Beca Piascik’s work is grounded in the significance of water, and inspired by connections between the core elements of nature and communities created by humans. Native to upstate New York and working regularly in Southern California, Beca traverses media but finds herself at home once more in the water world of hand papermaking. Creating sculptural art through hand papermaking as a medium is incredibly dynamic and informative, enabling manipulation of the material properties of paper with intensely haptic processes.

Collecting and reutilizing is significant to the responsibility of practicing sustainability. Through the process of papermaking, I am able to utilize recycled and non-recyclable material within the structures of sculptures, and within the makeup of my handmade paper itself. I collect pizza boxes, sugar packet wrappers, old flyers, - any pulpable material- because I am interested in the history that the gathering of personal ephemera brings into my practice, and the literal texture that they manifest. The movement of energy within the transformation of the recycled material reflects the process of the water cycle in the creation of paper. The hydrologic cycle and all other ecological cycles are precious and essential; it is the bedrock that our entire planet runs on. In my body of work, Keystones, I am exploring the importance of the pieces of these cycles and the haptic opportunities that go unutilized in artmaking.
     My touch sculptures are seemingly organic invitations for interaction. Through the process of papermaking, I am able to reconnect with water in a way that is intuitive and intentional. “Keystone” is a term to describe the vital part of the whole; in terms of species, they are organisms that, if removed, would cause a trophic cascade. The term ‘Keystone Species’ was coined by zoologist Robert Treat (Bob) Paine III, who studied the relationship between Pisaster Ochraceus  (starfish), and  Mytilus Californianus  (mussel), and their importance to the population of seaweed and the communities that feed on seaweed. His research changed the course of conservation biology, and we now understand that a keystone species can exist even if they play a relatively small role in productivity or biomass within the ecosystem. The delicate balance of biodiversity starts with the cycle of any ecosystem and can fall apart when any predator, producer, or primary consumer is removed.
     Every organism has its own Umwelt, the biological makeup that lies at the center of communication and significance in the human and nonhuman animal. The Umwelt is the way an organism’s mind interprets the world. I am looking into areas of sensory perception such as touch, that we as humans can sometimes find ourselves out of touch with. Looking past our own limits and past our own Umwelt will allow us to have a greater understanding of the natural world around us.

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