Landart installation - Chappellet Winery, St. Helena, Ca
Falcons over Lake Hennessey celebrates an endangered species success story!
In 1975 there were estimated to be only 5 known mated pairs of Peregrine Falcons in California. The species teetered dangerously on the edge of extinction. The Ban of DDT use and various breeding programs has replenished this noble raptor’s numbers (now estimated at 300 pairs in California) and facilitated its removal from California’s endangered list.
Falcons over Lake Hennessy is the brainchild of Chappellet Artist in Residence, Julia Crane. Julia saw the geometric patterns and symmetry of a newly planted vineyard and wanted to highlight a multi-piece work of art on top of the metal vineyard posts.
Julia commissioned a ceramic’s studio in Southern California to produce the 100 slipcast (a process in which watered down ceramic clay is poured into plaster molds to form a cast copy) duplicates from 5 original plasticine-clay Peregrine Falcon sculptures, which she made. The cast falcons had not been fired or cured, so were highly fragile, basically mud, and were designed to dissolve over time with rain, sun and weather. As the falcons were being cast a small amount of dirt from the Pritchard Hill Vineyard was added to the clay mixture so the falcon sculptures were, at least part, of the same earth to which they will return.
For the moment the Peregrine species is out of immediate danger. The 100 “mud” falcons disappeared in a rainstorm October 2016. This demonstration reminds us of what nearly happened had humans made changes to help the survival of this species.