Jennifer Fruth is an artist and craftswoman. She was a bit reluctant to admit the art part when we talked about the genesis of the compass that was getting its grout on Thursday morning in Lower Purgatory. This project has taken a couple years to come together and required the assistance of a graphic artist, a company with a water jet cutter strong and exact enough to cut the tough granite and helpers all along the way. But the idea that was hatched with Melani Howard at the Parks and Recreation Department was inspired, and Jennifer has seen it through. And I think, and so does her assistant Nancy, that Jennifer is an artist.
Jennifer suggests that the real beginnings of her compass design were in Europe, where she saw how easily and comfortably public art is infused with all aspects of European life. She determined to work in mosaics. And in keeping with her respect for the living Earth, she has chosen to re purpose materials that are “seconds” and might have been thrown away.
The compass hints of chaos and order, of germination and decay, of cycles and stasis. It can lead you in conversation with a 3-year old or get you chatting ontology or cosmology while looking up at the night sky. It is not totally complete, but almost, and can be seen in Lower Purgatory in the middle of the sky watch pod. Thanks Jennifer…t.o.d.