Anne Crumpacker ACD MFA Practicum Spring 2011

Crosscut and interconnected: A personal artistic journey with bamboo

My connection to bamboo feels both visceral and spiritual, making it the ideal medium for personal artistic expression. For the past two years, faculty and peers have challenged me to figure out what I could bring to the material. Choosing a path of discovery led me to contribute a new technique to the field.

Interconnectedness is the essence of all my work, and bamboo its vehicle. A gift from nature, bamboo is interwoven in the existence of millions of people for thousands of years. I have become part of this expanded web of connection.

I looked to historic, modern, and contemporary designs and patterns to inspire the compositions. My primary effort, however, has been to bring my curiosity to the material, to work intuitively, and to allow patterns to emerge.

The Practicum Project consists of two explorations of crosscut bamboo, cut in different widths from bamboo culms of various diameters. In the first, “Writings,” hundreds of interconnected crosscut sections resemble the microscopic cellular structure of the bamboo and other living organisms.

The second, “Cross Currents,” represents a new way of using bamboo. Twenty thousand crosscut pieces, resembling waves, surround a vertical length of square bamboo. Each piece is a semicircle from a crosscut ring that was cut in half and glued on end. Charissa Brock confirms my belief that I have invented a new and successful way to use the material.

I’ve been fortunate that failed attempts have been few. An attempted collaboration with a commercial fabricator to embed bamboo in architectural resin panels was not successful. During testing of samples, the bamboo cracked or broke. I chose instead a direction that worked with and not against the natural strengths of the material.

The past six weeks have been a dress rehearsal for the future. I have set up a studio and launched a creative practice to pursue commissions and exhibitions.

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