Materials - Orange Peel

After last class I was sure that I would not blog that session. In my zest to stay away from the norm I totally failed to convey my point to the class. But now for me I think I will blog for my future reflections.

While most people presented really amazing material concepts, I decided to use natural grown fruits consisting of Oranges, Limes and Onion shoots.


Inspired by Eva Hesse’ work with latex which changed over time, I wanted to illustrate art and crafts which decay and or transform in a rapid succession. My goal was to take a time-lapse of the decaying artwork over a course of a week, but reflecting on how my presentation went, I killed it. Regretfully!

In any case I did take some other pics, so I hope you the reader get the concept I was trying to convey.

As you can see I cut out the skins off the oranges in the shape of flowers an, which were then extended by the onion shoots as the stems. The oranges were thick and needed a slight bit of care to peel without much distortion.


Next I peeled the the limes in pieces and I made a bug and a snake.


the result is a picture of a garden with two flowers, a snake and a bug. The narrative of the scene; the snake, which have been hiding in the fallen petals of the flower is camouflaged and is making it’s way close to the flower where the bug will eventually land.


This is the cycle of life, and like all natural organic matter (materials I will call them), they decay and replenish the earth, thus continuing the cycle. The materials used to illustrate will also continue the cycle.

But let’s look at organic materials a bit more. Think of Cotton; it comes from a plant. We process, weave and make clothing and other garments with cotton. Reference to how cotton is made.

Also think about Silk which is spun from the cocoon of the Silk worm. Silk ref.

How about animals! We all know about leather, snake-skin, alligator skin, goat skin, and now eco-friendly Fish skin Hand bags, Wallets and Bikini’s: ( Handbags ref1, Bags ref2, Bikini’s ref3 ).

Back to the skin of fruits as materials, I did find some works which specifically uses the skin of and/or scent of oranges.

Orange peel Carpet:

Jan Hopkin’s artwork with Orange Peel


One more thing; Where I grew up we used natural plant leaves for holding food and cooking. The dried green orange skin we use as a form of tea when boiled. You can taste the orange flavor and the dried peel last for weeks if not months. We use the leaves of banana plants to wrap flower and berries and place in a boiling pot. Simple uses of Banana Leaves.

I hope at least this was educational and that maybe we can look deeper into the old word for newer sources of materials and more.

Forgot to add this link:
MSE - Materials Science and Engineering

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