janet echelman

Photo: Todd Erickson

Suspended 745 feet between a 24-story skyscraper and the Vancouver Convention Center, artist Janet Echelman's latest, most ambitious project stretches across roofs, streets, plazas and waterways. Three years in the making, the piece's delicate, yet sprawling design is subtle enough to blend in with the sky during the day, but comes alive with illumination at night. It debuted March 15-22, coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the TED Conference, where in 2011, Echelman spoke on the topic of Taking Imagination Seriously.

Echelman's pieces, composed of unlikely materials, such as fishing net and atomized water particles—and in this case, fibers 15 times stronger than steel—are sculptural environments that respond to forces of nature. She's allowed Oprah.com to feature a photo of the sculpture on the site and shares four things she knows for sure about…

Being an artist: Every day I can be challenged at my edge, and if I am not there is no one to blame but myself.

Joy: Every morning my husband and I walk our two children to school and hold their hand. It's 8 a.m., and I have already had a good day. There is something about putting the personal at the beginning, [that means], somehow, the world is okay.

What happens as you tackle more ambitious projects: I learn things and encounter failure and I keep going. That is also a model for how I am learning to be a parent day-by-day.

Where Art and Life intersect: I aspire to have my life be like my sculpture. The sculpture is a resilient form that can move fluidly and gracefully, and can adapt to changing wind and changing weather. In my life, I would like to be as agile and adaptable as my art.

janet echelman artwork

Photo: Ema Peter

Title: Skies Painted with Unnumbered Sparks
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Year: 2014
janet echelman artwork

Photo: William Short

Title: The Space Between Us
Location: Santa Monica, California
Year: 2013
janet echelman artwork

Photo: Janet Echelman

Title: 1.26 Denver
Location: Colorado
Year: 2010
janet echelman artwork

Photo: Marinco Kojdanovski

Title: 1.26 Sydney
Location: Australia
Year: 2011
janet echelman artwork

Photo: Janus van den Eijnden

Title: 1.26 Amsterdam
Location: Netherlands
Year: 2012-2013
janet echelman artwork

Photo: Sean Airhart

Title: Impatient Optimist
Location: Seattle, Washington
Year: 2013
janet echelman artwork

Photo: Valentin Berechet

Title: Her Secret Is Patience
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Year: 2009
janet echelman artwork

Photo: Christina Lazar Schuler

Title: Water, Sky, Garden
Location: Richmond, B.C., Canada
Year: 2009
janet echelman artwork

Photo: Enrique Diaz

Title: She Changes
Location: Porto, Portugal
Year: 2005