About the Installation
Site Location: ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum
Titles: Guardian of the Forest and Joy of the Dance
Guardian of the Forest
The Guardian of the Forest peers down from an ancient cottonwood, asking the viewer what they can do to help the earth. Viewers are encouraged to write their pledge onto fabric pieces located in the basket that hangs nearby, and that can be tied to surrounding branches as prayer offerings. I travelled to the land of my ancestors in Ireland a few years ago, and came across a few “rag trees”. In Celtic culture, Rag Trees, also known as “raggedy bushes”, of Ireland or Scotland are often found near sacred holy wells. Usually, Hawthorn, Ash, or Whitethorn trees are chosen as rag trees, and are hung with scraps of fabric or pieces of clothing. The fabric used in rag trees is symbolic and meaningful, as it usually indicates a desire or dream, or else a need for help with a problem. Typically, help with an issue, or increased good fortune, is believed to come when the fabric disintegrates from the effects of time and exposure to the elements. According to legend, by the time the rags have rotted through completely, the problem will have resolved itself.
Joy of the Dance
These are dark and challenging times we are living through. The ecstatic communal joy of dancing to live music feels like a distant memory. The experience of collective dance is an ancient and essential part of being human and one of the many sacred things we have lost access to during this pandemic.
My installation celebrates the joy of the dance with figurative sculptures crafted out of driftwood and needlefelted wool, dancing around a tree. There is something deeply elemental, ancient and holy about figures dancing together. This installation is created both as a reminder and as an offering : an invitation to a visceral memory of joy that is still possible.
About the Artist
Corbin Brashear is a fiber artist and teacher who creates whimsical mixed media sculptures, masks and tapestries using found natural objects and needle felted wool which she exhibits at fine art and craft shows around the Northwest. Her work is profoundly influenced by the rugged wilderness of her remote homestead in the Siskiyou Mountains of Southern Oregon. She lives simply, off the grid, which has allowed her to deepen her artistic expression and offers her the raw materials such as driftwood, kelp and lichen, with which to work. In addition to creating her own art, Corbin has made it her life’s work to create opportunities for creative exploration for children. She has spent the last 25 plus years working to create programs to nurture and inspire the creative life of the children in her own community. She loves sharing the limitless freedom and potential of needle felting and has been facilitating needle felting workshops for 15 years both locally and at art retreats all over the West. Most recently, Corbin collaborated with a local animator, Deanna Morse, and a team of children to create a short film “Recipe for Birds” which has been shown at film festivals both internationally and here in Ashland at the Ashland Independent Film Festival.
Connect with the Artist
I am inspired by the shapes and organic forms I find in nature, such as driftwood and kelp. I am intrigued by the past stories of these objects, and the forces that shaped them into what they are now. I love the challenge of integrating these beautiful found natural objects into my art and creating a new story, full of whimsy and wool.