Aquascapes–Designing with Fish

In September the Nature Lab held a workshop series entitled Aquascapes – Designing with Fish. Through two Saturday afternoon sessions, undergraduate and graduate students from Sculpture, Ceramics, Illustration and Printmaking learned about the habitat requirements of current and potential marine inhabitants, along with tank-friendly materials.

After brainstorming design ideas, students quickly moved into making a variety of hand-formed and mold-casted objects out of porcelain and cement. Installed in one of our 150-gallon saltwater tanks, the creation is an evolving piece in which the organisms are daily altering the scene through their movements and growth along the sculptural surfaces.

Jennifer Bissonnette, biological programs designer at the Nature Lab, planned the workshop, dubbing it an “interspecies collaboration.” According to Jen, the goal of the tank design was “not only to make an aesthetically appealing aquascape, but to highlight the fact that wittingly or not, we are always affecting the habitat of those we share the ecosystem with, and they are responding. This just makes the collaboration conscious – and visible.”

Lucia Monge MFA 15 SC helped plan the workshop. “It’s a fun way to not only learn about marine life, but to relate more closely to other forms of life. It explores the human-nature connection, which is what the Nature Lab is all about.”

Casting of student faces
Horseshoe and hermit crab
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The RISD Nature Lab is an EPSCoR|C-AIM Core Research Facility supported by the National Science Foundation under Cooperative Agreement #OIA-1655221 and EAGER Grant Award #1723559. ​​​Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed on this site are those of the Nature Lab and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.​

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