A FIBER OPTIC RAINBOW
When thinking of conservation, porcupines might not be the first animal to spring to mind. Their population is healthy, they survive well on even lower-quality foods, and their adaptable ilk thrive in a broad spectrum of habitats and local climes. So why pick this particular prickly persona?
Porcupines Embody conservation just by existing! These natural Ecosystem Engineers create habitat as they go about their regular routine. Their bark-eating proclivities beget fallen logs and branches, creating wonderful hiding places for Mammals, Amphibians and Invertebrates. The Standing snags and down wood they leave in their wake create perfect homes for woodpeckers, salamanders and bats. The dead wood becomes host to insects, which are, in turn, eaten by bears and birds. The berries and buds these messy eaters knock from the high branches provide non-climbing animals with a tasty treat. If only we could all be so productive for our ecosystem just by bumbling around and eating lunch! And the whole colourful rainbow of creatures benefitting from a porcupine’s day-to-day existence owes a debt of gratitude to the porcupine’s natural built-in defence: Quills. Quills allow the porcupine to remain relatively unbothered by predators and go about its natural daily conservation efforts, one snack at a time.
The Fibre Optic rainbow reminds us that sometimes, just by letting our unique adaptations shine their brightest unbothered by the slings and arrows of living, a multitude of life can flow from a single unique creature living its best life.
GABS & Trew Facks will partner with a local manufacturer of biodegradable 3D printing plastic (Canadian Filaments) to obtain their waste, out-of-spec filament that would otherwise be thrown away, The body of the porcupine will be made from bamboo and galvanised wire. The porcupine skin and fur areas will be comprised of old white cloth, such as old sheets and fur offcuts from GABS collection. The quills will be held in place using custom designed 3D printed hubs throughout the body. The piece will be lit by NeoPixel LEDs connected to a timer.
This piece will replicate a large than life Porcupine at 2 ft tall by 4.5 ft long.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
GABS & TREW FACKS
GABS is an Edmonton-based artist well known for creating whimsical glowing creatures such as a 30 ft baby humpback whale and a life-sized 10 ft by 18 ft woolly mammoth, which is now on display at the Royal Alberta Museum.
This is GABS’s second year attending Zoominescence. In 2022, she brought us Pan-glow-in, a project that brought attention to one of the world’s most unusual mammals, the Pangolin. Its warm glow mirrored the glow ignited in the hearts of people encountering her adorable creation at last year’s festival.
GABS will focus on creating the rough body shape Of the Porcupine Lantern, then hand it off to Trew Facks, who will make custom parts to light each quill on the Porcupine. Trew Facks is a local purveyor of Edmonton-themed creations. He has created a similar piece before but has imagined technological improvements to the system that will allow the Quills to dazzle in all their fibre-optic glory. GABS and Trew will collaborate to imbue the piece with final touches, bringing personality and life to their creation.
Follow Trew Facks:
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