Artist in Residence – Ada Pilar Cruz

Ada Pilar Cruz is an artist from New York, her work is predominantly sculptural clay in Installation, and printmaking.
‘I came to Nes for two months to think and write and sketch out or create sculptural maquettes toward new work. I create figure sculptures and place them in shrine installation.  My idea for working at Nes was to develop the installation part further.  The first day I was in the studio, next to the edge of a fjord along the rocks, I found huge kelp leaves that wash up on the shore. The seaweed was bundled and tangled and clung to itself and to rocks.  
I could not resist bringing this back to the studio to look at and study them.  The leaves feel like leather – very stretchable, incredibly strong, but also quite slimy.  
As the leaves dry, they curl and twist and shrink 40% – it reminded me of abaca and flax paper pulp, so I boiled and mashed the leaves for pulp.  I made paper.  The paper shrank so intensely that it would not keep any form resembling a sheet of paper, rather, they look like nests.  Further, I noticed how brittle the leaves upon drying were as was the paper.  
Not successful with paper as such, I decided to flatten, stretch over wire, roll, hang, glue the leaves to create forms.  The leaves would dry beautifully and translucent though brittle. Yet, if I hung a leaf with three pounds of stone to form a curve or fold, the leaf would have the strength to carry that weight no matter it being dry.
 Every morning, rain or shine, I walk along the rocky shore and gather the kelp I can work with for the day.  I have stretched, printed, molded this material.  The material is so alive.  When I get back to my NY studio I will have the challenge of finding huge kelp leaves because most certainly they will find a way into my installations.