Now shopping for stone carving tools! Meanwhile I make do, and make progress. No silly! This is not a wounded tangle of deformed elephants! It is an abstract sculpture :-) And here is a temporary display of my first sculpture, “Young Bird”.
The stone camp was so much fun: the NWSSA stone camp beginners’ tent provided an amazing opportunity to try carving with great access to tools and knowledgeable sculptors! I highly recommend the experience. Also everyone was friendly, tried to make this introvert feel welcome, and the food & facilities were good.
My work is crude, but I am pleased with it: it relates back to an early monoprint success from 2008 shown here at left (lots of brayer work!). This fat “Bird with Fire” was accepted, and exhibited in the Collective Visions Gallery annual juried show in Bremerton.
My first concept of a two piece set of baby and parent bird (also a concept previously rendered in 2-D) was too ambitious for starting out, so has been deferred to acquisition of, and practice with, some power tools.
Unfortunately my hammer wrist took too much force toward the end: it is still swollen & sore :-( I could not stop chiselling for four & a half days straight. Clearly I need to work on my hammering technique in order to protect my aging body!
I started a second carving, which is more abstract, based on the concept of a rectangular block (where would that idea come from? :-)) wrapped or draped with twisty rope or cord. It may also evoke fossilized work casings in stone (limestone of course). This piece is still very much a work in progress. And you see here my fat baby bird in an earlier stage.
This selfie in plaster was so grim and ghastly that I took my carving tools to it before sharing it. It is so heavily altered about the mouth and more that is barely recognizable (a good thing!). Believe me, you will have a stressed and ugly expression making a plaster gauze face mask for the first time, even if you are not as old, wrinkled, fat & lumpy as I am! After reshaping & smoothing, I added the lines or threads: the matrix of my life :-)
When requested to come up with some visual imagery, my response today was verbal:
My Thread is a Rope
The thread I hold is a rope.
My thread is not a delicate silken floss,
Bright with color.
The thread that I hold onto is a rope:
Strong, dull, dun colored,
Dirty, encrusted with the juices of sixty-two years.
Years of living, struggling, crying
Laughing, making, and holding hands.
Tarred by many more years of history,
Family stories, memories not my own.
Some strands of this rope are loose,
Unraveled, untidy, adhering to people and things
Left along the way.
But the rope is strong: I can
Pull, and lean, and even hang limp
From this rope.
The original request came with a poem by William Stafford:
AN OPEN EXPERIMENT for anyone interested:
There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.
~ William Stafford ~”
- What color do you envision your thread?
- What does the matrix to which it is attached look like? How big? What is inside of it? Does it have color?
- Can you draw what you see in your mind’s eye of this matrix?
- How is the thread connected to you…… in your hand? or imbued thoroughly in your whole body and spirit. What color is the you holding the thread?
- Would you mind doing some drawings of these images and bringing them next Wednesday? I am going to try it myself and ask others to try embodying in art form these images, too.
This is the result of yet another procrastination prior to tackling my studio cleanup (see the previous few posts). I added some ink to bring out the contrast and detail on this older print, and then started foiling the digital scan:
And these are foils of two prints from a foil covered collograph plate :-):
The computer corner looks pretty good, due to the need to install a new larger sturdy standup desk with my larger tablet. And even my lounging corner is tidy now.
The sewing table is not clear, but it is presentable.
There is still a ghastly but small pile of “stuff” on the floor, with several items that need to be returned to the loft, the RV, or Goodwill.
There are only two unwieldy & problematic piles of papers, art, etc. that I have not sorted through, and they are smaller than they were! This is fairly amazing progress!
Cleaning up / organizing the studio is always difficult, and particularly so in summer sunshine. Usually June in the PNW is a fine time for indoor cleaning (i.e. cool and gray outside), but not this year. And making things for various family & friend events has contributed extra projects this year: from sewing to printing photos, and more… so for whatever reason, the stuff in my studio has become a foot deep on every surface, and is piling up on the floor! Unacceptable!
I finally have time to myself, and I have managed to catch up in the yard and in the house, but I found myself still postponing the studio cleanup! So I manufactured an art project crisis: I needed a particular tool (the need was not manufactured) to scrape and clean an uncured plaster cast just out of the mold. And I could not find it!
It is a recently acquired tool, for which I have not settled on a permanent storage spot: does it go in the general shallow tool drawer? in the small drawer of specialized carving knives and rotarty cutter and ___? Or does go in a cup with a pair of scissors, along with a few sharpies & pencils? Or does it go on a carry case for art class and art while traveling?
So many places to look for this, and it was not in the first several locations. So I thought chances are it lying on one of three work surfaces, just buried under the piles of “stuff”! Or even on the floor behind one work area, where all kinds of paper, foil, cloth etc. gets pushed aside, then off the table!
Now the studio is much cleaner! I can see the work surface between the remaining items on my tables, and even the floor is looking a bit clearer.
And I did find the tool. Not hidden under all that stuff I put away or through out, but safely tucked into that art travel box that I take with me each week to Wednesday evening Art! I postponed looking there until I managed to put in almost two hours clearing away that “stuff”. My studio is still a mess, but it is much much better now!
Here is the fruit of my most recent procrastination, which is also the project that initiated the cleanup (when I really needed that small Blick snap-off knife). This is a clay sculpture created by Michael, and cast & reproduced by me.
My current avoidance: my studio is a mess and I really need to clear space on my work surfaces. It may even be time to get rid of some of the wonderful “stuff” that never quite seems to work out in my art projects. Not to mention that fimo clay and pasta maker that I really do not plan to ever use again!
But … when I start to tidy/organize/clean my studio, I quickly run across such tempting incomplete projects that call for my immediate attention!
Here I added a delicate touch of color to a three plate black ink print “Three Flowers” that is from 2015.
Another distraction yesterday & today was to make molds and cast a clay “doodle” made by my partner, Michael.
I like this small sculptural doodle very much, and a friend who visited admired it also. It is a fairly simple shape to mold & cast (vs. the complex and so far intractable problem of casting my oil based clay baby). No idea yet how I will manage that! So for practice and to get quick satisfaction (I hope), I made a construction silicone inner mold with a 2-part plaster mother mold, sealed it with shellac, and just poured lightly tinted plaster just now. Call it casual casting :-)
This was much more fun than clearing the studio, and it will be even more fun to open up the mold tomorrow morning, if I can wait that long…
And now it is 6pm on Friday: half past a beer, and I think we have chips & dip handy, so … that will certainly take care of cleaning for today!