Tuesday, July 5, 2016

details, process, failures

Most of the time I do not take pictures showing the step by step process.  I am so involved with the work that the thought of interrupting to take pictures does not occur to me. Often, there are many steps to get to the finished project.  In the wall pieces below I have incorporated some aged wood and other found objects with the ceramic tiles.  These may be part of the "Elements" exhibit at Riverside Artists Gallery along with works by visiting artists, Shila Wilson and Steve Combs.  We are setting up today and will have to see how it all fits together.  The pieces shown here are also part of the show.
 I may be adding one more found object to this piece.  Have to decide when enough is enough.
 The bead board was helped along with the aging process. This piece was left over from a house project, so not so old as it now looks.  To age it I first painted the raw wood with some strong tea.  Then I soaked some steel wool in white vinegar for a few hours, or until the steel wool started to break down a little.  After the tea was dry, I painted some of the vinegar mixture over it.  During the next few hours the wood starts to turn a dark gray color.  Instant age.  I'm sure you can guess the rest- I had some house paint, painted a thin coat of light blue (darker color may have been better), let dry, scraped and sanded here and there down to the gray wood, then a thin coat of white paint, let dry, more scraping. 
 I used a jigsaw and utility knife to cut out the center.  And a file.  Lot's of filing because I was afraid of making the cuts too big. This was plan B.  I found I was completely inept at chiseling a recessed area in wood to receive a tile (that was plan A), but I can use a jigsaw. I did not think ahead, that when I cut the wood, the new exposed edges would not have the aged appearance so I had to do the tea/vinegar solution thing again.  This ended up being a plus because it helped the aging of the painted surface by making it look yellowed.

"Aerial of River" 
Melted bottle glass in the tile represents a river.  Wood piece is driftwood found along the Ohio River near Marietta.
 Picture below shows the bottom of the piece with a sinker, also found near the river.

 "The Grid"
Much of the hardware you see on these pieces came with the found wood.  Some, like the screws in the vertical piece of wood, are new but have been aged to get rid of the shiny silver look by soaking a few hours to overnight in white vinegar.
Click on the pics if you want to see them bigger.
Inspired by a poem by Becca J.R. Lachman submitted to Riverside Artists Gallery's Poetry in Art exhibit in 2014.  A couple of other artists used the poem as inspiration for artwork for that show.  I loved the poem and it stuck with me.  The gallery will be doing another one of these exhibits with new poems and artwork this Sept.
What you don't see-  Sometimes there are fails behind the pretty pictures.  This structure was going to be a garden piece.  The top slab was the last to be attached.  The sides and bottom had dried too much and the top slab cracked along the seam.  Usually I can avoid this by equalizing the moisture after I make attachments.  Covering with cotton cloth followed by plastic sheeting works great for that.  In my concern that the pressure of attaching that last piece could weaken the sides and bottom, apparently I allowed those parts to dry beyond the point of no return.  I really wanted this to work, and would like to try again. Being part of an exhibit seems to push me to try new things and sometimes the trial and error involved with that process gets a bit too lengthy with a deadline looming.  

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