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More about Char Norman

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Char Norman is an accomplished fiber artist specializing in papermaking and fiber sculpture. She received a Master of Fine Art from Claremont Graduate University and a Bachelor of Art from Scripps College. She has lectured and exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally. She has developed and conducted workshops for all ages, worked as a consultant to area schools and community arts organizations, held the positions of Associate Provost and Dean of Faculty at Columbus College of Art & Design and has now returned to the studio as a full time professional artist.

Artistís Statement

The idea of Nature as an object of veneration and worship is as old as man. Tied into the worship of nature is the idea of the inter-connectedness of all things with none dominant over the other. As our society and world are facing an environmental crisis which may even lead to our demise it is more important than ever to understand this symbiotic relationship and embrace eco-psychology. I present nature in sacred spaces and attitudes to bring understanding and importance to the issues at hand.

Work Description

The pod shape itself derives from seed pods. This iconic shape is a metaphor for how we might relate to our natural environment; nurturing, abusing, mourning, or revering. The forms can be both wombs and shrouds; celebrating and nurturing the birth or mourning and honoring the death of nature. This dichotomy of ideas is further expressed by the mending of natural objects through the violent act of stitching and fastening parts together.

In most religions of the world the dead are honored in significant ways, often through the creation of icons, reliquaries or vessels, which hold actual relics of the loved one or capture the spirit. I find it interesting to build on the Catholic tradition of reliquaries while encapsulating what are essentially pagan ideals; lifting natureís elements to the level of sainthood. As I continue to explore natural relics as icons, votive, or objects of reverence, I hope to engage the viewer in a way of seeing that may lead to a respect and appreciation for the environment. Possible future plans call for returning my sculptures to the location from where the natural object was taken. In this way, I give back and let the elements take their natural course in the cycle of life.

The physical act of creating the work is a form of meditation or worship; examining, contemplating the natural objects and working with them in a carefully modulated manner. My methods involve a slow building up of form through weaving, coiling, and assemblage. The time commitment and care taken with these pieces reinforce a reverence for the objects and examination of our relationship with the environment.

The pod shapes are loom-woven and formed both on and off loom. Many are of fine linen threads while others employ shifu; a Japanese method of spinning handmade paper into fine threads which are then woven into the desired pod shape. Pods are edged with coiling, a traditional basketry technique. Paper elements are handmade from a variety of plant materials. The natural objects have been collected over many years of wandering throughout natural areas. The large bark for Ghost Forest was harvested as our many Ash trees fell to the Emerald Ash Borer.

The title of the exhibit Ghost Forest is also the title of the large installation of hanging bark pieces. This refers to the disregard and destruction of our environment, while specifically highlighting the demise of Ash trees in central Ohio due to the Emerald Ash Borers. I honor and mourn the loss of these tress while recreating their ghosts from the husks of bark and paper forms.

Symbiotic relationship between man and nature. The forms are both wombs and shrouds. engage the viewer in a way of seeing that may lead to a respect and appreciation for the environment. The hanging bark pieces refer to the disregard and destruction of the environment. I honor and mourn the loss of the Ash trees in Central Ohio while recreating their ghosts from the husks of bark and paper forms.