Coal Matrix—Commission for King County Black Diamond Library


Black Diamond’s rich history is linked not only to the physical discovery of coal, but also to the network of residents who originally traveled here to form this town. The linear web of steel elements that comprise ‘Coal Matrix’ speaks to both aspects of this unique place.

In researching the history of Black Diamond for this artwork I was intrigued to find so many visual similarities between the organic structure of coal (on a molecular level) and the intersecting pathways of those individuals and families who journeyed here from varied backgrounds and regions to establish this town. The colorful ‘buttons’ which protrude from the cut steel structures emphasize these overlapping paths in the same way a diagram of a coal molecule represents the merging of several different types of atoms.

The meandering shape of the artwork is a gentle nod to the dramatic geographical setting of Black Diamond, with its rushing river and heroic mountain nearby.