Drift Rope Project

Eric Darling

I am a self-taught artist native to New England. I went west to earn a BA in Anthropology at San Diego State University. Interests such as photography, travel and raising a family, as well as an overall appreciation for the natural world are all evident in my work. I tend to oscillate between mediums, using elements from my photography to catch impressions of fleeting moments with oil on canvas; or using finished wood panels and stains, and upcycled pot warp in mixed media assembly.

A past invitation to create a piece of work using wood panels, and a pile of collected drift rope, sparked the divergence of the Drift Rope Project: An assembly of found and abandoned pot warp from the Saint George River.

Over the past few years I’ve collected over a ton of abandoned pot warp and have explored its versatility as a durable art medium. There is a cultural and historical connection between the rope and the livelihoods of many coastal communities of Maine and beyond, which has inspired me to start the Drift Rope Project. I hope to pioneer a new frontier of upcycled art and bring awareness to the many ways this overlooked material could become an art tourism attraction; as well as a creative way to brighten up some public settings in the visual forms of wall installations, public benches, garden sculptures, and a variety of unforeseen art forms which I plan to create. Currently there is limited use for the retired pot warp and miles of this colorful, diverse material is buried in the local landfills.

Recently I was awarded the Artist Springboard Grant, funded in part by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts. The grant will fund part of the “Drift Rope Project” to create a public installation sculpture to draw awareness of the potential of the pot warp as an art medium that is both interactive and visual in nature. The project has been graciously accepted for a limited time display at Merryspring Nature Center in Camden, Maine for the year of 2022. Please visit my website for further details www.ericdarlingart.com