SEW SOW SUKKAH draws from the nature of seasonal cycles and their fundamental importance in both the celebration of the Jewish Sukkot holiday and in the traditional vernacular style of the sukkah structure. The design and construction of SEW SOW SUKKAH responds to the cyclical nature of life. The basic structural component is a form of pressed wood fibers (plant pots), a direct reference to the historic use of branches in traditional sukkahs. The modular fiber units are stitched together (using zip-ties) to form the simple curved walls and roof of the sukkah, which are shaped to provide shade as well as draw the eye upward to the symbolic presence of the sun, moon and stars. The solar system registers the seasonal changes in the cycle of growth and rebirth. The form of SEW SOW SUKKAH was determined by the moon present during the Jewish holiday in 2012 from the transition of the full moon on September 30th to the third quarter moon in early October, thereby registering the daily (diurnal) cycle of the moon during harvest time.
Tillandsia baileyi (Ball Moss) is placed in the modular pressed fiber “plant pots”, creating a vegetated surface on the exterior of the sukkah. Tillandsia baileyi is a lightweight epiphyte, or “air plant” which requires no soil or water to survive, and will place no additional weight on the structure.
With Margaret Saunders and Alisa West
With thanks to Ben Ruggiero for photographing the final installation.
Design Competition Winning Entry and Installation at the
Austin Jewish Community Center, Austin, TX, September/October 2012