Handheld Objects Hold Power
A quote contributed to Mark Twain reads, Everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it.
June Woest longs to travel and tires of doomsday weather predictions. Her artwork derives from her career experiences with the ceramic process and self-study on the history of climate control and weather manipulation. She wants to increase conversations about tomorrow’s weather.
She teaches art history and maintains a studio practice that includes ceramics, sculpture, photography, drawing, digital and print production processes.
Rain or Shine
I imagine myself a master manipulator of the weather. My sculptures help me get where I want to go no matter the weather.
Disruptions due to extreme weather happen frequently enough now that peoples’ plans and livelihoods are daily thrown about. Recently a day of blustery winds in South Texas set in motion a cascade of events that sidelined 1500 American Airline flights nationally for four days.
I derived some outdoor resilience to weather growing up in Kansas. Nearby was farmland first plowed by my grandfather’s team of horses. It was rural Kansas where I walked in wheat fields. I climbed over bumpy outcroppings of limestone rock and saw family members cut down Juniper trees- called weeds because of their thirsty root systems.
Planning for what the weather might bring implied a long look at the anxiety brought by a storm. Tornados topped them all. Daily wind gusts were second- for which the ladies wore headscarves that now seems like an understatement.
I wasn’t aware then of how Kansans felt about weather conditions affecting growing food to feed their families and the world. Children starving in China and how to help was dinner conversation. Cleaning my plate, another. I learned to watch the sky for clues to there being enough food for winter. By looking up to the sky, I was also listening, tapping into wind, rain, heat and cold as meaningful food resource information.
Where I live now and call home is Houston, Texas. Most every day is soaked in humidity and heat. The year, 2021 was different though…I saw fronds on tall palms blanketed in snow. The Texas grid system wasn't prepared either for those four days of freezing cold temperatures. Even the leaves on my indoor African violet suffered frostbite. And the years before that? A once-in-a-hundred-year flood happened two years in a row with a once in five-hundred-year flood following those.
The question remains for me whether getting in a car when it starts to rain is safe. Our bayou waters can rise quickly in freeway underpasses and racing canoes to service a street rescue is dangerous.
With extreme weather more frequent, travel has simply become more complicated every year. Factor in a world-wide health pandemic, and my desire to travel is more like planning an escape. It's why making weather changing hand-held controllers hold an appeal- they allow me to imagine the very best is possible.
My Travel Plans Have Changed