Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Funny How Connections Happen

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018

When I visited my family in SC, I spent time wandering around and taking photos of plants, interesting textures, possible art making materials and processes, and things that struck me as odd.

Moss

As soon as I saw the moss growing on the grate inside a free standing wood burning fireplace, Don McLean’s American Pie started looping through my mind. Especially the line: moss growing fat on a rolling stone.

And while writing this post, again the song is swirling though my mind.

Not being a sit around a fire person, I had to google the proper term for the fireplace. It is a chimenea. According to Wikipedia this is the definition for chimenea.

A chimenea /tʃɪmɪˈneɪ.ə/, also spelled chiminea (from Spanish: chimenea means chimney), is a freestanding front-loading fireplace or oven with a bulbous body and usually a vertical smoke vent or chimney.

So, a wood burning chimney. Odd that moss found its way to growing inside the chimenea. It is sitting on a concrete patio in daily full sun. The chimenea must offer enough shade and protection to prevent the death of the moss.

Moss

Sad that the moss will be destroyed the next time the chimenea is lit.

Don McLean’s American Pie was popular when I was in high school. So much so, my high school English teacher thought it would be cool to decipher its lyrics. The result, even today I remember the bulk of the lyrics for the 8 minute 36 second song.

More connections–I remember my best friend from high school who died suddenly five years ago. Not in a plane crash, but he was the director of my hometown airport. Connections of all sorts can be found when you least expect it. Certainly wasn’t thinking about him when I started this post, but it would have been something I would have shared with him. He would have understood my moss/song connection. We would have talked about the song. When we first heard it. And other reminiscing.

Thinking about my friend, reminded me of a Henning Mankell quote from one of his Kurt Wallander books, Firewall.

Who was left who connected him to his earlier life?

Washington Post article about American Pie written by Justin Wm. Moyer.


Spring Planting and Folded Paper Pots for Seed Starting

Monday, March 19th, 2018

I recently read through all of the seed planting recommendations for plants that I plan to add to my gardens.

Most of the seed will be planted in Plantel Plant Trays from Peaceful Valley Farm Supply.

Plantel Plant Trays

It is recommended that some of the seed be planted in biodegradable pots, to prevent disturbing the roots of the seedlings.

Rather than purchasing peat or coconut fiber pots, I decided to use the Yellow Pages that have been piling up in my studio. Does anyone actually use printed paper phone books?

I viewed several, how to fold paper pot tutorials. DIY: Newspaper Pots for Seed Starting/Cuttings on Youtube is the best tutorial I found. The instructions are clear and easy peasy. Before beginning to fold a sheet from the Yellow Pages, I removed a strip from the side to alter the proportions.

Tadpole

The pages were torn to 4.25″ x 8.5″

The strips will saved for use when working in clay.

Folded Paper Pot

The finished folded pot is 1″x1″x1″.

Whenever I learn a new skill or technique, I always think about how it can be used in the studio.

I have made loads of boxes in the past, but rarely a square. This is a square box, roughly 3.5″, that I never quite completed. It is tree wrap with some dried plant bits and twine.

Not Quite Completed

Paper Pots

49 Paper Pots Ready to Use


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


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.


Again With the Casemaking Moths and Possible Easy Solution

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

I am in the process of cleaning and clearing my studio in order to have enough space to begin a new project.

While cleaning my work bench I found casemaking moths.

Casemaking Moths

Casemaking moth in a small bowl of cold wax test pieces.
The casemaking moth is in the center on the penny bound with wool.

Finding the casemaking moths brought to mind a recent conversation I had with an entomologist. I specifically asked him how to address the casemaking moth problem.

He said that an easy solution was to put my work in the my car. What would that accomplish? One of the ways to kill casemaking moths is to use heat. He also recommended tossing the stuff in a plastic bin with a few moth balls. I don’t recall which moth balls he recommended, naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene. I would prefer not using chemicals.

But, it never occurred to me to use the heat in the car. That would be an easy fix, especially since most of my work will not fit in the freezer.

He mentioned that his wife had success killing an insect infestation in the wood horn of a recently purchased used saddle.

Previous Posts

It is Not a Pod…

What Happened?

Casemaking Moth Damage

Casemaking Moth Damage–Alpaca yarn embroidered on harware cloth.

Tinea pellionella

A Perfect Environment for Moths


Would the interior temperature in a car kill moths?

American Veterinary Medical Association

AVMA Temp Chart

The AVMA credits–Jan Null, CCM; Department of Geosciences, San Francisco State University,
for creating the estimated vehicle interior temperature chart.

Alternatives, A Washington Toxics Coalition Fact Sheet, Clothing Moths-Prevention and Control by Jennie Goldberg states–“High heat (in excess of 99”F for one week) will destroy all life stages of the moth.”

It appears that the interior temperature of a car will kill moths.
Need to perform some tests to find out for sure.


It is Not a Pod…

Sunday, March 19th, 2017

I am currently staying with my sister’s family in an old farm house in Maryland. When I took my morning walk, I noticed something odd. The fir trees at the edge of the property had what appeared on first glance, some type of pods.

Fir Trees

When I took a closer look it became clear that the “pods” were made by insects.

Bagworm Pods

Bagworm Pods

Bagworm Pods

So, who made them?

