Fires of Change is a collaborative project with the Southwest Fire Science Consortium, the Flagstaff Arts Council, and the Landscape Conservation Initiative (LCI) funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and Joint Fires Sciences Program. It aims to translate the complex social and ecological (new term: ecopyrosocioeconomological) issues surrounding wildfire into art. Our hope is that art will educate and invigorate people about the beauty and ecological necessity of wild fire. In advance of our September 5, 2015 exhibit opening and September 19, 2015 reception at Coconino Center for the Arts, we will be having monthly blog updates from the 11 talented artists who are creating work for the project. For more information, take a look at the Flagstaff Arts Council exhibit page.
by Saskia Jorda
During the summer of 2012, a small dwelling that my husband was building by hand burnt down in the Gladiator fire in Crown King, Arizona. Witnessing the aftermath of the fire and walking through the charred landscape was an eye-opening experience, one that remains etched vividly in my memory. I was particularly moved by the silence and stoic presence of the burnt trees. Since then I have been looking for ways to process this experience through my art, to conquer my fear of fire, and to search for opportunities to learn about the impact I personally have on my surrounding environment.
Fires of Change presented the perfect opportunity for me to revisit my connection to fire, and to continue the dialog through a new project. After exploring imagery derived from fire-progression maps and other photographs and notes taken during the Fires of Change trip to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon last year, I narrowed in on a project entitled 100% Contained.
My objective with 100% Contained is to make a poetic gesture using black yarn the length of the perimeter of the 2012 Gladiator Fire when fully contained: 200,059 feet (37.89 miles). Over the past several months, a growing community of many hands are crocheting and knitting skeins of black yarn into an organic line that when complete will represent several themes: the change wrought upon the landscape by fire, the slow re-growth of Southwestern forests, and the many hands involved in fighting a fire of large magnitude.
Over 30 participants from all over the country have contributed to the project so far, crocheting and knitting various lengths of black yarn totaling over 20 miles to date. I am collecting and connecting all the pieces into an installation for the Fires of Change exhibition this September.
Through social practice and connecting communities, the piece intends to bring forth the beauty of a community effort linked by a common goal: raising awareness about the impact of fire on the land we inhabit – not only the destructive power of fire, but also its regenerating force.
For more information on this project and its process, or to find out how you can contribute your length of crocheted yarn, visit www.saskiajorda.com