Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Week 5: Patron Guideposts: Defining our Lives

In my Week 14 blog I talked about exploring human traits that we all possess and how we deal with them defines who we are and our journey through life.

Interestingly, during the exploration of light and shadow I have found myself focusing on the themes that may characterize our life, such as ambition, secrecy, balance, grace, etc. .... Rather than examine the ideas through the context of a story, I have instead found myself creating individual characters that embody and symbolize these themes, but in a way that identifies the benefits and pitfalls inherent in each.  I see these figures as internal guides that we can reach out to as needed.

Through this exploration culminated in a series entitled "Patron Guideposts."  Similar to the role Patron Saints played in my childhood, these figures symbolize ideas or themes that we face in our daily lives and serve as references for the path we choose to follow. 

For example, "Secrecy" identifies the chains that can possibly intwine us as we practice deception, however the threads on the chain symbolize the secret wishes and desires that we release in ritual ways (blowing out candles, tossing coins in a fountain, etc.) just like little prayers. 


 "Balance" is a big one for me.  I think a full life comes from finding balance between opposing aspects of our lives and a little humor at the seriousness of our own drama never hurts.

"Dreams" are something that shape us from a young age.  Our dreams can be big or small and can be fulfilled or fade into the landscape of our life's journey.  For them we may take the arrows of opposition  but our dreams remain with us.

You can see these Patron Guideposts at the Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art starting September 28th through December 15th.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Week 6: Assembly Work

Let the magic begin!

These past weeks I have transitioned from clay building to the assembly part of my building process.  This is the most rewarding and chaotic aspect of my work.  Rewarding, because I finally am able to bring the narrative to life and hopefully in a way that exceeds what I had envisioned.  In fact, sometimes I get so excited to see it come to life that I have to remind myself to slow down and make sure each piece is as polished and seamless as possible.
The assembly process is chaotic because my studio gets torn apart as I look for the right hardward, ephemera, prop or platform necessary for the story of each piece.  While I keep my studio organized as much as possible there are hundreds of drawers, boxes and jars that I have to search through to find the perfect fit.  At the same time I am trying to take full advantage of all of my mixed media techniques from construction and welding to felting, sewing and encaustic.

So my studio becomes a little like a war zone, followed by brief periods of clean-up and more explosions. 

Do you remember this piece I posted in Week 12: Images of What's To Come?  Well, this piece I knew would we on the horse platform, but all the other mixed media was left to decide during the assembly process (although I did have a few ideas in mind).

After the piece was fired, I started to assemble all the different elements to build the narrative.

 I had to construct how the skull and figure were going to be secured to the victorian horse piece and how the horse was going to be secured to the stand.  Since all of this is vintage mixed media nothing is never a quick fix and requires a lot of problem solving to ensure the piece is level and secure.  

I then decided to add create ribbons similar to award ribbons to either side of the horse using ribbon and vintage buttons.  I then noticed that this gallant warhorse also needed a tail.  Luckily I had some beautiful vintage millinery feathers that did the trick. 

 I then waxed the horse to bring out the patina of the wood and the spots of remaining original paint. 

The last flourish was a flag because every voyager needs a banner to symbolize their origins and intent.  The construction of this flag involved a heat gun to synthetic material, rusting, hand stitching and beadwork.  

Now she is ready for her close-up!  Photography next week!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Weeks 7 and 8: The Slow Reveal

Yes, I am cheating for more time.  I vowed to write each week about my process leading up to the Marietta/Cobb Museum Show, but I just couldn't get it done last week.  I apologize, but in my defense I have been consumed by all the mixed media work.  I think I might have been lost for a few days under a pile of epoxy, sawdust and varnish.

As I start the assembly process I am challenging myself to take this portion of my work to the next level as well.  My studio looks like a bomb hit it as I pull out different objects and try different techniques.

I will follow up with more images of the assembly process next week.  But, in the meantime, to make up for my lost blog I would like to share some images of the new work coming out of the studio.


"The Appeal"


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Week 9: Shadow Circus on the Road

Building for Shadow Circus is quickly coming to an end.  Although the exhibition at the Marietta Cobb Museum of Art is not until September 28th, most of my building needs to be completed in the next two weeks in order to allow time to dry, fire, assemble the mixed media and document (photography).  It is lucky I am not a last minute artist because this work needs a lot of lead time.

The good news is that I am able to start sharing some of the new collection starting with a trunk show at The Copper Fox on Saturday August 3rd.  If you have the opportunity to take a trip to Leiper's Fork, TN (right outside Nashville) it is well worth it!  The small town is filled with wonderful shops and galleries and outstanding restaurants. The Copper Fox is a special gallery concentrating on artisan work from around the United States that bridges both the fine art and fine craft worlds.  Owned by David Fox, the gallery is located in a beautifully renovated house from the 1800s with exposed walls.

One of the pieces I will be bringing is entitled "Riveted."  When I first went to talk to David about The Copper Fox and check out the construction I stayed in Nashville (for a Jack White concert, but that's another story). One of the places I wanted to check out was Antique Archeology from American Picker's fame.  There I found a beautiful old riveter machine that I could not take my eyes off of.  Of course, the term "riveter" immediately conjures images of Rosie the Riveter and the strength of women to get the job done.  I was also drawn to the idea of being riveted or transfixed to what is before you.

The piece that emerged connects both of those ideas.  Like a warrior from another world, the figure is riding a post-apocalyptic machine creature, boldly confronting the future. The wheels are a symbol I often use to indicate that she is firmly planted on the ground, facing the here and now.  However, the expression of her face and hands indicate she is momentarily awed by what is ahead.  Even as a warrior she can still feel the wonder of a possible future.

It seems only fitting that "Riveted" find its way back to where her journey started:  at The Copper Fox.  I look forward to sharing "Riveted" as well as other pieces of my new collection with everyone from 6-9 on Saturday, August 3rd.