Jessie Lamworth ’18 on her collaborative piece “Memory in Wood”
Jessie Lamworth’s “Memory in Wood” was made with the help of Ben Horwitz ’17 and is currently installed at Green Engine Cafe. Below, she details her methods and interests as well as the story behind the sculpture “Memory in Wood.”
In the spring semester class of sculpture with Markus Baezinger, we were prompted to create a piece that curated a collection of things, focusing on the display and arrangement of whatever collection we chose to include. While many people collect tangible items such as stamps, coins, books, etc., I thought about what is universally collected among human beings: memories. I started playing around with the wood in the sculpture shop to create a shelf; a common device on which people display their collected items. The more time I spent with the material, the more I realized how the way trees recorded time (known as dendrochronology) was similar to the way in which we “collect” our memories: as we grow, we internally record certain events, shaping and building our personal structure and character.
Thus I attempted to bridge the natural with the man-made to illustrate the complexity of memory. I abandoned the right angles of a typical shelf unit and instead mimicked the beautifully flowing natural curves that occur in the wood grain. The dips and slopes in the shelves leave gaps in the collective memory flow, while each wooden block is carefully poised. The blocks, though similar in shape and size, have unique, beautifully and naturally ingrained pattern on each of its sides. The piece is not to be taken as a literal representation: I am excited and pleased every time someone has a new interpretation of the work. [In my work] I enjoy pushing the boundaries of materiality and ordinary objects. I see faces in sink faucets, animals in tree branches, giant tetris games in warehouse window panes. I play with puns and witticisms, making Che Guevara out of chili powder and a chicken out of egg shells. I am not studying fine arts, nor am I trying to perfect a skill. I love typography and calligraphy, oil and watercolor paints, woodworking and model making. Much of my work is simply playful and amusing, however I hope to develop a more provocative or cause-driven voice in my work as well.
-Jessie Lamworth ’18