08 Nov

The Tree of [Un]common Knowledge at the CreativeMix Exhibition

For the past few weeks I’ve been working on a paper craft tree (pictured below) made with reclaimed cardboard and book pages. This work is one part of an interdisciplinary collaboration between myself, Kirsti Wakelin and Darren Carcary of Resolve Design. The project began back at the end of summer when I first had the crazy idea to make a paper tree and to bring together our three different disciplines.

I was using a call for exhibitors at the CreativeMix conference as an excuse to experiment and collaborate. It was a whirlwind project to work on after learning of our acceptance at the beginning of October. The tree and graphics came together for the first time last Thursday (November 4th) when we presented the work publicly at the CreativeMix conference exhibition.

Sneak Preview of the Tree of [Un]common Knowledge

A bit of background. This project was an opportunity for me to explore the creation of larger work than I’d previously done, as well as to partner with a designer working in a very different medium than myself. I was curious to explore bringing together motion graphics with a handmade paper tree and how these two different mediums could interact with one another.

The work is inspired by the idea of a tree of knowledge, and we chose to interpret this in a literal sense in both the tree form and the graphics.

From the Resolve Design artist statement: “Our project began as a simple creative art exercise, developed over 4 days, loosely based around trees in general. But research about the evening migration of crows to the Still Creek roost uncovered commonly known, but oft-forgotten Vancouver facts – historic and current. The project quickly focused on exploring Vancouver, with trees as the connecting element.”

The photos below were taken during the run of the display. The tree was positioned against a 12′ x 10′ white wall with hardcover books and paper flowers placed around the bottom of the trunk. The projector was located approximately 16′ in front and fully covered the display wall with the projection, both running the animation and lighting the tree. The movie was on a two minute loop and used beautiful illustrations created by Kirsti and interesting text about Vancouver that flowed through and around the paper tree.

Tree of [Un]common Knowledge
Tree of [Un]common Knowledge-9
Tree of [Un]common Knowledge-8
Tree of [Un]common Knowledge-2
Tree of [Un]common Knowledge-3

At the exhibition I was absolutely thrilled to see people drawn in by the piece. Little kids were enthralled with the animation and the tree, and at least a few kept their parents waiting while they watched it over and over. We had great feedback from people who stopped by to talk with us, and it’s pretty clear we gave people the sense of wonder I was hoping for.

Darren, Kirsti, and myself definitely want to show this work again at some point, though we don’t have any specific plans at this time. If you would like a chance to see the paper tree, it will be on display at my place during the Eastside Culture Crawl, November 26th to 28th, along with other new work.

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© Rachael Ashe