Saturday, July 25, 2015

Installation Part 3

I knew going in that photographing this piece would be difficult.

There was no place inside that would work. Even though I have a really high ceiling in my studio, I would have had to put nails and screws into it, and I didn't want to do that.  We started looking at my outside patio, figuring out when the sun hit the area, and saw a window of opportunity from about 6 to 9 a.m.

My brother Gary and SIL Val were visiting from Portland and we joined forces to figure this out. The awning was perfect for attaching the supports, and that rod in the background would hold the photo paper.

I arranged the bags below,

and we started to take some test shots.  The photo paper is 9 feet wide and worked great for this install.

A close up, and then it became to bright, so we needed to postpone till the next day.

After some final untangling, we started shooting.

A breeze began blowing and in an attempt to calm it down, I held this wind break up.

Here's the official shot, and the piece is titled "Bundle of Sorrow".

With the side view.

I'm pretty happy with the way this turned out.  I think I have a few issues to work out, including how to ship it if it does get into an exhibition. The whole endeavor cost about $300, and it might cost that much to package it correctly.

I was worried when I started this that it would be a one hit wonder, but I don't think I'm done with this subject yet.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Installation, Part 2

Now that I had the support system I needed, I had a couple of issues to work out.  How high should I hang the support?

I didn't want it to be eye level, but I didn't really want you to crane your neck to see it.  I wanted the support to be an non entity, it's only a support.  I ended up choosing what looked pleasing to me, which was 7 1/2 feet.

How did I want the shapes to hang? Each shape is suspended by fishing line, then has another piece of thread hanging down.  I wanted the shapes to hang at various heights, and the threads hanging down to end at various distances, some touching the ground, others higher up.  I was up and down the ladder at least a hundred times trying to make this look spontaneous.  In the back of my mind I'm thinking that if this gets into an exhibit, how will I ever ship it? Should it be able to be disassembled completely?  If so, how do the exhibition helpers know how to put it back together?  I decided it need to be semi permanent, meaning the shapes stay attached to the structure, but for shipping I pile them on top of it.  (I clearly haven't figured this out completely)

The third element to this piece is some small paper bags I made using brown paper and encaustic wax. The baggage we carry.  These will be on the floor, with some of the strings hanging among them.

As this piece came together, my heart started resting. Everything I wanted to say was there in front of me.  The struggle with loss, the letting go, the hanging on, the constant connection of always remembering, but memories fading.

Next week, I'll blog about photographing an installation. that's assuming I can get it done by then.

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Installation. Part 1

I've been thinking for a couple of years now about doing a three dimensional installation. The challenges involved in this are numerous, and I have a new respect for artists to work this way on a regular basis.  I'm blogging about it as a personal reference of the stages I went through to develop the art.

This work is based on emotion, and it took me a long time to work out how to show feelings in artwork.  I have often felt emotion looking at other artist's work, but how to express that myself was a mystery.  I started by keeping a small journal, writing down words and phrases that came to me, and over time I was able to start writing down ideas to try to express those words.

It was important to me to not bash you over the head with my thoughts, but rather to have you look at the art and decide for yourself what you think it means. I will say that the art is based on loss, both physical and emotional.

Once I decided on the basic idea of how to make this work, I needed to figure out the finer points of actually making it.  I knew I wanted an overhang supporting the basic structure, but I didn't want it to be the focus of the work. I started with a plastic grid from Home Depot, thinking I could wrap cheesecloth around it and it would look all floaty, but it looked like plastic with cheesecloth wrapped around it so I gave that up.  The basic structure, by the way, is several lightweight shapes made from stiffened cheesecloth, to be dangled from the overhang.

 I ended up with a piece of metal from a fabricator, 2' x 4', that I wrapped in vinegar soaked cheesecloth to rust.

The next step was to figure out how to attach the shapes to the supporting structure. I knew I wanted to use fishing line for that, so I stitched about 2 yards of fishing line to each shape.  I had the metal fabricator drill holes in the metal every 4 inches, with the intention to threading the line though to the top of the the support.

But how would I attach it once I threaded it through?  My first idea was to glue two 1/4 inch layers of cork board together on top of the metal.  It was a good idea, because the fishing line seemed to stay in place where I pulled it through, so I could easily adjust it.

I glued it down and put a few pieces of fishing line through.

Then watched it pop up again, even after clamping it. Not a good look, so I abandoned that idea.  By this time, my husband Ted started getting sucked into this project, and he came up with the idea of using these small jewelry thing a ma bobs.  They clamp the fishing line, are adjustable, and just big enough not to fall through the holes.

This was my major struggle with this piece.  How to have it hang freely, be able to dismantle it, and use small parts.  Next week, I will talk a little more about the project as a whole.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Artist Talk

It seems like I only blog when I have an upcoming event, which is not good at all, so I'm going to try to get back into blogging once a week.  That being said, I do have an upcoming event!  I'm going to be giving an artist talk at the Monday, August 3rd at 7pm at the Monterey Peninsula Quilt Guild.  My talk is "Finding What's Meaningful Through Experimentation", which is going to focus on how I was able to figure out what I love to do.
In addition to the work I am making for A View Within, I have been working on some more personal work.  I'm trying to work in three dimension, and I'm trying to delve into loss, separation and broken connections, without hitting you over the head with emotions.  It's not easy, but it's very satisfying.

I'm going to do a series of posts about working on an installation, and all the challenges that brings.
In the meantime, here is another, two dimensional (back in my comfort zone) piece

Sunday, April 12, 2015

3° of Abstraction

Nine pieces of my work will be in this exhibit, opening at Visions Art Museum in San Diego next weekend.

The Conversation

April 18 – July 5, 2015, Four New Exhibitions
3° of Abstraction

Three artists with very different approaches to abstraction bring their unique voices to 3° of Abstraction opening with a reception on April 18 from 5-7 p.m. See the work of Shelley Brenner Baird, Pat Kroth, and Karen Rips.

Bone Dry
I will be there for the opening and hope to see you too.


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Busy, But Not With Art

I have felt like I'm in limbo land the last few weeks.  After returning from India, I had several projects to work on.

I made a busy book for my grandson Holden, who's 1 1/2.  I included zippers, buttons,

and his favorite, buckles. It's been so long since I've sewn 5/8 inch seems, I kept checking myself, sure I was doing everything wrong.

I needed to shorten the pants on a few outfits I bought for the granddaughters, Riley and Marlee

I just had to guess at the sizes, and luckily I guessed large.

I am continuing on a 3D exploration of the body, to be incorporated into A View Within

And the best thing was a trip to Phoenix to welcome our new granddaughter, Zoey Gwendolyn

and to play dress up with her big sister

I'm starting to get back into my routine now, I've been craving it for a while

Saturday, February 7, 2015

India and Sri Lanka part 2

The last of my people pictures.  Ted and I were two of only four non Indians to attend this Pongal Festival in a small village in Tamil Nadu.  Pongal is a harvest festival celebrated on January 14th each year

There is a parade led by an oxen, with lots of dancing.

Even the local police let me take their picture.

Around 200 women were lined up in two long rows on the street, boiling milk in these pots, allowing it to boil over, then adding rice, vegetables and sugar cane.

The women seemed genuinely happy to see us and encouraged us to take part, stirring pots and shaking hands.

Our guide told us Indians tend to want to look somber for photos, smiling afterward

They loved posing in family groups

The dots are placed on her face to ward off the "evil eye"

kayaking on the river in front of a houseboat. Probably going to market

washing her dishes in the river

Muslim school girls

A contrast between young and old

Muslim men.  In a few days (If I ever get over this jet lag) I'll post a few more pictures