Earth Wall, Living Wall
Designed by Joan Baron and constructed by Rammed Earth Solar Homes of Tucson, Earth Wall, Living Wall promotes the beauty of the desert using rammed earth, ceramic, concrete and tinta stain. Rammed earth is inherently organic, possessing irregularities and imperfections that change with time. Despite its fragile organic appearance, rammed earth is extremely strong and requires very little maintenance. Natural materials (often harvested from building sites) including clay, sand, wood, rock, and charcoal are mixed with approximately 4% concrete to create rammed earth. Tinta, the colored stain technique used on the wall was developed by an architect in Italy and perfected by Dennis Hopper of Hopper Company. Joan Baron made her color choices based on primary colors found in the natural environment—reds inspired by desert flowers, blues by water.
Throughout the construction of the wall the artist conducted a number of workshops inviting contributors to design the ceramic hand-shaped tiles. These hands symbolize a vehicle used by many different cultures to communicate connections between an individual's place in time and in the universe. Rows of these tiles embedded on the surface of the wall now serve as part of a collective memory.
Much of educator and artist Joan Baron's work focuses on stimulating and healing experiences conveyed through art within the public realm. She lives and works in Scottsdale, where she creates many site-specific installations for residential and commercial clients. Baron has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Art Institute of Chicago. She also facilitates workshops, seminars and field trips that promote 'environmentally sensitive' art. Baron feels that art can have a very therapeutic effect on the human spirit. She says, "It is the collective healing of our communities and environments that I passionately continue to explore."