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.
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‘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.  
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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.  
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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.  
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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.
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 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.