some alterations to the installation during the month of October 2001 when she is completing her residency at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education in Philadelphia.

Updated July 8, 2001

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