Tuesday 31 May 2016

Have I been...

...in a black hole for the last couple of weeks?  Perhaps, if you consider a black gesso frenzy in two studios a hole.  I've been working on a clock, if you can imagine.

The Impossible Clock, °Bart Bjorkman & Win Dinn
Repurposed table, clock workings, chalk paint, gears
47" diameter

This piece, in collaboration with Bart Bjorkman of Puffin Design, has occupied my mind, hours and dreams for the past while, and has been a long time in the works.

Bart found the table (imagine this photo without the clock hands, and some 47" inches in diameter if you can), and knew he had to turn it into a clock.

Well before Christmas, Bart did a lovely cream edging with chalk paint and left the distressed wood showing for the four sets of Roman numerals.  Adding the clock mechanism, he foolishly turned it over to me.  That's when things really started to bog down.

We mulled over a French concept, but I was unmotivated.  I spent hours working on a design concept that included a floral motif, with lacklustre results.  And then the craziness hit.  Why not do a steampunk theme?

I searched the net for clockwork gears, hoping that I could find some larger ones.  No luck.  I found a wide range of gears in sizes of 1.5 inches and under, and ordered what I loved in those.  The larger ones had to be hand-created, though.  Watch out - here comes the fun foam brainwave.

Cutting gears from fun foam is no easy task, and incising them with a ball nib ever more entertaining.

Each gear (hand-crafted and commercial) then needed to be coated with black gesso, front and back, in order to give the medium (glue) something to adhere to.  They were then painstakingly gilded with four different shades of Inka Gold to give that metallic/rusted appearance.

Ranging in size from 2" up to 8" or so, each gear took about 2 hours to complete.  In order to ensure there were enough for the design, I did sixteen of them.  I'm grateful that my artist brain precludes me from doing the math or I'd be really worried about my sanity.

Distressing the cream edge, adding some real metal nuts and bolts and other oddments from my stash, and some layering really finished it off nicely.  I'm loving the results, and can't get enough of the look; I'll be sad to see this particular piece go out the gallery door! Detail photos follow:

I've been calling this the Impossible Clock for weeks (months?) now, and the name is definitely going to stick, in my mind anyway.  It's been a huge adventure, and I'm delighted that Bart was patient enough to wait for it to come together.  Thanks, Bart, for all the fun!

Thursday 12 May 2016

Studio mayhem...

...has struck again, with a host of projects on the go.

I'm in steampunk mode, making gears from fun foam (and yes, I did fussy cut these).

I gave them a heavy coat of black gesso, and then tore into them with three or four colours of  Inka Gold.  I think they're starting to get that steampunky look, don't you?  The largest is about 8" in diameter and I will not tell you how long it took to cut them.

I've got a lot more to cut, gesso and gild before there's enough for a 47" diameter clock created by Bart Bjorkman of Puffin Design.  The clock itself he's repurposed from an old table top:

I think the combination will be a knock-out, if I can just get the scissors and time to cooperate; I've been calling this 'The Impossible Clock' for so long I'm afraid the moniker will stick.

I'm also working on a couple of large floral paintings/collages for an upcoming show in Kimberley. The flowers, leaves and stems are all Gelli prints.  In this photo, I'm working on placement of flowers and flies on the background...somewhere in my studio chaos are some stems and leaves to add to the mix.

The second large floral has an entirely different colour scheme as you can see in this sneak peak...it's more my usual subtle colour style don't you think? 

I also finished a felted piece, my first ever, last night at Carmen's workshop.  What an amazing experience that was.  I somehow managed to forget my camera, although with water dripping from every part of my body throughout the night, it certainly wouldn't have accomplished much anyway. Suffice it to say that wet felting is just as colouricious as any other visual art form (although very much wetter, I must say).

All in all I feel progress is being made and I fully expect you will see some completed pieces here in the next while.  I hope your creative life is going gangbusters too.

Friday 6 May 2016

It's just juicy....

being at any opening,and last night's was even beyond that.  Puffin Design played host last night to Carmen Ditzler's incredible new body of felt work titled 'Nature in Felt', and it is stupendous.

I was particularly taken by the two very large shrouds and the ecological concept behind them.  This piece, about eight foot in height by five foot in width, is just stunning.   Carmen feels strongly that we need to do away with the lead-lined coffins and the crematoriums so prevalent in this country, purely for the damage they are doing to the environment.  Utilizing a cotton winding sheet and a shroud would ensure that our bodies are integrated back into the earth.

Another shroud resembled a fallen log from the forest, texturally inviting, and rich with lichen and pods.  It was next to impossible to keep from running my hands over the soft felted 'log'.

There were small items too - felt-covered books, purses, table runners, and more.

Another beautifully rendered series are the rain flags.  Inspired by Tibetan prayer flags, this series was started last summer while we were experiencing drought and under weeks of wildfire threat. While we were all praying for rain, Carmen was felting rain flags and rain drops, and they're beautifully rich.

If you're in the area tomorrow, do stop in at Puffin to see Carmen demonstrate between 11 am and 3 pm.  And take in a fabulous show while you're there!

I'm excited to be attending Carmen's workshop this coming Wednesday evening where it will be all hands on deck for playtime.  If you'd like to join us, please do so.  You can register at Puffin Design while you're checking out the show and demo tomorrow!

Carmen's a fabulous instructor, and we're going to have a blast!

Hope to see you there.

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