bone series: urchins

The Bone Series: Urchins are hand built, perforated flanges of very thin, nearly translucent porcelain, if held up to the light the edges will glow. For this ephemeral In The Field installation, I went to one of my favorite beaches near Davenport California at a very low tide to have access to where the urchins live. I’m usually here to forage for urchins, mussels, seaweed and any other bivalves I might find, but I know that this special place is where my inspiration for these pieces started. I placed my urchins into holes in the mudstone rocks that had been formed by the urchins themselves. They actually bite away at the rock with their teeth and slowly sculpt their protected home around them.

Purple urchins are beautiful and mesmerizing to watch but they have also been multiplying like crazy in recent years and devouring the kelp beds off the California coast at an unstable rate. This is due to sea star wasting disease, as the sea stars are the main predator of urchins. The urchins have thrived and they can eat up a kelp forest in no time. The kelp forests are the food source and habitat for hundreds of other marine creatures. The good news is that the roe inside the urchins is delicious and a Japanese delicacy called uni, so if you see some purple urchins, don’t be afraid to crack them open and eat up the golden roe, you can help save the kelp beds and get a fancy meal out of it!