This is a collection of urns, one for each species in New York that is Endangered, Threatened or of Special Concern. Urns are traditionally used to hold ashes from cremation. The urns are sized to hold an average human’s ashes, however they are decorated with each specific species. The urns are displayed empty, as most of the species are still alive – the emptiness is a sign of hope.
I am concerned about the environment. What can I do about this? Quit my job, leave my studio and head out for civil disobedience? Throw myself in the path of industrial fishing factories? Oy vey. Not very effective or realistic. However, I am a potter and a teacher, and I can make something generally unseen, visible. These Urns make endangered species – that are generally invisible, to be seen.
Please understand, I am trained as an artist and have just about no education in the sciences and none, zip, zilch, credibility in the world of conservation. This list of species comes from the New York Department of Environmental Concern (NYDEC), the New York Heritage Program, the United States Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN – the red list). My list commenced at the end of the industrial revolution, when the term ‘extinct’ was invented, and continues to be slowly growing.
A portion of the proceed from the sales of these urns will go primarily to land trust in New York State, however some support will be sent to land trusts in Georgia, Florida, Wisconsin and Kentucky, where the clay that I used to make these urns was mined.
This exhibition would not be possible without the help of many people thank you for all the hard work and support: help in my studio, Krissy Ramirez, Drake Gerber, and Jacob Monroe, help in researching species Amanda Barr and Susan Sinitiere. And thank you to the United States Artist Fellowship, I was able to pay these student assistant a reasonable wage because of their unrestricted grant.
Thank you also to Leigh Taylor Mickelson for inviting me to exhibit, Adam Chau and the staff at the Clay Arts Center – this is a shocking amount of artwork and I apricate their time and dedication.