Sunday, May 15, 2011

Fish and Power Tools

Herring sculpture for Lubec Arts Alive 2011 in the beginning stages with templates

Jean Bookman using the Jigsaw to cut fish from the large board
(photo by John McMurray)

Sheryl Denbo beginning stage 1 of the fine-tuning with a Bandsaw

Shanna Wheelock using a Scroll Saw for the precision work

Shanna cleaning up the edges of the fish with a power sander
(photo by John McMurray)

Jean Bookman drilling holes through the fish

John McMurray, Sheryl Denbo, and Jean Bookman working on placement of the "school of fish" within the larger steel structure.

John and Jean consult about whether or not to "rough-up" the steel herring frame, or polish it to a shimmer.

One of John McMurrary's many sculptures at his home in Addison.

Men have traditionally had the market on jobs with power tools. We are inundated with Home Depot and Sears commercials at Christmas-time showing the male species making their wish list for Santa: bandsaws and drills, shop vacs, routers, planers, and tool kits. Surely machinery that whirs and sputters and makes such loud noises, that is perched on grandiose pedestals of steel and sports masculine streamline designs in red, orange, and black is untouchable by the dainty hand of a lady. We revere the carpenter "knight-in-shining-armor" who saunters into our space and with a push of a red "ON" button slices through wood like butter to create beautiful and functional cabinetry and walls.

Women just don't know what they're missing.

Yesterday I, along with two other Lubec Arts Alive committee members, traveled down the coast to Addison, Maine where we worked alongside sculptor John McMurray to prep for this summers Lubec Arts Alive event.

John graciously welcomed us into his studio where he taught us how to properly use the power tools to cut and refine the smaller components of a large kinetic sculpture. Brave man!

The project, a 10' wide steel herring with an interior kinetic school of fish, was designed on paper by Jean Bookman for this year's Lubec Arts Alive event (July 5-8). The LAA committee consulted with longtime accomplished kinetic artist John McMurray who is versed in working with metals. John hails from an interesting and impressive background, having spent much of his youth in Africa then adulthood as an arts and physics instructor for a private school.

Prior to our Addisson adventure yesterday, John fabricated the steel fish frame and "attempted to neaten" his overflowing studio space in the barn for his mentoring duties. Walking into his work space is like a tour through a tornado-struck eclectic museum of tools and whirly-gigs. Around every tiny bend of the slender floor path there are delights of flying machines, antique tools, and remnants of sculptures that never made it onto the wooded art-walk. Classical music fills the space, as well as copious amounts of floating dust, walls of photos, and piles of metal and wood scraps. To an assemblage artist such as John, all junk and scrap is sacred and brimming with potential.

Jean, Sheryl, and I were a bit hesitant at first to pick up the first tool and begin the cutting. But once we got started, we were ripping through the board at a good pace and each of us found our groove shortly after lunch. No fingers were lost and the sculpture is looking incredible!

We ended our day with a walk on the grounds: a beautiful seaside outdoor gallery filled with the aesthetic delights of nature and sculpture.

If you are looking for something fun to do this summer, definitely consider visiting Lubec Maine during our bicentennial celebration. Festivities begin a few days before July 4th, and Lubec Arts Alive will occur between July 5-8. The first two days of the LAA event we invite all to join us in painting the small fish that will reside inside the large steel herring sculpture. The fish will be mounted inside the steel frame and will twirl and flutter in the wind. The sculpture will be permanently housed downtown, outdoors at Lubec landmarks near the skinning shed museum.

I'll be updating the Lubec Arts Alive website soon - so be sure to check back there for event info.

And other info if visiting Lubec this summer...

The pottery cave is heating up as I type. My Cobscook Pottery shop will open for the season on memorial weekend - and there is lots to be done! I haven't thrown in months and am looking forward to my time at the wheel.

In the meantime, I have left a tool catalog for Santa. I know it is a bit premature, but you know, the holidays do sneak upon us. That scroll saw and band saw sure would look mighty nice in my studio!

THANK YOU to this year's main sponsors of Lubec Arts Alive: Bar Harbor Bank and Trust and the Regional Medical Center at Lubec. We are fortunate, also, to have on board photographers Judith Goodman and Frank van Riper, who will photograph the event as they have so beautifully done each year past. Without community support, these projects would not be possible! Our sponsorship campaign just kicked-off. Thank you in advance to all the wonderful financial donors and volunteers! We couldn't do it without you!

To donate, send checks made out to Lubec Arts Alive at:
Lubec Arts Alive
c/o Jean Bookman
473 South Lubec Rd.
Lubec, ME 04652


Dorian Faye said...

The herring sculpture is brilliant! Congrats on concept and execution; looking forward to bicentennial activites and fish painting and, this year, the whole summer in beautiful Lubec :-D


Hi Dorian! Look forward to seeing you this summer and your fine artwork skills gracing a herring for the LAA sculpture!

Owl Who Laughs said...

I love how this blog entry is written and even more importantly the energy of your soul. What an empowering, exuberant and aesthetic post. You show us how art can combine with passion and meaning to create a positive momentum, one that enlivens Lubec and sends a greater message anywhere in the world through the magic of the Internet.

You're tirelessly cool!

That Owl guy ...