Skip to Content

Artist-in-Residence: Harriet Salmon

Explore the work of artist-in-residence Harriet Salmon as she transforms aircraft parts into art.


Salmon’s installation investigates a very old-fashioned ability to divide space, section off areas and create form, and applies it to the infrastructure of an airplane airframe. She will create a series of sculptural works from the tail components of small aircraft. Using techniques from traditional New England furniture making and English willow fence panel weaving in willow and hardwoods, she adds panels to the metal airframes that reflect interest in form-building and the division of space. Rather than through digital or electrical invention, these techniques explore tacit knowledge passed down through families and vocations. They’re deeply rooted in an understanding of what local resources are available and the outer limits of how these resources can be manipulated using time and knowledge. Willow and ash panel weaving is a technique always done in-situ. It’s used to divide agricultural spaces, a pasture, a vegetable garden, a fish weir or livestock pound.

“When I think about flight and the engineering that lifts us up in an aircraft, my first thought is of the structure of the plane. Like a bird’s hollow bones, the aircraft is constantly balancing its own weight against its potential power for forward motion. I enjoy conceptualizing the ribs and trusses of the plane’s form that are later skinned to encapsulate it.”

What happens abstractly when these two technologies collide? What shapes appear from skills taken from different ends of history? Salmon is interested in how a formal and occasionally decorative language appears from two very utilitarian technologies.

Influences include Japanese bamboo baskets and the lattice sculptures of Martin Puryear.


Elevator 1
Willow, rattan, cherry, rush rope, waxed twine, metal aircraft frame

Rudder 1
Willow, maple, walnut, rattan, rush rope, waxed twine, metal aircraft frame

Elevator II
Willow, oak, mahogany, rattan, waxed twine, metal aircraft frame

Elevator & Rudder
Willow, oak, cherry, bamboo, rattan, rush rope, two aircraft frames

Biplane Wing
Willow, cherry, red oak, walnut, mahogany, maple, Douglas fir, rattan, rush rope, waxed twine, wooden aircraft frame