Credit Line: Commissioned by University Museums. Iowa Art in State Building Project for the Fredriksen Court Community Center. In the Art on Campus Collection, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
The work of art that makes up King Harvest are located both inside and outside of the Frederiksen Court Community Center and focus on regional farming and food production in Iowa. King Harvest is comprised of the brickwork design of the chimney and fireplace; cast concrete insets on the walls and fireplaces; and terrazzo floors designed in conjunction with Minnesota artist Brad Kaspari. The floors contain depictions of planting patterns for planting fields, the soil types of Story County, hawthorn leaves, grasshoppers and an array of grains, vegetables and fruit. Braaksma states, "the floor images are inspired by the fact that Iowa is a major producer of corn and soybeans and Iowa State itself is a leader in research for the use of these farm products."
The soil survey map is located inside the south entrance of Frederiksen Court Community Center. The terrazzo floor map represents a section of 160 acres in North Central Iowa. Soil was extensively plotted and mapped beginning in 1889 as a result of the 1887 Federal Hatch Act. Samples of soils were obtained by boring a hole and extracting a 3 foot core sample. The samples were then classified using a standardized geological code. The soil types denoted by a standard number, if a letter follows the number, it indicates the degree of slope in the given area. An additional number following the letter indicates the degree of soil erosion.
The brick work for the Frederiksen Court Community Center is stylistically bold and graphic. The chimney design incorporates a graduation of the brick layers, each layer indented to give the chimney a elongated, trapezoidal shape. Five different brick colors are used to pattern the chimney. Braakasma states, "I researched historic brickwork to find possibilities for enhancing the visual impact of the chimney for building users and for passerbys."
The meeting room fireplace is a combination of brick and concrete finishings. A understated design, traditional design elements like a concrete mantle and keystone are employed. The keystone, again, reflects a continued use of the trapezodial shape. The commons room has a tiered double-sided fireplace with concrete inlays of corn. Primary angular designs are achieved through the use of three brick colors. "Precast concrete insets in the fireplace surround contains sculpted, low relief images of corn ears and stalks, adding to the themes of regional agriculture and food production that underlie the unifying artistic concept of King Harvest," states Braaksma. Around the interior walls are bands of hawthorn leaves in the same cast concrete.
Terrazzo is a polished flooring of small colorful marble chips. The chips are concrete inlaid between a matrix of brass strips. Frederiksen Court Community Center has a variety of terrazzo designs including plowing patterns, hawthorn leaves, grasshoppers, an apple and a lightning bolt, a microscopic view of starches, and numerous types of vegetables. the plowing pattern at the south entrance represents the breaking of the prairie sod and the tillage of the fields. The wave-like lines are the plow lines or plow strips that create the ride of soil for planting. Other plow patterns represented in terrazzo include the traditional animal drawn plow where plowing lines originate in the center of a field and echo outward, as well as the plowing of marshlands indicated by the crown-like symbol.
Toward the center of the building is a red delicious apple with a lightning bolt in the foreground, referencing the atypical origin of the Red Delicious apple in Iowa. The leaves scattered in the floor are from the hawthorn tree and are native to central Iowa. The other crops and vegetation consist of root vegetables, carrots, rutabaga, beats, ears of corn and tasseled corn plants. A microscopic view of protein starches is located near the south entrance preceded by brass grasshoppers. According to Braaksma, she chose the color palette for the terrazzo floors after reviewing the carpet coloring and the content of the floor images. The terrazzo floor portion of King Harvest received a 2001 Honor Award by the National Terrazzo and Mosaic Association, Inc.
Carolyn Braaksma received her B.A., magna cum laude, at the Metropolitan State College in 1980. She completed her Graduate work at the University of Minnesota where she studied studio arts from 1987 to 1989.