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Nevada Tribble designs new sculpture for garden at Popodicon

ISSUED: 29 April 2019
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Shepherd University’s Popodicon has a new sculpture created by Nevada Tribble, a Bachelor of Fine Arts student from Elkins, adorning the center of its formal garden. The piece, her first public concrete sculpture, was inspired by a bee’s eyesight.

“The sculpture has a compound eye shape but it’s abstracted a little bit to where it also looks like a part of a flower or seed,” Tribble said. “It has a blue and yellow pattern on it because bees can see way into the ultraviolet spectrum, so they’re more attracted to the blue and purple range of colors.”

Because Popodicon has a pollinator garden, Tribble wanted to incorporate that theme into her work. She read an article about bees’ eyesight and found it interesting.

“I had never thought about the way bees see things, and it’s interesting to imagine how different the world looks to them,” Tribble said. “There are pictures online of what flowers look like to bees with the UV light spectrum. They’re really cool. They see super different colors than we do. Sometimes there are spots and stripes on the flowers that we can’t see, which I think is pretty amazing.”

This is Tribble’s first experience working with concrete. Kay Dartt, clinical faculty and manager of FASTEnER Lab, assisted her with the project. Tribble made the pieces using foam molds that she cut out on the digital fabrication table. Each piece has a steel rod inside for extra support that sticks out at the bottom so the pieces could be welded together. The joints were then covered with concrete. The project involved a bit of engineering work.

“Sculpture kind of goes into that territory—knowing what’s going to stand up and what’s not,” Tribble said. “For me that’s a trial and error process. One of the great things about having Kay help with this project is that she has an engineering and art degree, so she’s great at figuring out how to make things work. Welding it together was her idea.”

“Nevada is a very motivated student,” Dartt said. “She understands all the opportunities that are available here at Shepherd and takes full advantage of those opportunities. She’s a pleasure to work with. She’s very energized and professional.”

Tribble’s sculpture will remain in Popodicon’s garden for one year.

“I’m really proud that I got to do it,” Tribble said. “It was a great learning experience for me, and it’s exciting to see an idea from my head going out into the public world in the garden.

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