This White Mulberry Earthpod is one of two artworks-in-progress created for The White Mulberry Project: A Silk Road Runs Through It to be presented on August 26, 2023 in my studio’s Eco-Garden in upstate New York.
I decided to use a gourd as the foundation for this piece as the form represents the roots of my artistic practice. My first Earthpod was created over 20 years ago, inspired by the mushroom puffballs I discovered as a child in the fields of my grandparents’ farm in Vermont. I’m taking these “artistic roots” and bringing them to The White Mulberry Project. The work will incorporate foraged materials from the white mulberry trees that made a surprising appearance in my back yard in 2022.
This journal will be updated as the work progresses:
June 3, 2023
I was originally going to use the gourd I grew myself for my artwork for the White Mulberry Project, but the size just wasn’t right. I contacted my usual gourd suppliers and Waylon Wuertz of the Wuertz Gourd Farm in Arizona came through for me. He found the exact size and shape I was looking for from his newly-harvested gourd crop. Yay!
I was thrilled to receive this beauty and right to work on my Earthpod shape which I will use on each piece created for the Eco-Garden Project.
The “earthpod” has been a recurring form throughout my artistic practice. It is inspired by pods in nature, filled with potential that explode in maturity to disseminate their seeds, passing the torch to the next generation, paralleling the trajectory of artwork that plants the “seeds” of new ideas and inspiration through a connection with nature.
The foraged elements will include leaf skeletons from mulberry leaves and wild ink from the mulberries for the exterior surface of the gourd.
I also have some of the branch tips I pruned last fall from my white mulberry trees, which I may weave around the opening of the gourd.
I will also be creating a wild ink from black walnuts for the interior of this White Mulberry Earthpod.
June 17, 2023
I’m absolutely thrilled with my first attempt at making ink for the White Mulberry Earthpod!
The black walnuts I had collected from a friend’s backyard in 2021 and kept in the freezer boiled down to a wonderful deep chocolate brown.
A spicy woodland aroma filled the studio as the black walnuts simmered.
I added gum arabic to thicken the ink and painted the interior of the gourd with it. It’s absolutely perfect!
Now I’m waiting for mulberries to get ripe on a friend’s tree in nearby Glens Falls, NY and I’ll be making ink for the exterior of the Earthpod. (My little mulberry trees are still too young to make berries.)
Adventures in foraging! My little mulberry trees are looking great and have been a good source of leaves for my artwork, but I had to put out a call to anyone with a mature white mulberry tree for berries and bark. And I got to taste my first mulberry! Here’s what collected, with the help of friends and neighbors: Foraging for Art Supplies
More updates to come….
See all articles on this project in my Mulberry Story-Box
CLICK for the background story of The White Mulberry Project
In 2023, Serena Kovalosky was awarded a New York State Rural & Traditional Arts Fellowship for the White Mulberry Project, administered by the Arts Council for Wyoming County in partnership with the New York State Council on the Arts. Funding for this project is made possible with support from the New York State Council on the Arts with support from the Governor’s office and the New York State Legislature.