Sample Collection! | Leonardo/ISASTwith Arizona State University

Sample Collection!

By Jenifer Wightman


My favorite part of making the 'mud paintings' is the mud collection. My eyes change their focus and I see differently. 

I look for color, texture, and anything that might house a different microbiome to diversify the 'painters' in my 'paintings'.



In the back of my head, this time, are the 2 pieces I made this past spring for the Cornell Biennal. For that piece "Sensing Change" I tried being 'scientific' - so I mixed the mud for consistency between paintings, and well, those 2 paintings look consistent! As I'm not trying to be scientific here, I'm going to mash stuff in here with discord!  Originally, I had planned to use densely packed (or kilned) clay to make impermeable walls in the creation of a Maze for the microbes. However, I knew right away, this would be a rough draft because in a piece I did in 2019 called "Five Experiments" where I placed fish tank pH meters close to the plexiglass face, a fine layer of silt occluded the meter. That is, I will make a maze in the future, but it will have to be a different plexiglass design so I can really pack the clay in close to the lit surface and avoid the silt infilling. Check out my clay collection and cleaning and kiln tiles blogs; 2 kilned tiles and 2 raw clay tiles are embedded in this first draft maze.

Different kinds of soils

different fungi

sparrow poop that dropped from above my studio door

fruity purple poop from the paths

and of course, my soaking scat from a previous blog post

and so many pretty grasses.


Then these found lizards! already squashed to fit in my tiny plexiglass opening!

Look at all that beauty that I'm stuffing into a box! To become different beauty, over, and over, and over again! I can't wait!