Population Dynamics, 2011

A suite of seven watermarked handmade papers made from abaca and Andean Pampas grass, housed in an artist-made box. Each paper measures 11 x 9 inches, edition of 5.

Paper is typically conceived of as a substrate for documents. In this suite, the very fibers of the paper transcend this state to embody part of the environmental history of California.
The papers are made of a combination of Andean Pampas Grass (Cortaderia jubata), an invasive species that was originally introduced to California as an ornamental plant, and abaca. Pampas Grass proliferates easily in Northern California, spreading rapidly over fragile coastal regions and driving out native fauna. The fibers used here were harvested less than a mile from my home. Each sheet is watermarked with an image of California fauna that has become extinct in modern times. Creatures represented include the California Kit Fox, the Clear Lake Splittail, the San Clemente Berwick’s Wren, the Santa Barbara Song Sparrow, the Tecopa Pulpfish, the Thicktail Chub, and the Xeres Butterfly.

Population Dynamics is the category of life sciences that studies how populations rise and decline due to biological and environmental factors, in both short and long term scenarios. All the wildlife depicted in this series was lost due to human activity. Through the combination of watermarks and fiber, these papers are a material record of a moment in the changing landscape that is California.

A copy of this portfolio is part of the University of California, Berkeley's Environmental Design Library Special Collections.

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