Archive for the ‘Films’ Category

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.


Slat Book in Progress

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

I snagged some Pandorea jasminoides seed pods from a friend’s garden. They are woody and beautiful.

Pods

Open Pod

Open Pod Exposing Seeds

Pod Interior

Pod, Seeds Removed, With Interior Part


The pods have been used in my Change series.

Change Series


I kept the interior bits and seeds for possible future use.

Interior Bits

Seeds

Curious if the seeds were viable, so I planted a few–

Seedlings


I kept thinking about the interior bits. How could I use them? Recently ran across reference to slat books in one of my sketch books.

So, I selected the bits with the most interesting light lines.

Parts


The plan is to stitch a letter on each bit, then stitch them together. I had thought about using Ogham or A-tom-tom code, but for various reasons they didn’t feel right. Instead I made a stitch pattern based on Morse code. I actually made three versions. This is the phrase: Long forgotten memory.

Code for Long Forgotten Memory

For the slat book, I am deciding between the phrases, link with the past and accustomed to being invisible. Probably will use bamboo cord or Egyptian cotton thread for the stitch work.


When I quickly searched for the two types of code that I decided not use, I realized that both times I hit Omniglot, the online encyclopedia of writing systems and languages. It is a great site with loads of information.


Strip or Slat books were made of a variety of material–bamboo, bark, and palm leaves. The material was cut into slats. The slats were either bound together or holes were made and cord was threaded through binding the slats together.


Information about the history of books and slat books can be found on the
Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin website.

Slat Book


Information on Horizontal and Vertical Writing in East Asian Scripts can be found on Wikipedia.

Writing in vertical columns from right to left facilitated writing with a brush in the right hand while continually unrolling the sheet of paper or scroll with the left.


A brief description about slat books and a nice image can be found on Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord’s website makingbooks.com.

Slat Book


Information on early Chinese inscriptions can be found on Jeremy Norman’s website historyofinformation.com.



Stick Bug Came to Visit

Sunday, April 19th, 2015

A stick bug came to visit. It hung out on the screen door most of the day.

Stick Bug

I kept hoping that there would be a magical transformation like the one that occurs in Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth. But, it didn’t happen. The next morning it was gone.


Stick Bug

Sunday, May 11th, 2014

Whenever I see a stick bug, I watch and wait. Will it become something else?

Stick Bug

A Stick Bug in the Greenhouse

Nope, not unless it is in a Guillermo del Toro film.

Stick Bug

Stick Bug Moving About


Roger Ebert, You Will Be Remembered

Friday, April 5th, 2013

My nephew was born on April 11th, 1973. When he was 18 months old he was admitted to the hospital. While there he was given an injection of insulin that resulted in coma and brain damage. He died after surgery in 1990. When his birthday comes around I still celebrate his life. I have baked cakes, made sculpture, gone for hikes, whatever seemed appropriate for remembering him.

What does that have to do with Roger Ebert? On April 11th last year Roger wrote a blog post about the recent losses of family and friends.

“Memory. It makes us human. It creates our ideas of family, history, love, friendship. Within all our minds is a narrative of our own lives and all the people who were important to us. Who were eyewitnesses to the same times and events.”

My memory includes watching Roger talk about film, reading his books, and over the past year reading his blog. If I read reference to a film and wanted to know more I would read Roger’s review. He was like the professor who exuded so much passion about the course, you never wanted it to end.


See a Penny… I will finish this piece?

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

The following quote from François Truffaut’s film Day for Night comes to mind when thinking about the Penny piece.

“Making a film is like a stagecoach ride in the old west. When you start, you are hoping for a pleasant trip. By the halfway point, you just hope to survive.”

I have been living with the penny piece hanging in my studio. Before I wax the piece and construct a cedar box/frame/crate for it, I must be happy with the border.
See A Penny

It is not substantial enough so I decided to make an I-cord to bind onto the edge.

I-cord

When I finished the I-cord and placed it next to the piece it didn’t work for me. Too many different stitches and too many colors of cotton. The wax application will help integrate the materials, but the I-cord does not add what I had hoped.

I-cord with piece

Decided rather than the border as just the edge, it will include the few inches to the edge. Added jute and coconut fiber to the piece to define the “new” border and to add some color.

Jute and Coconutfiber

If you haven’t used coconut fiber, be prepared to wear safety gear—mask, goggles, and gloves. The fiber is quite sharp and dirty. Actually it is a good idea to wear a mask when working with jute and some other fiber.

This is how the I-cord looks now.
I-cord on Piece

The current plan is to insert jute rope through the I-cord and then bind the lot to the piece with a combination of cotton and jute.

Jute Rope

When I bought jute rope the blurb stated it was treated to prevent rot. I asked the representative from the company what that meant. He said the rope was treated with kerosene. I knew it was a bit dangerous using a hot wax technique and torching the lot, but the word kerosene gave me pause.

