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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

NE artist finds inspiration in bamboo

Patience Series, Shane Whitehead Photos by Katelyn Townsend/The Collegian
Patience Series, Shane Whitehead
Photos by Katelyn Townsend/The Collegian

By Brandy Voirin/reporter

Shane Whitehead, NE kinesiology instructional associate, is known for self-defense maneuvers and Kenpo martial arts.

He wound up needing those skills to capture his toughest challenge yet, building a backyard oasis in North Richland Hills filled with 25-foot bamboo and turning it into art.

Patience Series, Shane Whitehead Photos by Katelyn Townsend/The Collegian
Patience Series, Shane Whitehead
Photos by Katelyn Townsend/The Collegian

Bamboo Art, inspired by Whitehead’s love of Japanese culture, is on display in the NE Campus library through September.

“The process took nine years from start to finish,” Whitehead said. “It takes seven years for the maturing process of bamboo.”

However, going from backyard to wall art wasn’t easy. Whitehead spent enormous energy roping his way through an array of restrictions and backyard regulations.

Growing bamboo was still a top priority. Whitehead said working with bamboo has always fascinated him, but it was difficult to find a consistent quality to use.

“Bamboo is curved by nature, and I wanted linear pieces,” he said. “And ordering on the Internet was a disaster.”

Whitehead prefers to touch and feel the bamboo, a natural flexible resource.

“Craigslist was a great source for bamboo,” he said. “But location does matter.”

Whitehead found homeowners who didn’t want their bamboo.

“Finally sourcing bamboo, and free bamboo, was exciting,” he said. “The drive to Duncanville was actually relaxing, until the shock set in.”

In Duncanville, Whitehead dug each bamboo by hand and excitedly replanted the new crop.

“First you transplant it, water it and then you wait for the harvest,” he said. “Well, after a week of waiting, all the bamboo died, which produced the title to the ‘Patience’ series.”

NE student Breanne Brisco was intrigued by the display.

“I never knew bamboo could be so fascinating,” she said. “I’m so inspired by the artist’s passion, mainly the ‘Patience’ and ‘Crimson’ series.”

Whitehead stressed the lessons he learned.

“That was a tough day, but giving up is not in my nature,” he said.

Whitehead said showing his work at the library was an unexpected blessing.

The display can be found on the library’s upper level.

NE student Candice Puente was very impressed.

“It’s soothing and very unexpected,” she said. “It’s really different.”

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