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This project is from the Summer of 2010 and is now archived. Visit the IMA Island page for the next related project.

A prized possession.

I looked inside a message capsule and found a Backstreet Boys magazine from 1999.  Of course, looking at this took me back to the fourth or fifth grade when the boy-band craze was sweeping the world.  Oh nostalgia…

Anyway, someone left their prized possession in a floating message.  Can you believe that?  One of the things I found interesting about the floating messages is the element of chance.  You never know where the messages end up or if the contents will stay dry, so the chance the senders took provided a touching experience.  I know we have been letting people take whatever they want for trade and we have sent off some amazing gifts, but I left all of my prized possessions at home so I would not even have to risk sending them off.  Thanks for sending us your prized possession!  It really made me smile.


Oh kids…

I had just collected all of the floating messages and restocked them before going back to the island to enjoy the sunset.  I was enjoying the lovely scenery when I noticed four kids throwing all of the islands back out in the water…I was frustrated I had to go back out and bring all twenty of them they threw out back up the beach so others could send out messages, but at the same time I was thrilled these children enjoyed the floating messages so much that they could not stop sending them out.  Anyway, I also thought this photo was hilarious because it looks like the children are standing on the ladies’ heads.


Questions about Messages – ANSWERED!

Where do messages end up?

Really, this all depends on the wind.  Some days, the wind blows the islands back to the shore where they are launched.  Other days, they may blow over to the other side of the lake (like in the previous post).  On really special days, the wind catches the messages just right and floats them over to us on the island where we can just reach over and pick them up out of the water.  We have received about ten this way so far.

How do you retrieve the messages?

We row around and pick them up.

What is your favorite message?

Some people get really creative with the messages they send.  One of my favorites was definitely the “Full Circle” message where someone found their original message on the blog, printed it out, and sent it back to us with “Full Circle” written on the print out.  I also love receiving drawings and poems.  Opening up a messages feels like Christmas.  I feel excited every time I retrieve a message from its capsule.


Invasion! (and equations)

Some messages floated over by Eden II and invaded its territory.  I think it is fun to see parts of our piece interacting with another artist’s piece….

Mike + Jess =collaboration

Jess/Mike + Andrea = collaboration

Jess/Mike + public = collaboration

Jess/Mike + Andrea + future islanders = collaboration

public (via Jess/Mike) + Tea Makipaa = collaboration?



Today, a floating message sailed all of the way to the island.  Congrats!   I wish I could give you a prize.

If you look reallllllllly hard, you can see a small speck up against the island.  The capsule was in the shade, but I had to prove it IS indeed possible for the messages to make it all of the way to the island.



The wind is just right today, so the messages are just how I envisioned them when I designed their shape.  Check it out!  It appears to be an archipelago of little islands gravitating towards our home.


these message containers are going to kill me

Jess has proven herself to me once again.  Up until she left for Germany Jess had done all the work on these little buggers.  I’ve been working on them for over a week with the help of Emily Gable and i think i’m going to lose it.  Here is the big picture.  Jess and Emily carved 30 miniature islands.  We wanted them to be sturdy so we covered them in fiber glass.  We had limited funds so we only did 15.  Those fiber glassed fifteen are going to last the whole summer.  The other 15 are left to be covered in Peel Bond.  A sticky rubbery substance that will seal the foam.  The Peel Bond 15 will be additional capsules for the opening weekend as we are expecting lots of traffic.  After opening day we will continue to use the fiber glass floats and the others will be re-purposed.

The 15 i’m working with are the Peel Bond ones and i am screwing it up.  They have this weird goose bump sand paper texture that i’m having a hard time dealing with. I’ve given them 4 coats and they still look like do-do. i’m going to figure it out, momma didn’t raise no quitter.  But that doesn’t mean i’m not going to be complaining the whole time.



So, I have been hand carving 30 message pods out of foam, sanding them down, priming them, and drilling tunnels in them for a couple of months now.  I cannot express how happy I am to finally see them in action!

People litter a lot in the lake (notice the water bottle floating by the islands in the middle photo.)  Whenever we pick up the floating message pods, we make sure to remove any trash in the lake that we find.  Do not worry about the message pods getting lost and becoming litter themselves!  They are incredibly stark white in contrast to the natural environment, so we easily spot them and pick them up.

We look forward to you all sending us messages in the near future!


Under Pressure!

Who needs stools?  The most basic value of any object is being a weight.

1.  Glue and weigh down layers of high grade styrofoam.

2.  Let it cook all night.

3.  Voila!  The basic precarved structures for the floating message capsules are complete!  I present to you, a sea of islands.

Next step…Carve and sand.


.gif heaven

Here are some gifs showing the processes/messes involved with the floating message capsules.  Enjoy!


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