Inspiration from the Marcellus Shale

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Elizabeth Lamark/ETC Photo

Katherine Marsh

Increasing consumption, urbanization, industrialization and a growing mobile human population are modifying the Earth’s surface. Natural resources are used to fulfill our needs and desires for the energy to fuel varying degrees of consumptive lifestyles. Without a second thought, we flip on a light switch to enter a dark room. How often do we consider the effects that even our smallest actions have on our Earth? With my furniture pieces, I hope to bring these realizations into our daily consciousness through functional objects that panegyrize the natural resources we utilize. By incorporating geographic formations and data visualization into dimensional forms, I hope to spark a consciousness about our relationship and interactions with the planet and its other inhabitants. With these ideas in mind, I aim to produce desirable furniture pieces made with sustainable practices.

In “Marcellus,” created from maple and birch plywood, I explore humans’ utilization of limited natural resources for energy. In New York state, fracking is a controversial method for natural-gas extraction. The Marcellus Shale, an underground rock formation stretching from New York throughout the Appalachian Basin, is being targeted by energy-development companies for its untapped natural-gas reserves.

For this piece, I looked at cross-sectional imaging and topographic mapping of the Marcellus Shale. With this information, I recreated the Marcellus formation with layering of laser-cut plywood. These pieces are suspended in a frame that crisscrosses to make a target centerpiece for sitting or table use.