FLOW.11: Katherine Daniels

The Project: Tenkenas Sash

Katherine Daniels’ Tenkenas Sash was a site specific installation constructed of plastic ribbons woven into 8 x 400 feet of chain link fence. Tenkenas Sash was woven into the chain link fence that defines the playing fields 73 and 74 in Ward’s Meadow, Northeast of the Tri-Borough Bridge abutment, at the Southeast edge of Randall’s Island. At this site Tenkenas Sash could be seen from inside and outside the ball fields, from the Ward’s Meadow Loop’s park drive, the bike and pedestrian pathway and the riverside lawns, thus engaging a large portion of the Randall’s Island’s community of ball players, bikers, runners, walkers, picnickers, island explorers, art curious and event wanderers.

The ribbons of red, blue, yellow, white and black represented New York City’s five boroughs. Tenkenas Sash brought together the past and present by using Ward’s Island’s original name, Tenkenas (meaning “Wild Lands” in the Algonqian language), and the inspiration of native american weavings in the current built environment of Randall’s Island. The ubiquitous chain link fencing acted as a canvas that transformed the fence into a 400 foot linear drawing. Daniels took her inspiration for the Tenkenas Sash from finger woven sashes and burden straps as well as wampum bead weavings made by Native Americans in the New York State region.

Tenkenas Sash began and ended with tassels of descending and ascending saw tooth shapes made of five colored lines that spanned the distance of the fencing by intertwining, extending, zigzagging, gathering into tessellating clusters then stretching and evolving into a new set of patterns that create a visual rhythm. The design undulated along the fence from high to low with the heaviest ornamentation containing “windows” for looking through the design to the other side. Tenkenas Sash could be seen as a whole from a distance, but it was fundamentally meant to be “art that was walked past” as a piece of visual pleasure in an active environment.

The Artist: Katherine Daniels

Katherine Daniels explores the archetypal ideal of a garden in paradise through sculptures, installations and public art. She creates her body of work using recycled materials, repurposed items, sewing notions, and fabric with traditional craft techniques such as weaving, sewing, and beading. She studied at Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island (BFA, 1991), and Johnson State College, Johnson, Vermont (MFA, 2001).

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