The fall semester N.C. State students in Prof. Will Hooker’s landscape design studio created a colorful bamboo sculpture – with a hint of Saturday morning cartoon whimsy — that they installed on an urban farm in Matthews, just east of Charlotte.
The piece, “Wild Energies,” includes figures of a blue-eyed deer, at one end of an elevated turning bamboo bar, being chased by a green-eyed wolf, while a benignly beaming sun watches – and balances the structure — at the other end. Below this action, a portly bamboo frog crouches on the ground, his tongue thrusting to catch a hovering bee. The scenes humorously suggest the dynamic tension of the chase in nature.
The students built the various components of the sculpture in the courtyard of Kilgore Hall before taking it all to Matthews for final assembly.
Each semester, Hooker’s students design a bamboo sculpture as part of HS 400, Residential Landscape Design Studio, a course in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Horticultural Science Department.
The goal of the class is for students to develop the design skills and sensibility to pragmatically solve spatial problems in ways that add “magic” to the lives of users of the spaces. The sculpture project is one of a series of design activities that expose students to the range of problems typically encountered in a small-scale landscape design/build practice.
Previous studio sculptures have been installed by CALS students at the JC Raulston Arboretum, the N.C. State Fairgrounds, local elementary schools and numerous regional gardens and public areas.
— Terri Leith