Monday, March 7, 2011

A Recollection of Heart of Coal

Upon entering the Orlando Ibex office, you may notice a female figure sitting in the corner.

Her head wilts forward, making her seem more a dormant spirit than an object. Despite her compacted, limbless anatomy, she is unmistakably feminine. The facial features are delicate, the torso is composed solely of exaggerated breasts, and the lower body borrows the form of a skirt. She is a creature of nature, draped in greenery,with veins beneath the translucent skin that echo a leaf's venation. The pole at her center is like the trunk of a tree, rooting into the base.

This figure is one of Heather’s creations from Heart of Coal, which was in the 2008 Orlando Fringe Festival. An allegory about the destructive practice of mountaintop removal, it used shadow puppets, actors, and puppets. It was one of the first times I saw Heather’s work, and epitomized everything that is distinctive about her style: the emphasis on femininity, nature, and light. This emphasis extends to the background elements, which relate to the design of the Earth Mother’s breasts.

The background’s translucency allowed them to function as shadow puppet stages, adding another layer of reality to the storytelling.

A great deal of work went into the creation of these beautiful translucent pieces.

Even the King’s industrial, inorganic form is given extra life by the inclusion of illuminated panels.

The strength of Heart of Coal’s artistic designs was part of what drew my interest to Heather’s company in early 2008. The knowledge that I would work on similar projects excited me when I joined later that year. Though time has dulled my memories of the show’s plot and characters, I still recall the ethereal beauty of those veiny, undulating hills.

Photos were taken by Billy Kid and edited by Jack Fields.
To learn more about mountaintop removal, visit:

By Jack


  1. Jack, did you know Jeremy Seghers produced this? Small world!

  2. I love the use of transluscent materials and the finished woman is so beautiful! Great work to you, Heather and your team!!


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