As we celebrate the spring’s warming rays and lengthening days, the 2022 Clatsop Community College Basic Design class is exploring the practice of Shinrin-Yoku and its connection to the visual arts and nature. The students would like to extend an invitation to the community to take a break during the afternoon of Friday, June 10th from noon to 2 p.m. in order to enjoy a leisurely walk along the beautiful campus trail that leads up to the column. The start location is at the back of the lower parking lot at the end of Lexington Avenue on campus.
The Shinrin-Yoku event was inspired by multi-talented local artist, performer, and activist Marco Davis‘ innovative event called Sunday in the Park with Art. With his blessing, the students will install both individual and collaborative creative projects along the trail. The Japanese concept of Shinrin-Yoku, loosely translated into English as “Forest Bathing,” Shinrin-Yoku is a form of healing that involves wandering along a forest trail or spending time in natural places. This practice has proven to have many benefits, including boosted immune function, reduced blood pressure, reduced stress, improved mood, increased ability to focus, increased energy level, and improved sleep.
In keeping with the Shinrin-Yoku theme, the students were tasked with a couple of specific design challenges. The first challenge was to clearly convey a message highlighting the critical importance of valuing and preserving our environment. The second challenge was to limit the materials used for the construction of the projects to “trash” that would otherwise have been destined for the waste stream.
The Basic Design students have prepared artist statements that will be displayed on the trail along with their artwork. Heather Goguen says of her work: “I was immediately drawn to create something with the #1 PET Polyethylene Terephthalate, also known as the plastic clamshell containers for produce, eggs and take-out food. Clamshell containers have different re-processing qualities than plastic soda bottles, which are made with the same material. Not long ago, we used to be able to recycle these clamshell containers at some grocery stores.
“However, a few years ago, China stopped accepting these materials from the US, due to contamination and the low-quality of the supply. The United States has scrambled to process the waste domestically. The clamshells are less valuable than bottle containers, so they are simply not accepted by processors. So even though these types of containers are highly recyclable plastic, they end up in the landfill.
“With our fruits and vegetables coming from all over the world, the protective packaging is being used once then tossed away forever. I’ve incorporated various clamshell plastics into my piece knowing that in our county and in our country, we currently have no solution to capturing these materials after use.”
Heather adds, “I’m turning our folly into flowers. Tiny actions against a deluge. For me it is an homage to the forest. The wise old giants still welcome us to come breathe among their shelter. We lose our troubled thoughts amidst the rustling leaves. The sun dapples the forest floor and reminds our muscles to thaw, to melt under the warm rays. I hope that the forest continues to welcome us. I hope the forest continues.”
Michelle Coventry explains that “we all know how good being in nature can make us feel. Being in nature can restore vitality and lift your mood. Shirin-Yoku (forest bathing) is a way for us to open our senses and bridge the gap between us and nature.”
“Art and Nature are two of my favorite things,” Abigail Albright says, “and this event includes both! The projects that will be on display are made out of recycled materials that would otherwise end up in a landfill. I hope to see you all at the event!”
Jordan Admire-Novak reveals that she will be installing “an interactive rainstick station.” In addition, she also will be creating a “mushroom shaped flower pot type thing. I’m very excited for this project and I think it’s a great message for making our environment healthier.”
Once again this year, the Basic Design class has created hand-painted rocks and mini-frescoes that will be interspersed along the trail for hikers to find as a means to entice our CCC community to get in the healthy habit of using the trail on a regular basis. If you find a rock or mini-fresco along the trail, you may keep it or relocate it for another hiker to discover! Rain or shine, the event will proceed, so please come check it out—–we would love for everyone to participate!