Using a combination of organic cotton and “up-cycled” fabrics, artist Christy Hawkins has created this three-dimensional campsite to help counteract “nature deficit disorder.” Conceptually, this project is targeted at families. I particularly think the children who visit will enjoy the scene and the feel of the space. Nature deficit disorder, a term keyed by Richard Louv, affects many children today, especially in the city. In his book Last Child in the Woods, Louv conveys that the lack of nature in today’s children can be directly linked “to some of the most disturbing childhood trends, such as the rise in obesity, attention disorders, and depression.” I hope that this installation will inspire children, and their parents, to get out there and go on a real camping trip. By replicating a scene in nature with quilted fabric, I am equating softness, comfort, warmth and safety with outdoor pursuits. A homemade quilt and the outdoors are two things that I enjoy surrounding myself with. Now I share that comfort with the City of Portland so that more children will be inspired to utilize the ever-present blanket of the natural world, not just as children, but into adulthood, thereby reducing the disorder caused by a deficit of nature.
Christy sent along a few pictures, but this looks like something to see in person. So, Patrick and I plan to hop in at the Portland Building next time we’re downtown in the next month and check it out!
About the artist: “Christy Hawkins attended Maryland Institute College of Art in the late 1990s and is currently an Art Practices major at Portland State University. She began designing and sewing quilts for her children but loved the process so much that she turned it into a small quilt-making business. This life experience, combined with her love of the outdoors (she has solo-cycled across the U.S. and throughout Europe and has hiked the 230 mile John Muir Trail in the Sierra Nevada range), has shaped her artistic direction and led her to projects like Outdoors In.”