Archive for the ‘Materials’ Category

Sticks and Stones Finally Done

Monday, August 10th, 2015

I spent several months deciding how to complete this piece. Attempted several borders, finally decided to make a coco fiber border. Coco fiber is pretty, but it is sharp and prickly.

Text

The piece has bundles of bound twigs used in place of Morse Code. The dots are bound to the hardware cloth vertically, and the dashes are bound horizontally. Each 4×4 square block represents one letter. And each block has a stone.

The message in the piece is: Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me?

Yep, it does have a question mark in the code.

Sketch

The piece has two layers of hardware cloth and a layer of coco fiber between.

I have included an image of the back of the piece. Even though the back can’t be seen, it still exists. Also the back piece of hardware cloth has ready made hangers.

Text

Detail of sketch showing the code and a detail of the front of the piece.

Sketch Detail

Front Detail

The finished piece is 32.5″ x 16.75″ x 2″.
Materials List: hardware cloth, stones, coco fiber, cotton fabric, wool, hemp, stones, and starch.

I am seriously considering including the materials and code layout in a small cotton pouch attached to the back for easy access.

As for signing the piece, I will use some type of stitch work. Here are some examples of previous signatures.

Signature

I have also used stitched perforated discs. The code starts from the left and spirals in. The code is in brown and tan. The rest is spacers and fillers.

Signature

They are rather nice because they are about the size of a quarter. There are a few patterns that can be used. This attempt was to be a bit willy nilly.

Back to Sticks and Stones–I need to sign it and hang it.

Miscellaneous information–the twigs are from a birch tree. Some believe that birch represents health, wisdom, and safety.

I select materials for what they bring to the work visually, but also culturally. Sometimes a material is selected because it has a connection to my personal history.

Does anyone need to know that when viewing the work? Probably not. Will knowing all of my reasons for making a work and selecting materials change how a work is viewed? Maybe…


Wool Bowl–Update on Rust Promoter Test

Monday, July 27th, 2015

The test piece is still a bit damp and continues to change.

This is how the test appeared yesterday–

Test 1

This is an image of how the test looks today. The piece next to it shows the original color of the cream wool yarn and the safety pins.

Test 1 Day 3


Don’t Piece in Progress

Sunday, July 26th, 2015

I started the Don’t piece after watching Blink one of my favorite episodes of Doctor Who. The episode introduces the Weeping Angels, sculpture that isn’t really sculpture. When you blink or look away the Weeping Angels move. When they move they are dangerous.

In the episode Weeping Angels also known as the Lonely Assasins are explained:

“You die in the past, and in the present, they consume the energy of all of the days you might have had-and your stolen moments. They live off potential energy.”

What if you approached viewing art in the same way? Well, not with the fear that you might be sent back in time to die, but to really look. To see what is there, you must look. Not give the art work a passing glance, but really look at it. What about being a version of the Weeping Angels by snagging some of the energy put into the work by the artist…

I started a piece that has coded into it, “Don’t turn your back, Don’t look away, Don’t blink” some of the warnings in the episode.

Dont

I used color for the dots and dashes of Morse Code–rust yarn for dots, gray for dashes, and cream for spacers.

I cut the squares of mirror in half because after wrapping the hardware cloth with cream wool they were too large. And I like the idea of sharp edges.

Dont Code Detail

The frame will be bound to the coded piece. Actually the frame has code as well. The frame has the repeated word, see.

Dont Frame

The plan is to age and wax the coded piece and the frame. Then bind the two pieces together and the binding.

Dont With Frame


Wool and Safety Pins

Sunday, July 26th, 2015

What happens when you find a stash of safety pins? What do you do with them?

Safety Pins

Had just make a rope and wool yarn bowl for a birthday present.

Birthday Bowl

I enjoyed making the bowl. A nice break from making wall pieces. I wrapped rope with cream wool yarn so the cotton rope would not peek through.

Formed the bowl by binding it with cream wool. Added additional binding in cream, gray, and brown. It is code for the person’s name and their date of birth.

Back to the safety pins–I decided to make I-cords, full them, and then pin them together to make a bowl. I pinned the cream wool I-cord together and took it apart 3 times. Just couldn’t get it quite right.

Cream Bowl

While I was working on putting the cream bowl together and taking it apart, I made two smaller pieces.

The I-cord is made of gray and cream wool yarn.

Gray Bowl

The exterior of the bowl.

Gray Bowl

Then I flipped it inside out.

Gray Bowl

I tried the same process using two kinds of brown wool yarn.

Brown Bowl

Exterior of the bowl.

Brown Bowl

Flipped inside out.

Brown Bowl

Flipping the bowl inside out was the solution. After finishing the pinning of the cream bowl, I flipped it inside out.

Cream Bowl

Once the bowl is aged and then stiffened I think it will be done.


How to age the bowls?

Test 1 Rust Promoter
4.0 parts white vinegar
1.0 part peroxide
.5 part salt

Test 1

Test 2
1 Tablespoon epsom salt in boiling water. Submerged the piece. Then added another tablespoon of epsom salt.

Test 2

This really did not work. It seems to have cleaned the oxidation off of the safety pins. The result brought to mind the ugly surface of silicon bronze when it is sandblasted.

Test 2

Rust and bleeding onto the wool is definitely necessary.

When I finish adding some age to the bowls, I will most likely add an application of faux beeswax. Adding an all over application tends to help integrate the materials.

After the wax is applied a heat gun can be used. With some wax a hair dryer can be hot enough. It takes longer but, it is worth it to keep the integrity of the wool. I have found that microcrystalline wax requires a higher temperature and the wool can appear plastic.

I have attempted making cold wax, but still need to heat the piece to smooth out thick areas.


