Archive for the ‘Materials’ Category

Amazingly Beautiful Naturally Occurring Bronze Patina

Monday, October 9th, 2017

Now I know how to achieve gorgeous textural surfaces on bronze. You must submerge the piece in the ocean for centuries!

Bronze Antikythera Shipwreck Arm

When I saw the images of the bronze arm found during the archaeological expedition of the Antikythera Shipwreck, it reminded me of my research to create thick textural surfaces on bronze.

Detail

Antikythera Shipwreck Expedition, Detail of the Hand

I buried my bronze pieces with sodium mixtures and chemicals. I applied chemicals to my pieces and then set them on fire. I saturated burlap with chemicals, wrapped it around my pieces, then enclosed work in a plastic container. I applied low-fire ceramic glazes to bronze pieces and then fired them. And I did a combination.

Bronze Bowl Detail

This is a detail of a little bronze bowl that was bound with wire.
I applied Egyptian paste, low-fire glazes, and the lot was fired hot enough for
paste and glaze to mature, but not hot enough for the bronze and steel wire to become molten.

Egyptian paste is a self-glazing clay body. I have used it in a variety of ways, even as a self-glazing spackle when something needs to be filled.

Egyptian Past Vessel

Hardware cloth formed into a vessel and held in place with nails. Egyptian paste was applied and the lot was fired. The pink color is the result of the addition of red iron oxide added to the paste dry batch.


Post of Eroded Contours
My series that combined ceramic and bronze processes.



Antikythera Shipwreck Excavation

It appears that the Antikythera Shipwreck excavation photos I used in my post were taken by Brett Seymour/EUA/ARGO.

Found: A Giant Bronze Arm From the Antikythera Shipwreck

Antikythera shipwreck yields statue pieces and mystery bronze disc

Greece Ministry of Culture and Sports


Not a Contemporary Tablet

Sunday, September 24th, 2017

Last night I took a look at the book, Making Books That Fly, Fold, Wrap, Hide, Pop Up, Twist, and Turn. I bought it several years back when the nieces and nephews were young.

There was a single dog-eared page with the header, A 3300-Year-Old Time Capsule. According to the text, in the 1980s George Bass and a team of archeologists excavated the site of the Uluburun ship wreck off the coast of Turkey. The 3300 time capsule was a diptych.

Curious, so I googled George Bass and Uluburun ship wreck. I found additional, more complete information on the diptych in a Johns Hopkins Magazine article from 1997.

Sifting through mud that had filled a huge storage vessel, Cemal Pulak, then one of George Bass’ grad students, found fragments of wood and pieces of ivory. He pieced them together and discovered that they formed a diptych, a sort of ancient writing tablet that consisted of two wooden leaves hinged together with ivory. The leaves would have been coated with beeswax that then could be inscribed with a stylus. No one had ever before found a diptych so old.

After reading about the diptych, I then searched online for an image. This image was found on a page associated with Dr. Deborah Carlson and Jose Luis Casaban’s Introduction to Nautical Archaeology at Texas A & M University.

Uluburun diptych

Not keen of the ivory bits, but liked the idea of scratching through a surface. It is a lovely piece.

I did not continue the search to find the method used to assemble the pieces, but would have been amazing to do something similar to the staples used in some restoration.

Past Imperfect

This is an image from Past Imperfect

Past Imperfect has images of beautifully repaired objects. I am particularly fond of the glass and ceramic pieces that have been creatively repaired with the addition of a metal component.

When I made this piece as part of myTools for Rent (bronze dagger) series, I wanted to use the piece of wood for the front panel, but it was cracked. I drilled holes and wired the panel together.

Tools for Rent

The majority of my work is meant to appear to be artifact, to have had a previous life. After seeing the image of the diptych it occurred to me that in the future, I just might want to “age” the objects that I make to near the point of destruction. Then reassemble them.


Cemal Pulak, Associate Professor
Frederick R. Mayer Faculty Professor of Nautical Archaeology

George F. Bass, Professor Emeritus
Texas A&M University

Nautical Archaeology Program

Gwen Diehn, author
Making Books That Fly, Fold, Wrap, Hide, Pop Up, Twist & Turn: Books for Kids to Make


Restacked Mantel Wood

Sunday, July 23rd, 2017

Our neighbor gave me a pair of columns that she had been using as part of a table. Each column is 29″ x 8.5″ x 9″ and solid concrete.

Columns

Columns on Hand Truck

Before placing them in the garden I made a couple of decisions. The first…the bottom should be the top.

