Natural Elements Bench

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Concept and Artist Statement:

Functional artwork is both beautiful and useful. A bench installed just off the walking trail in the UW Bothell wetlands would allow visitors to take in the natural beauty of the wetlands and marvel at the hard work that has gone into creating the 58-acre natural space for the community to enjoy.

The bench will be built entirely from scavenged wood from the wetlands, in keeping with the natural theme of the area. The many salmon situated across the back of the bench will also be sculpted from foraged wetland wood, and will increase in size from right to left, representing the growth of the salmon in North Creek. The running water down the side of the large log on the left side of the bench will continue to flow using the same mechanisms as are used in tabletop fountains. The log on the other side will be a hidden planter, with native grasses and plants growing out of it.

Both trees and lower North Creek, which runes through the wetlands, are important elements of the massive restoration project that began in 1998. Salmon breed and thrive in North Creek, which inspired me to incorporate the native fish into my sculpture.

In the Pacific Northwest, Native American culture and influence is prominent. Background research led me to discover that, for Native Americans, both flowing water and salmon symbolize elements important to the historic wetland restoration project. In Native American culture, flowing water symbolizes constant life, while salmon represent determination and persistence. I felt it was important to incorporate something representing all of the hard work that the gardeners did, and continue to do, to restore and maintain the wetlands. Use of these two symbols is meant to bring awareness to how the two elements work together in the wetlands; constant life occurs naturally and is helped by the thousands of man-hours of work that is necessary annually to keep the wetlands successful.

Budget:

Blue Paint (gallon):                  $40

“Oops” paint (for salmon):       $15 maximum

Sealant:                                     $90

Tabletop fountain mechanism: $15

Total Approximate Cost:          $160

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