Piper’s Orchard Tours & Call for Volunteers from Artist Shin Yu Pai

Keepsake part of the HEIRLOOM project by Shin Yu Pai. Courtesy of the Artist
Keepsake, part of the HEIRLOOM project by Shin Yu Pai. Courtesy of the Artist

Shin Yu Pai is a poet and photographer whose current work focuses on place-based writing, installation, and public art. She has received two 4Culture Art Projects grants, as well as a Heritage Project Award. She was awarded funding from Art Projects in 2015 for HEIRLOOM, which she shares a bit about with us here.

Throughout this summer, I’ve been working on an ongoing public poetry installation project in the trees of Piper’s Orchard in Carkeek Park. HEIRLOOM is part of Heaven & Earth 7: Propagation, an exhibition of outdoor art curated by Thendara Kida-Gee and David Francis. As part of my project, I am “printing” words on apples using adhesive stencils applied to the fruit that are exposed to the rays of the sun. As apples ripen and the stencils are removed, words are revealed on apples throughout the trees. At the base of the orchard, a sign about the project includes a link to a QR barcode that directs smart phone users to a website where visitors can listen to a recording of a full-length poetic text about Piper’s Orchard set to an ambient soundtrack of sonic recordings made in the orchard throughout the seasons.

My project has faced some challenges in terms of natural and human interventions – ripe apples falling from branches, picking. From day to day, what’s physically on the trees changes – the rapid ripening of apple skins, bug infestations, rot. I never know what I’ll see when I go back into the orchard to work, which has been a very different process than creating for the written page.

This Saturday, I’ll return to the orchard to install the last batch of vinyl stencils for HEIRLOOM. I’d like to invite blog readers to join in the experience. Volunteers will help to install dozens of stencils, but more than that, I’d like to as anyone interested in participating, or seeing HEIRLOOM unfold, to take on the role of “apple stewards” Come back to the orchard every day, or as often as possible, to see the subtle changes in color through the ripening process and capture the experience before the apples fall from the trees or disappear. Send me your photos or post them to Facebook with the hashtags #FriendsofPipersOrchard #shinyupai or #theheirloomproject.

Volunteer work party this Saturday, August 15, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Piper’s Orchard in Carkeek Park, located at 950 NW Carkeek Park Rd. For more information on volunteering, contact City Fruit or Friends of Piper’s Orchard. Or just show up at Piper’s Orchard on Saturday!

Orchard tours and art talk/poetry readings scheduled for Saturday, August 29, 2-3 and 3-4 p.m. Meet at the Environmental Learning Center and wear hiking shoes.

HEIRLOOM is funded with support from Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture and The Awesome Foundation. Recording and production made possible through the Artist Residency Programs at Jack Straw Cultural Center. Find out more.