Columns

Left Side Was How The Columns Had Been Used
The Right Side is the Proper Orientation

The thin section at the bottom will not be visible. So, the only thing that bothers me is the tulip-like doodad. Just too fussy.

Column Doodad

When I began converting the courtyard form exotic plants to drought tolerant plants, one of the first decisions was to remove the wallpieces and to paint the walls grey. It is difficult to tell from the photos taken in my studio, but the columns were too stark, too bright even in the shade.

Column

The Whiteness of the Columns is Emphasized When Placed Next to the Grey Wall

Originally I wanted to break off some hunks before aging them, but thought I would wait to see how they looked with a found wood mantel. I snagged some ash from a friend’s actual fireplace to use, if I decide to fix the columns up a bit more.

Column Fixed Up

For 4 days, I had 3 pieces of wood stacked on top of the columns to help me decide if three boards had enough visual weight to work with the top of the columns.

Mantel Wood

The boards are not quite as wide as the columns. And they could not sit against the wall because of the wallpiece/trellises. Each layer will have two pieces of wood to make the proper width, with a 2″ overhang in the front.

Planning to strap the wood together with metal…aluminum or copper shim. I can patina copper, but the current appearance of the materials is a bit too clean for my typical gritty surface work. The width of the metal will probably be two thirds of the section at the now top of the columns.

When I was making my morning cocoa, thought I would take one last look before cutting the wood.

This is what I found–

Mantel Wood

The wood is nicely stacked in the opposite order it had been stacked on the columns. Lucky that the stack did not break plants or the stone defining the space for the hearth.

I phoned my husband to inquire if he had moved the wood. He had not. He seems to believe that an animal could have been responsible for the restacking. His best guess–opossum. We did catch a couple opossums over the years in our humane trap when we were attempting to catch squirrels.

This was the most recent captured opossum.

Opossum in Trap

And after it was released–

Released Opossum in Trap

Opussum

Opossum After Release Stayed in the Wisteria for Several Hours

I restacked the wood on the columns and attempted to reproduce what I found this morning. Every time resulted in a messy stack.

Mantel Wood

So what did happen? Did an animal (opossum) drop down from the oak tree and cause the restacking?

Curious…

Mullein

The reddish brown stalk is from a volunteer that I think is a variety of mullein. It is nearly ready to harvest.

I have been fond of mullein since I used it in my Greta piece, part of my MFA exhibition.


An additional note…the garden was sloping when I began planning for the faux fireplace. I leveled it by adding soil that I removed from the now rock/succulent garden. I also added gravel under each of the columns. I had to build up the right side with nearly 4″ of gravel more than uncer the left column.

I leveled the garden area, each column, and the columns together. Then I placed a single piece of wood on the columns and leveled the lot. Pretty sure the faux fireplace will appear level and straight when it is completed.

Can’t wait to see it with snake plant (Sansevieria) inside for faux flames. I have wanted to use snake plant for flames ever since I viewed Blue Velvet.

Blue Velvet Snake Plants

A Quick Screenshot From the Film Blue Velvet

My plan is to plant the snake plant directly in the garden inside the faux fireplace. The weather is so mild, for the most part, on the California Central Coast. And since they will be protected, they should thrive.


More Ants on Flowers

Friday, July 14th, 2017

Tadpole

Ants on a Pandorea jasminoides Flower

Noticed a few pods, so I snagged them.

Pods

Previous posts on Pandorea jasminoides pods use as an art material–

Accustomed to Being Invisible

Invisible Stitched

Changes

Changes


Casemaking Again

Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

I am in the process of making a trellis for the courtyard wall. It will be similar to the trellis on the wall that wraps around the corner. I needed a piece of 1″ fence to use as a support for the vertical bamboo pieces.

Trellis

I found a piece of fence that was to have been used in a project with cotton twine. The cut bits are sharp unless they are ground down, so the edge was taped until a border was attached.

Taped Fence

When I flipped the piece of fence over, I noticed casemaking moths attached to the tape. For insects that are supposed to be particularly fond of animal fiber, they sure seem to show up on loads of surfaces.

Casemaking

Not sure if they are alive. Seeing them did remind me to try placing items that may have been exposed to casemaking moths in the trunk of the car. An entomologist that I met while hiking, mentioned exposing the casemaking moths to the heat in the car over a period of a couple of weeks. He seemed to think the exposure should kill all forms of the casemaking cycle.

I do not like killing anything, but the casemaking moths can’t seem to stay outside, away from my studio work and sweaters. Frustrating, but not the bane of my existence.


