Monday, May 21, 2012

Shingles are Stained and Ready to be Assembled!

 This is what 330+ bisque-fired clay shingles look like.

 Thank the fates that Lisa Tyson Ennis (photographer extraordinaire!) could be wrangled into a bit of assembly line work for a few hours on this sunny spring day.  She applied a coat of iron oxide to each of the clay shingles while I worked at a nearby table to rinse them.

The finished shingles: a coastal/weathered appearance.

 Kiln loaded with glazed ware and fired today. 
I can't wait to see the results tomorrow afternoon! 
The shingle-textured columns are some of my fave pieces in a long time - and if all goes well with the firing, they will be in the exhibit at Lubec Landmarks/Mulholland Gallery.

The herring-themed sake sets are fired and will be in the show at Landmarks. I've also made collectors' mugs with carved herring, as well as a larger chalice-type vessel and a rectangular jug. If work dries in time, I also made a medium size vase and a platter with carved herring as well.

I'm grabbing an hour or so before bed to do a blog entry. I missed blogging last week and this past weekend slipped away without any opportunity to write. I have been near nonstop busy with the finishing details for "Razed" and am just now feeling like it is starting to come together. 

I don't know if it is like this for other artists or not, but it often takes a long time for me to "be okay with" or to "like" an artwork that I am working on. I have moments during the process where I think things are looking good, then moments of extreme dislike or worry that all the hours are for naught. I question choices constantly and all too familiar is the "do-ever" when things don't go as planned.

These shingles have plagued me for the past five months. The original idea for the installation piece involved sardine cans, herring, and smokehouse images. It was too complex in idea and I ultimately decided to narrow down to what spoke to me. Shingles. Sounds simple. Yes, you would think. But it became anything but.

I eventually came up with a system for texturing and cutting the 330+ shingles needed for "Razed" and for many weeks I looked at a pile of drying grey-blah-looking slabs. Then they dried enough to be fired. So, then I looked at a pile of drying white-blah-looking slabs.

Today, finally, the staining began. With the help of my shingle-staining sidekick, Lisa (Thank you, Lisa!) 330+ clay slabs turned into four boxes of grey-weathered shingles. I love them! I even have favorite shingles because of a particular knot or striping.

I think that when people see the sculpture in finished form they might think that it was a relatively simple process. The truth is, however, that to get to this finished "simple" look, there were a lot of steps and a lot of problem solving was needed. Sizing, for example, is not a simple task when shrinkage has to be taken into consideration. Choices like nails versus screws versus glue to install took some consideration as well. Then, figuring out what would work within the space I would be showing then how to store the sculpture after the exhibit affected some of the decisions on final design.

So, today, I am LOVING the results and am eager to begin the assemblage. The show opens on June 1st and the opening reception is on June 2nd. Over Memorial Weekend I will begin the installation then hang the rest of the show a few days later. 330+ shingles (x) one to two screws the math. That's a whole heck of a lot of screwing to be done. (um, did I just say that?) Thankfully I have another artist friend who has offered to help!!!!!

Aside from the installation sculpture, I still have other work to finish for the exhibit. It seems that I'll be burning the midnight oil for another two weeks.

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