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Laura Wilson – Two Spirals

I had the great pleasure of meeting and working with Laura Wilson in 2008 while I was living in Germany. She has a distinct sense of calm about her that instantly puts you at ease as if you’ve known her forever and I believe that her art is a direct extension of her warm personality and intimate connection with the natural elements. Laura was born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina and has a BA in Fine Art from Furman University as well as graduated from the School of Sculpture at Emerson College in England. Her artwork focuses on temporary and permanent site specific public installations incoporating the history of the place and future intentions in the forms. Laura works with materials found locally within a 50 mi radius and in collaboration with the local community. She has exhibited and had installations in the US, England, Italy, and Norway. She currently resides in Mannheim, Germany and Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Laura recently sent me some photos of a sculptural weaving of two spirals she worked on for eight weeks during the spring of 2007 in Forest Row, England within the center of Emerson College’s campus. In her own words, she describes the process and thoughts behind the piece…

Two Spirals with children

“The sculpture could be experienced by viewing it from the periphery or by walking through the spirals – coming in, pausing, going out – like a breath or a heartbeat.”

“The materials I worked with were local and natural, mostly wood and branches for weaving, collected within a 10 mi radius from the site. The spirals had a slightly raised center space with a sand path to walk through. A third of my time was spent in dialogue with college and local community members about the sculpture, listening to and incorporating their thoughts and meanings as I worked on it.”

Central space in the middle of the two spirals

“Having lived at Emerson College for three years, I wanted to create this sculpture to represent this unique location and as a result of asking whether a public artistic process could contribute to and encourage discussion about certain social questions such as:”

“How can one care for and create an inner quiet space in a community and also be open and inviting, allowing activity and even chaos? How can different people, cultures, courses, architecture and landscape come together during major administrative changes?”

Spiral: Looking Up

“My intention was to make an all encompassing gesture originating from the center of campus and extending to the periphery of the Emerson landscape and beyond to create a sense of a connection and wholeness. Because of the dark and heavy tarmac in the center of an otherwise beautiful and lush campus, I also wanted to lighten and lift the space in order to visually let it breathe and expand.”

Laura Wilson drawing the shape in the sand

“From the beginning with only the sand drawing of the spiral, community members would walk the form. After I placed the trees in the center, many students started walking the path, winding in and out of the trees, not knowing I would be weaving them soon.”

Laura Wilson placing the compost base

Center platform before adding sand and weaving

Laura Wilson weaving the spirals

“Once I began working on the sculpture, a friend told me that this arrangement of spirals is a sacred symbol for the Maori people called koru, which represents unfolding new life, renewal, growth, hope for the future, strength and peace, coincidently all qualities I hoped bring to this space. It is also the shape of the universe, weather patterns, the flow of movement through the heart, the yin/yang symbol, and vortices.”

Girl walking through spiral

“This public sculpture was a temporary installation intended to only be on exhibition for the eight weeks I worked on it. However the community felt strongly that it should stay longer and it was on display for four months. The spirals were used in many community gatherings, workshops, and festivities. I observed both children and adults spending time alone in the center of the spirals. Prior to the installation, the space was used simply as a path from point A to point B, but during this time, people stopped and noticed the space, the sculpture and each other.”

People walking through the sculpture

People walking through the sculpture
images via Laura Wilson

Lisa Town, Inspiration Wall

1 Comment

  1. Whaw, I had a almost same spirals in last project. It is good to see, that people has same ideas on all the world. 🙂

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