Roy Staab greenmuseum.org  :  The Achemical Garden  :  Artist Garden    
   
Strong Willow
Willow saplings, Klein Artworks, Chicago, April 29 1998

First was made with willow. Then we replaced the willow with living trees (for the roots and so it lives and grows and become one). Then some of the living pear trees died. The problem was the weed whacker that stripped the bark off the trees and then the rabbits that ate the bark off of them. When I returned from Italy in 2000 I re-designed the work over the existing living trees and used arches in another way. So Strong Willow has been now in two forms, from reeds as the horizontals to then willow in 1998. The gallery was impatient for it to take shape and grow. These pieces had to grow. The form of the work was made to fit the top of the small hill that it was on and to emphasize the rise with a kind of cap. The willow was gathered from wetlands on the way to Chicago. They grew so thin and straight there. I selectively picked them and returned year after year for new ones. But last year [fall of 2001], the small woods was bulldozed and now it is a large new BMW car lot.

 
Strong Willow
Willow saplings, Klein Artworks, Chicago, April 29 1998

 
Golden Ring Reeds, Evanston Art Center, Evanston IL, May 10, 1997

Golden Ring, an oval 55 X 77 feet all of reeds. Finished 20 minutes before the opening of 6pm May 10, 1997. I remember returning to the site just after the opening began, people in and around the work and the light golden rays and low in the slightly misty evening, like mid summer nights eve, I thought. It took 10 days to make with much time searching around for the phragmites reeds. I got most of them in Calumet near the dump of Chicago; they grow very tall and profusely. I made the work to fit the size of the large lawn. And the cars drive by so I set each oval [and there were eight in all] on an angle so each would dove tail into the other and as you drove by and looked you would see a kind of progression of interlocking rings like a chain, but then not quite. Reeds are not very strong. At least not the vertical reeds. When they are bundled they do hold the form but the spaced out vertical ones seem to break at the place where it goes into the ground or where the bundled horizontal crosses. So the piece was maintained and was to last 2 months but Michel Row Schield kept it up until the middle of August. What a sad event to dismantle it..but all was not lost. Three rings we carried and re-installed by the house of Katie O'Niel, the founder of the Evanston Art Center and the person who took care of me. I made the three ovals interlock and go around the corner of her corner house. One other oval ring I put in the front yard of an art teacher at the school Pattie (don't have her name here) and I set it out on also a tilt toward the street. The last four I wanted to float on Lake Michigan to let them go in the wind to the Michigan shore. If only there was the insight to do a 'Christo' event, but the maintenance man broke them up for the dumpster.

 
Growth Rings Bamboo , Green Festival, Hiroshima, Japan, September 9, 1997

Growth Rings, made for the green festival of Hiroshima. In it I used two different kinds of bamboo, the vertical and then smaller, thinner ones for the twisting bundles forming the lines. I made them pick fresh bamboo from the surrounding mountainside so I could have beautiful tops (to say bamboo). Soon after the work was completed a typhoon hit. They wrapped the work in nylon rope that worked as a sail more than hold it in place. No damage happened since Hiroshima is in a mountain valley shelter. The work was lit and bushes were planted around the work as a base from which it came out of. When the show was over at the end of November, we took down the work only somewhat and re-installed it in a kindergarten overlooking the ferry terminal for Miyajima, an hour away from Hiroshima. It remained there for another year and the children and teachers watched and photographed it. I have a beautiful catalogue from that year with images of it in the snow.

 
TSYAMA MON Rice straw, Osaka College of Art, Osaka, Japan, October 1997

It was very difficult to implant the bamboo into the stony bottom of this river, a four day job for a 8 hour life of the work. They had a permit to leave the work only until the Sunday evening and when I came to this city I was presented by the mayor a medal from the city. The typhoon season was over and I made the work to last for a year. Little did I know of the short life the Japanese people had for my art.