A giant placenta sculpture! (it’s not as scary as it sounds)
My latest project evolved from an open artist call to model works based on the concept of blood – (https://melbourne.sciencegallery.com ). I was unsuccessful in my application, but I’m keen to see the community project realised. I plan to do this during Creative Gippsland’s Come & Play, All of May . I’ve invited a large team of knitters, dye technicians, seam-makers, crochet artists, and pattern makers, via Facebook Groups . We will construct a large-scale model of the human placenta. We’ll also make a long umbilical cord, and a wearable ‘birthsuit’.
The yarn used for construction will be sourced from reclaimed garments that are unsellable by Mawarra Opportunity Shop, due to damage or soiling. Every year, thousands of tonnes of garments are discarded, and some end up in landfill… check out this review on the ABC three part series “War on Waste”.
The sculptural placenta will be approximately 5 metres in diameter, and will depict both the smooth fetal side in bright reds, and the rough maternal side with its chorionic villi (NB. link is an actual photo, blood and all), in darker reds. The placenta will be suspended on an angle, approximately 1.5metres from the ground, inviting viewer inspection. The bright red umbilical cord will be approximately 7 metres long, and will attach to a greatly hooded, bright red birthsuit, resembling the fetal form when it is between 4 and 12 weeks gestation. This will demonstrate in three dimensional form the earliest origins of blood, prior to viable life outside the womb. The birth suit may be worn by viewers.
The artwork will invite tactile response. Due to the soft texture of the knitted and crocheted sculpture, viewers will receive intense satisfaction from holding, squeezing and touching the artwork.The umbilical cord and ‘afterbirth’ are both iconic images in human society. They generally remain hidden within the modern-day medicalised birth suite, but they are still recognisable in their form and function.
Along with the sculpture will be colourful and somewhat ‘sanitised’ illustrations (because let’s face it, we have an understandable response to anything bloody). These pics will explain the part the placenta plays in erythropoiesis for the new human. This is the origin of blood. Erythropoiesis is the making of blood, or literally from the Greek origin words “erythro” [red] and “poiesis” [to make].
So the next two months, I’ll be making red.