Nathalie Miebach's colorful sculptures look like children’s toys gone awry, as if the designer inlcuded far too many twists and turns for a child to possibly follow. It would make sense that these twisted routes would throw one off course, as they are modeled from scientific data pulled from wind patterns, often from storms, gales or blizzards. Miebach translates this quantified data into physical forms that mimic the twirling motions of the invisible weather they aim to imitate.
“The method that I use is basket weaving because basket weaving is a very simple three dimensional grid that I can use to translate data with,” said Miebach. “Everything in the sculpture, whether it is a colorful bead, a string, whether it’s a dowel or reed, represents a different data point. Nothing is put on there for purely aesthetic reasons.”
The Boston artist discovered this process while simultaneously taking an astronomy class at Harvard and learning basket weaving as an extracurricular activity. She yearned for a way to physically display the data she was learning about in class, and thus her 3D scientific models were born. In a field where one is not able to see the data they collect, her sculptures give a form to that which was previously only able to be felt, tasted, and smelled.
Not only do her pieces serve as aesthetic objects, but readable sources of concrete data. “It is important for me that these pieces are actually very accurate because I want them to live in the science world as much as in the sculpture or craft world,” said Miebach. “I still want you to be able to read the weather off of these sculptures.”
You can learn more about Miebach’s process while taking a peak inside her studio in the video from Great Big Story below: