Students collaborate on community art project

A large, student-made hammock will be available for student use by Winter 2021


Virginia Laurie

The 12 foot in diameter hammock known as “Cradle”

Virginia Laurie

Over thirty students and faculty have helped assemble the 12 foot in diameter hammock known as “Cradle” situated behind Wilson Hall by Woods Creek trail.

Reggie Zhao, ‘21 found inspiration from her spring term drawing in place class with art Professor Leigh Ann Beavers.

She decided to transform the bird’s nest she made for her final project into something bigger.

“I had the thought of transforming the idea of ‘nesting’ to a human-scale for my junior studio art seminar class this past spring,” Zhao said.

The project was initially put on hold following the transition to virtual classes in March.

“This fall I decided to finish what I’ve started,” she said, “I figured it would be a great COVID-safe outdoor activity for people to do in this weird time when people are mostly doing things from home.”

Pamela Steimel, ‘22, enjoyed volunteering on the project where she wound rope around the poles that made the base of the hammock.

“I definitely enjoyed the experience,” she said. “It was good to get outside amidst a hectic semester and work on something non-academic for a while. I have to admit that it was surprising to see the number of people that showed up to work on it, and I’m so glad that I was able to be a part of this project.”

The hammock is built from a reclaimed trampoline frame, manila ropes and bamboos harvested from the Chessie Trail.

The hammock will be fully functional and available for student use by winter 2021.

Zhao said, “I hope ‘nesting’ in the hammock underneath the trees and by Woods Creek can make us feel nurtured by the natural environment around us (which is why I’m naming [it] Cradle), and maybe we can think more about our relationships with the environment.”

Steimel said it also speaks to the community on campus. “Even if the hammock isn’t used every single day, the mere fact that so many of us showed up to help says a lot about the W&L community,” Steimel said.