Sculpture artist incorporates solar energy

Sculpture artist incorporates solar energyAn Alabama sculpture artist has found a beautiful way to blend solar panels and public art in Florida.

Deedee Morrison’s Sun-Catcher sculpture was installed in Clearwater, Fla., as part of the Clearwater’s Art and Design Program’s Sculpture 360, developed to get art on the city’s streets.

Morrison only recently began experimenting with solar.

“I’ve always worked in heavy stones and metals,” she said. “Those are very masculine materials.”

To soften them, she began incorporating electronics and lighting several years ago.

“But I’ve always been very interested in the natural element and sustainability,” she said.

So she started researching solar options.

She designed a few sculptures that were powered with solar panels. But the first few had solar panels next to the sculptures rather than incorporated into the sculptures themselves. Sun-Catcher is Morrison’s first project with a fully-integrated solar panel system as part of the art itself.

“The Sun-Catcher is special,” she said.

Morrison is a creator who is typically proud of all of her work. But the Sun-Catcher, which fills with yellow light, does seem like a special accomplishment or favored child to her.

A solar panel on top of the sculpture powers the lighting that brings a special brightness to the work.

It’s not just art anymore that interests Morrison. In beginning to use solar in her work, she spent months researching solar. She’s still learning about it and finding new types of solar and learning about inverters and all of the electronics that go into using and installing solar panels on her sculptures. The science behind how solar panels collect the energy also interests her, she said.

And she wants to pass some of that experience onto the people who view her art.

“The Sun-Catcher is such a great educational tool,” Morrison said. “People can physically see what happens when a solar panel absorbs energy throughout the day and how long into the night that energy lasts.”

The light almost always lasts through the night, Morrison said. On very cloudy and rainy days, it may flicker just before dawn.

Now that she’s started incorporating solar technology into her art, Morrison has no plans to stop. Her next three projects include solar panels. One is a sustainable flower with flexible solar panels built into the flower petals, she said.

“It allows me to not have such rigid lines,” she said.