Rust Promoter Formula

It occurred to me that I did not give credit to the person who posted the rust promoter formula. I found the formula several years ago. I looked through my notes and sketchbooks, but I could not find reference to the formula or the fellow’s name. He made beautiful bells and used the rust promoter to give the appearance of age.

While writing this post, I googled bells and rust promoter, but did not find his site. When I find it, I will post a link.


Palm Nuts Work In Progress

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

I have a great stash of palm nuts. Different sizes and colors. I was wondering what to do with them. Kept looking at them. Touching them. They are such beautiful little bits of nature.

Containers of Palm Nuts

Sunday I drilled holes vertically through the nuts, inserted wire. I bound four together to make a frame.

Palm Nuts Frame

Even if I used patina on the brass wire, I still don’t think I will like wire with the palm nuts.

I stitched a 9×9 using brown Egyptian cotton. The thread is barely noticeable, but when it is, looks natural.

Palm Nuts 9 x 9 Mat

Last night I drilled holes in 240 nuts. I need 218, but always make extra just in case. Tonight I will begin stitching them together with the Egyptian cotton.

Palm Nuts and Egyptian Cotton

There will be 99 connected little frames with a mirror in the center of each frame. Yep, I am making a grid using palm nuts.

I am not sure if the cotton thread will be strong enough to support the weight of 218 palm nuts and 99 pieces of mirror. I will address that problem if it becomes an issue.

Of course there will be a coded message. This time the message will be: another mirror held up to me.


First Harvested Palm Nuts

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

On January 25 I was given some palm cuttings. This is one of the small cuttings.

Palm Cuttings

Over the weekend I harvested the first of the palm nuts.

Palm Nuts Detail

Palm Nuts

So many possibilities. I could use them for coding. I could stitch them together. Have want to try using a water soluble stabilizer to hold bits together for stitching. Or I could use straight pins to attach them to a surface to make fabric.


Work In Progress–One and a Half Years

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

I was diagnosed with Pernicious Anemia several years back. Each month I receive an injection of B12. I have been saving my B12 vials and syringes thinking that they might become art materials. Now, maybe some of the vials have found a place.

I was working on a design for a woven piece to cover a bathroom window. I looked at several materials that would be the least likely to mold. While looking through my materials I ran across the B12 vials. Unfortunately, I did not have enough for the window design. Got to thinking about the importance of those little vials, each vial represented a month in my life.

For whatever reason I tend to use certain numbers: 3, 5, 9, 11, 18, any grouping of 3 or 9. When I looked at coding the word life, I could use 18 vials. Each vial would be bound in a square that 9 spaces by 9 spaces.

One and a Half Years Layout

Recently ran across the Medieval Mosaic embroidery stitch and liked it quite a lot, but it is four long, 4 short. Not one of my numbers. I added an additional to each.

Slightly Altered Medieval Mosaic Stitch

The stitch would cover nicely if I had not planned to use waxed linen. This is a work in progress using waxed linen.

Waxed Linen Stitches

Waxed linen didn’t feel right with the vials. so, got out a skein of cream wool. I laid in a background of a zig zag stitch, then added the Medieval Mosaic stitch over it. This is the result–

One And A Half Years In Progress

And a detail–

One And A Half Years Detail

There needs to be more of a difference between the yarn color used for the dots and dashes. I have some lovely bamboo yarn that might work better.

I suspect that when the border code is completed the current yarn binding the vials will be more apparent. The border code will be: One and a Half Years. The code will start at space 17 on the top, and procede clockwise each space a dot, dash, or spacer. The rest of the border will be stitched in cream wool. There is also a 3/4″ border that will either be bent and stitched to become a frame or bent the opposite direction to elevate the piece from the wall.

When the stitching is finished, it will be time to age the piece.


Some information on pernicious anemia:

Johns Hopkins Medicine

National Institutes of Health–National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute


New Potentail Art Materials

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

My neighbor trimmed his palms. The cuttings were on the way to the dump. Instead, some will become art material.

Large palm nuts:

Large palm nuts

Stored in my greenhouse:

Large palm nuts bunches in greenhouse

Small palm nuts:

Small palm nuts

The palm nuts will be a great new material that I can use for coding.


Lichens found on an olive branch:

Lichens on Olive


Interesting information found here:

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Corporate Document Repository: Date Palm Products


2015 January 1

Thursday, January 1st, 2015

One of my few traditions is to visit the beach on the first day of the year. Today was a great day–sunny, warm, and no snow to be seen.

Looking for holey rocks–

New Year 2015

Holey Rock

It was low tide so critters could be seen–

Critter 1

Critter 2

The sea grass would make a great art material–
Grass


Fire Starters Then and Now

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

Two years ago I made fire starters for folks who have woodburning fireplaces. I used pinecones from my garden, cedar shavings (result of running cedar planks through a planer), wax, twine, and cinnamon sticks.

Firestarters 2012

This year I thought I would try something a bit different. I have boxes of dried plant materials from my garden. I collected and dried them to use in my work. I haven’t found a need for them. I had thought about tossing them in the recycle bin, but decided to use them for fire starters.

Firestarters In Progress

I lined some old muffin tins with cupcake papers and filled them with dried materials and cedar shavings. Then used cotton twine for wicks. The wicks are bound around cypress pods. Then the lot was topped with paraffin.

Firestarters Detail

I also made a few pinecone fire starters.

Firestarters In Basket

Placed the fire starters in baskets lined with tissue and filled with cedar shavings. Everything can be used for starting fires, including the baskets.


I was curious how the fire starters would work, so, I set some alight.

First a cupcake fire starters–

Firestarters Cupcake 1

Firestarters Cupcake 2

Then a pinecone–

Firestarters Pinecone 1

Firestarters Pinecone 2

Firestarters Pinecone 3

I had more fun watching them burn than making them!