Collision: Lava Ship / Trellis Ship

Lava Ship: 30 ft. (10.9 m), Trellis Ship: 40' ft. (12.2 m), steel, Clematis montana vines, landscaping, fused earth, San Rafael, CA, 1984.

Left: night firing of Lava Ship element

Middle: plan/detail view of ship element intersection

Right: growth of Clematis and landscaping after several years.

The 30 ft. long Lava Ship element was built of seven tons of clay, mineral and organic mixture, applied over a steel armature and fired on site using 12 burners who's heat was distributed through the structure by an internal downdraft system connected beneath the ground to 4 external 25 ft. high flues, developed by an aerospace engineer. The 40 ft. steel Trellis Ship element, planted with Clematis montana and earthen wave-like landscaping was added after the firing. Of significant interest in this work was the collision or engagement of two dynamics, the intensity and rapid catalysis of fire and the lingering envelopment of botanical grownth.The selection of the white flowered Clematis vine was both to bring a ghost-like quality to the work as well as it's relatively
agressive growth ultimately encompassing both structures. Following Mountain Kiln/Black Orchid, 1982, this is the second kiln/furnace work to engage botanical concepts and a precurssor to later projects investigating the botanic origin of fossil fuels, see Untitled Earth Orchid, 1988, Oculus: Dead Sea/Oil Field, 1989; Humboldt Ship, 1989; Metabolism and Mortality, 1992 and the video work: 51 Million BTU's... as well as installations using living plant material such as Holocene Terrace, 1999; Original Depositional Environment, 2001; and Seventh Climate (Paradise Reconsidered), 2006. Carol Schemmerling, was the project's consulting horticulturalist.


Furnace Projects, Constance Lewallan;

Kiln Projects: Material and Process Experiments in/of the Landscape, John Roloff