Fish Tank, Cassia and Tecoma stans Blooms

Sunday, June 25th, 2017

While visiting my brother-in-law and his very cool wife, I checked out their room divider fish tank.

Unfortunately, I only had my old iPod with me. So, photos are lacking. The colors are so vibrant and the movement was mesmerizing.

A bit like watching succulents in movement… Yep, I have succulents on my mind.

Tank

Tank

Tank

Tank

Tank

Tank

Plan to go back to take photos.

Noticed the Cassia tree is blooming.

Blooms

This is a photo I took of the same Cassia tree one evening in December, 2014. The tree is larger and the branches are full of buds and blooms that are nearly covering the bird of paradise.

Cassia Tree

Detail of beautiful pods from the Cassia tree I collected in 2014.

Cassia Tree Pods

Also noticed the Tecoma stans was in bloom.

Tecoma stans Flowers

Snagged another handful of seedpods.


Bound Bulb Leaves

Sunday, June 18th, 2017

The large draping leaves of a bulb that isn’t quite done yet, were shading some new additions to the garden. Since binding is a component of my art work, thought I would give it a go in the garden. Plan to move the bulb with the bound leaves to a different location.

Bound Bulb Leaves

This is the same type of bulb that was recently relocated from another garden space.

Bound Leaves

This is another type of bulb with braided and bound leaves.

Bound Leaves

I used jute cord for binding knowing that the leaves would eventually turn shades of golden brown.

I am liking the bound verticals in the garden. If several were together it would be more interesting. When I began converting the garden to larger drought tolerant plants, the bulb was blooming. It had numerous white flowers. Lovely flowers, so didn’t want to move it.


2017 Anniversary Piece

Sunday, May 28th, 2017

Each year I make a piece for our wedding anniversary. This year marks 34 years. Crazy, where does the time go???

This year I used hardware cloth and self striping sock yarn to make 35 squares, one for each year. Each square has the same background stitch of gray yarn. The dots of the code are in orange and the dashes are in yellow.

2017 Anniversary

Left side was original design.
Right side is the stitch layout used for each square.

2017 Anniversary

Detail of 2017 square and how the piece is attached.

2017 Anniversary

Square for each year of anniversary bound together.

2017 Anniversary

Completed and framed piece.
Chalkboard paint and purple chalk application for an aged appearance.

Usually I make my own frames. This year I ran out of time so I purchased a frame. The frame is too deep for the piece. Also, it was difficult painting the frame. The glass was fixed in place and could not be removed. I taped it up, but the internal frame that holds the glass in place was white and could not be painted. And it could be seen. I used a black permanent marker on the glass. Definitely not good craftsmanship.

Making a frame with the proper depth will be necessary.

Placing pieces in frames, rather than directly on the wall changes how the pieces are view. I like the idea that you can see and touch the pieces, but a bit of protection might be in order. It has been difficult keeping pieces free of dust and in some cases insects.

Framing pieces, if done properly, just might give the feel of artifact. Need to think on it and make some frames for some of my work in progress. Live with them for a time and then decide if framing is a good for the work.


Courtyard Wallpieces

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

Over the weekend I made two wallpieces for my courtyard garden. The wallpieces will break up the wall while acting as trellises for vines.

Courtyard Wallpiece

Courtyard Wallpiece

The wall has a step design that makes it difficult for spacing. I tried equal spacing between and around the wallpieces, but the edge of the right wallpiece hit a step in the wall that visually wasn’t working.

I moved the pieces to 3 feet from the corners. Still didn’t feel right.

Courtyard Wallpiece

I am leaning toward placing the wallpieces centered with the wall steps. In the center of the wall is a Cordia boissieri (Texas Wild Olive).

Cordia boissieri

It is small now, but should eventually fill the space.

Courtyard Wallpiece

The wallieces were made using simple Bargello embroidery stitches. Materials List–1 inch fence (41″ x 31″), coconut fiber rope, and sisal rope.

Courtyard Wallpiece Rope

Safety when working with fiber–wear a respirator, gloves, and a long sleeve shirt.

Coconut fiber is beautiful, but it is extremely prickly, dusty, and dirty. This is part of what I swept up.

Courtyard Wallpiece Dust


What is it?

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

Cooktop

It is not solder on metal.

Cooktop

It is burnt sugar on a glass cooktop. Burnt sugar is quite beautiful.

Cooktop

It appears that the pan had come in contact with the strawberry pie dish. Why was the bottom of the pan left unwashed???

Previous post on sugar and its possible use as an art material.

Burnt Sugar