Why hadn’t I set myself on fire?

When using hot wax and a torch I always keep a fire extinguisher at the ready. I was using bamboo as part of the structure for some pieces and apparently the interior of bamboo can be in flames before the exterior. Rather exciting to see it happen.


La Nuit Américaine (Day for Night) is a film within a film, the director is the actor playing the director, and there are loads of bits about filmmaking. And day for night is a technique for shooting film during the day to give the illusion of night.

François Truffaut
Hack Writers
François Truffaut – the man who loved actors
Day for Night


The Comfort of Books

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

When I packed for my trip home to attend my Dad’s funeral I included Joe Coomer’s book, Beachcombing for a Shipwrecked God. I read the book several years back and liked it quite a lot. Coomer writes women who seem familiar, interesting, and some are even artists. It is a pleasure to read descriptions of artists whose creativity isn’t a form of mental illness.

While I was home, I helped pack up my Mom to move her to another state. Going through my parents’ things was an odd experience. I am too sentimental at times, attaching meaning to objects. This passage from Beachcombing rang true for me.

I’d walked into the hospital with dirty hands and knees, holding what I thought was a box of love and memory and hope, and walked out with the same box, a loose collection of yard-sale merchandise.

My Mom left her home of 62 years with four boxes and a few bags of clothes. I have been attempting to lessen my possession responsibility, but again being a mixed media artist it is difficult to give away potential art materials.


My favorite Joe Coomer books–

The Loop

Beachcombing for a Shipwrecked God

Pocketful of Names

One Vacant Chair

The Loop has finally become a film, A Bird of the Air. I can’t wait to see it.

An interview with Coomer can be read here.


What is it?

Sunday, July 29th, 2012
Stick Bug

Stick Bug

It is real, but the stick bug in Pan’s Labyrinth is magical.


Neil Gaiman–Make Good Art

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Today I received an email with a link to Zen Pencils. There are some illustrations based on comments made by Neil Gaiman in a commencement address given to the University of the Arts. Thank you Neil for reminding me to not forget “the journey to my destination.” Sometimes I allow life stuff to consume my studio time.

Neil stated that he learned to write by writing. That brought to mind Art & Fear, a book that I read during my first year of college teaching. There is a story about a ceramics class and their project for the term. The class was divided into two groups–the “quantity” group and the “perfection” group. The quantity group would be evaluated on the weight of their work at the end of the term and the perfection group would be evaluated on their one perfect pot.

Most folks know that the more work you make, the better work you make. Mistakes and pieces that don’t quite work can offer loads of important information, perhaps even new techniques added to your bag of tricks. I feel that making lots of work allows me to be more creative and not too fussy with a single piece.

If a piece doesn’t quite work, why? Perhaps something does–the combination of materials, a technique that I might want to develop, or maybe the work is so ugly a hammer is in order.

In undergrad there was the Ugly Wall and in grad school Bisque Ware Bowling.


“the journey to my destination”

I had the pleasure of taking a film class when I was an undergrad. Much has stuck with me. We viewed François Truffaut’s film, Day for Night, a film within a film. Truffaut is the director of the film and plays Ferrand, the director in the film. There is a quote about process that often comes to mind when I am working on a piece and something isn’t going quite right.

“Shooting a movie is like a stagecoach trip. At first you hope for a nice ride. Then you just hope to reach your destination.”

The titles of my Avian Headboxes are the result of my love of literature and film.

A few of the titles are Ferrand  from Day for Night, Adele  from The Story of Adele H., and Victor  from The Wild Child.

Adele


South Carolina Highlights–The Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden

Friday, June 1st, 2012

I recently spent three weeks in South Carolina and had the pleasure of visiting
The Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden.

Garden View 1

While there I heard Pearl speaking to a group. He is a lovely man and a great story teller.

Pearl Talking to Group

Pearl makes a wonderfully welcoming environment for all who visit his garden. He talked about the importance of encouraging students. My niece who is in third grade, went to meet Pearl as part of a presentation she is to give on a person she admires.

Garden View 2

Garden View 3

Pearl was kind and generous with his time, even giving her a packet of materials to use. The packet was put together by Pearl’s wife. When my sister called to try to set up a meeting with Pearl, she spoke with Pearl’s wife who was kind and welcoming.

Garden View 4

Garden View 6

There is a great documentary about Pearl that I rented a few years back, A Man Named Pearl. After viewing the video I added visiting Pearl’s garden to my wish list of very cool things to do.

I had an opportunity to talk with him a bit about his metal sculptures constructed from recycled materials. Very Cool.

The garden is amazing in so many ways– the scale of it, the aesthetic and organization of it, the collaboration with nature, and the enormous amount of work to develop and maintain it.

Garden View 5

A few details of some of Pearl’s work–

Topiary Detail

Cool Knobs

Sculpture Detail

If you are ever near Bishopville, SC spend a couple of hours or more taking in Pearl’s garden.