According to the Penn State Dept of Entomology it is the work of the bagworm moth,Thyridopteryx ephemeraeformis (Haworth).

“This insect is most easily recognized by the case or bag that the caterpillar forms and suspends from ornamental plants on which it feeds. The bag is made of silk and bits of host foliage. These materials are interwoven to disguise and add strength to the case.”


It is unfortunate that the bagworm is destructive. The structures that they build are so beautiful. Apparently, it would be a good idea to remove them from the trees to prevent an infestation.

The description of the bag incorporating the surrounding material brings to mind Tinea pellionella, commonly known as casemaking moths.

Casemaking moths are very small. If you are not looking for them or not aware that they even exist. They can be mistaken for a bit of lint.

They are definitely not something I want in my home and studio since I am using natural fiber in my work.

Casemaking Moth Damage

Casemaking moths ate a large portion of the fiber stitchwork of a work in progress.

Casemaking Moth

The photo was taken with my iPad. It is difficult to capture something that is so small,
but it is an example of a red case.

Casemaking Moth

Casemaking moth that was found inside one of my garden clogs.


Living With Bunnies and Birds

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

When you share a home with bunnies and birds, you must make loads of compromises. Bunny proofing means protecting or removing anything that can be chewed that is up to approximately 3 feet high, unless the bunny likes to climb on furniture. One of our bunnies runs laps on the back of the sofa.

It is incredibly difficult to bird proof a room. Removal of plants and anything that they might want to tear and shred is a given. But don’t forget about the thin iPad/iPhone power cables. They love to chew them.

One of my See a Penny pieces has been hanging on the dining room wall since I completed it in March of 2013.

See A Penny

Completed See a Penny piece prior to hanging in dining room.

Today I found one of the pieces of mirror on the floor. When I replaced the mirror, I noticed damage–

See A Penny Damage

and certain the culprit is either The Bird or Bob.

The Bird

The Bird

Bob

Bob

They both love landing and perching on the piece, but I didn’t realize chewing was involved.

I could attempt giving the birds a misting with water as a deterrent. Probably would not be a deterrent for Bob because he frequently takes a bath in Big Baby’s water dish.

Big Baby

Big Baby

Haven’t decided if I will be moving the wallpiece to a different location. Repair will be time consuming, but doable. The squares are constructed of roofing felt, tree wrap, mirror, hardware cloth, and cotton twine.

See A Penny

See a Penny, Squares Used for Code–Spacer, Dot, Dash

Slipping in a new square of tree wrap won’t work. They squares were perforated for ease of binding with the cotton twine.

So, what is the solution to prevent Elliot from chewing my shoe laces while I am wearing the shoes?

Laces

Repaired laces with embroidery floss.

Elliot

Elliot in the studio.


Hawthorne Piece Progress

Sunday, January 29th, 2017

The coded Hawthorne quote used:
Words – innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.

Frame of Stitched Squares

January 11, Frame of Stitched Squares

Stitched Squares

Layout of Stitched Squares

Stitched Squares

January 24, In Progress–Squares in Each Row Stitched Together

Stitched Squares

January 28, Rows Stitched Together


To Do List:
Bind and Stitch Cotton Rope Border
Stitch Paper Backing to Piece Without Perforating the Paper


Work in Progress: Hawthorne

Friday, January 6th, 2017

One of the reasons I write about projects is to work through details and to have a record of choices and decisions.

I have been thinking about making a piece to hang over the fireplace in the family room/office for several years. Actually it is a bit of a funny story. During our house remodel that started in January of 2002, we removed the ugly shiny black tile that surrounded the fireplace. We had been living with concrete board, until last year when we finally installed tile.

The space above the fireplace is 68” wide and 64” high. I decided to make a piece that is roughly 36” wide and 58” high. The piece will be constructed of 522 embroidered hardware cloth squares (1.75″) that will be stitched together. Yep, quilt-ish.

As always as of late, I use coded messages or quotes. This piece will be a Nathaniel Hawthorne quote, Words – innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.

The code for the Hawthorne piece contains 190 dots, 162 dashes, and 170 spacers.

Hawthorne Layout

These are some stitches that I tried. After trying all of these different stitches, backgrounds, and yarn colors…

Multiple Squares

my favorite stitch is the one in the lower right corner… I selected three stitches to use and spent several hours stitching these for the dashes…

Stitched Squares

Decided I would soon regret my choice and not enjoy working on the piece. I will save them for a future project.

Had the idea, rather than perforating the background material (roofing felt and tree wrap), which can tear and sometimes the holes could be seen, I decided to use stitches that would wrap around the background material.

Pretty sure I will be using these unless I decide to switch the dot and dash background and yarn. Have time to think about it while I am making the spacer pieces.

Three Squares

Spacer (roofing felt and cream wool)
Dot (veneer with brown and cream wool)
Dash (tree wrap with brown yarn)

Also an interesting thing happened. I had planned to use the same background material for the dots and dashes. While I was looking for safety pins in my studio I ran across the veneer business cards that I purchased from Lee Valley. Thought they were cool and maybe they would come in handy in the future. Today apparently is that future day. The veneer can be cut with scissors, but a blade would be better to prevent splitting. I can cut two pieces from each card, definitely plenty for the project.

I like the idea of three different backgrounds to make the code a bit clearer. Currently planning to stitch the squares together with three strands of yarn, one of each being used.