Transmutation is defined as “the action of changing or the state of being changed into another form”. In this series of small-scale sculptures, I explore this process using the dried shells of the seedpods from the Yucca plant.
Yucca was chosen as the official New Mexico State Flower in 1927 by school children. Symbolic references include: Strength, Beauty, Protection, Purification, and… Transmutation.
Yucca is a plant that survives desert heat, drought, and extreme conditions. It lives in symbiosis with other species, and indigenous cultures and survivalists have traditionally utilized many parts of the plant for generations. Each year, a Yucca plant produces a fruit/pod filled with tiny black seeds. The fruity seedpods of the Yucca slowly transform from plump green to a brittle yellow-brown, scattering the seeds as they dry out and burst. The flower-like empty husks remain on the stalk up to 2 years, having no obvious further use to the plant or its partners in nature, eventually dropping to the ground to decompose.
I carefully collect pods from local wild plants, extending the “transmutation” of the useless husks into new sculptural variations. Combined with other seemingly ineffectual found natural objects and discarded manufactured materials in new symbiotic relationships, they become new beings, with new identities, rejuvenated by their modifications. They are no longer useless, discarded shells, but new fantastical forms.
Through close examination, I hope to spark curiosity, delight and reflection upon the beauty of natural treasures, the differences and commonalities between individuals, and how despite fate… the Yucca lives on. www.leaandersonart.com and @leaandersonart