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Eco ArtRealized

The Bascom, Cradle 2 Cradle,

By June 14, 2017September 27th, 2022No Comments

What is Cradle to Cradle?

For this project, our material sponsor, Antique Reclaimed Lumber, made us a deal we couldn’t refuse.  I could use 100 year barnwood, make a sculpture for a two year exhibition on the front lawn of the Bascom, and at the end, Antique Reclaimed Lumber would come, dismantle and recycle the wood into flooring.  A picture perfect example of Cradle 2 Cradle methodology.  In simpler terms, Cradle 2 Cradle is a design philosophy where the designer thinks about the end in the beginning.  What will happen to the life of the designed object?

This is about an artist residency at The Bascom.

In 2015 I applied to a residency program at The Bascom Center for the Arts, and then got invited by the Director for Education Will Barclift to come for a site visit.  I did.

Will and I have had lots of conversations in the past about ‘cradle to cradle’ and I had an idea.  We found some material.  In Will’s Instagram picture below, that’s me in the black t-shirt flanked by the staff at The Bascom when we went to talk to our material sponsor, Antique Reclaimed Lumber.

Will and I had been emailing for some time about the project, and when I landed for the site visit in December 2015, it was clear that I was going to up-cycle material for a temporary project.  We weren’t exactly sure of the scale or scope of the finished sculpture, in fact we briefly entertained the idea of making a Helix sculpture.  We continued working out the details, and when it was decided that I would make the sculpture in Highlands, North Carolina, I landed late spring 2016.

Press Release on John K Melvin’s Bascom Residency and sculpture. Printed, “Sculpture Resident Artist Announced at The Bascom in Highlands”, NC, Carolina Arts, April 2016, p28


These boards were probably first generation cut timber used to make early American barns in the hill country around Highlands.  I speculated that the minimal amount of cuts would be used to preserve as much wood as possible in the construction of the sculpture, in effect creating an aesthetic, then at the end, when Antique Reclaimed Lumber, took the boards back, they had told us they would plane them and make flooring.

So  to sum up our Cradle 2 Cradle art project at The Bascom, these trees from which the boards came, had four lives, first as a tree, then as a barn, then as a sculpture, and in their fourth life, as a floor for a home.

Below, is a time lapse of the sculpture in construction…

We had an opening and encouraged a lot of conversation in the community on subjects of cradle to cradle, up-cycling, recycling, and sustainability.   We started the project in typical Highlands wet weather and ended in gorgeous sunshine.  Below are some photos of the finished project.

Mountain Top, sculpture by Eco-Artist John K Melvin, 2016-2018


Mountain Top, sculpture by Eco-Artist John K Melvin, 2016-2018

And here are some details, as typical with my work, the interplay of light and shadow is always intentional, as it too, the integration with nature.  It was a delight to see both.

Mountain Top, sculpture by Eco-Artist John K Melvin, 2016-2018


Mountain Top, sculpture by Eco-Artist John K Melvin, 2016-2018


Mountain Top, sculpture by Eco-Artist John K Melvin, 2016-2018


Mountain Top, sculpture by Eco-Artist John K Melvin, 2016-2018


It was a rare treat to spend so much time in the Highlands.  As part of the project, and the generosity of The Bascom, I was provided with a Bascom van to use in sourcing materials, consumables, etc.  It allowed me to see a fair amount of the countryside.  I was fortunate enough to also hike around some of the better sites in the area.  The hills are forever in my soul and the twisting roads with cliff-side drops will always be in my heart.

Here are a few pictures I took on a break from making Mountain Top.


Thanks to all for the support, and for visiting this page, this post, was part of an 2 part post, the first part is here.

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