Circle of Life: Wetlands

Circle of Life: Wetlands

Circle of Life Wetlands


Throughout the walkthrough and research of the wetlands, I have found what I think to be the most important element which is the wildlife. I enjoy the vegetation and water which makes up the majority of components in the wetlands, but these things are there to nourish and protect what is inside. For most animals that reside within the wetlands, this is their sanctuary in which they are completely dependent off of. For some it is a temporary home until it is time to migrate or spawn, but to most it is their entirety. So with this project I really wanted to capture the importance of the animals within the wetlands and the dependence they have on it. I want to create a larger than life sculpture of the Painted Turtle. I chose the Painted Turtle because it is the most common animal in the wetlands. Moving into specifics about the sculpture; I wanted to convey the natural generation and decay of life that makes the wetlands so beautiful and natural. I am going to be making the sculpture out of two materials, wood and bronze. The wood will be western red cedar, one of the dominant tree species found in our wetlands. The cedar will be taken and carved into the general, rough shape of a painted turtle. It will be approximately ten times the actual size of a painted turtle, establishing its importance in the wetlands. Once the wood shaped turtle is completed, I will be using bronze to create an exoskeleton around the structure. The bronze will take on the finer aspects and details of the turtle such as his shell and bone structure.  My idea by the time that it is complete will be for the viewer to see the internals being of wood and the entire outline of bronze. The most important part of my project is the timeline. Once the sculpture has been made and located in the wetlands, over time the wood will start to decay. Every day the turtle will continue to diminish until there is no more western red cedar left. The beauty of it is that the decay will start to create a new tree in its place. As the tree begins to grow over the next 30 years, the sculpture of the painted turtle will be consumed and eventually disappear into the trunk. I have looked into a small weatherproof camera to be set in a stationary position to document the transformation of the sculpture, so that others who can’t physically come to the wetlands can see it as well.

Artist statement

I want to capture the importance of the wildlife in the wetlands. They are so important for the survival of many species that spend their entire lives there. The circle of life and interdependent relationship that the animals and the vegetation have are crucial to the survival of the wetlands. That is why I wanted to make the generation and decay of life my focus. These wetlands need to be preserved so that there are places where animals can make it their sanctuary.


-The wood I intend on looking in the wetlands or nearby to find a fallen tree that I can use part of to create the sculpture. I don’t intend on buying it from a lumber store nor cut one down.

– The bronze will be approximately $400-500 depending on the size of the turtle once the dimensions become more specific. Currently bronze is selling for $9/lb. So I am at no risk of going over budget.


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