Sunday, 24 March 2013

Almost There

This was all that was left after my show came down.  It all passed in a whirlwind: install, opening reception, artist talk and tear down.  And now I am crashing, and hard.  It has been difficult to keep the momentum going when there was so much build up for my exhibition. 

I have been through a roller coaster of emotions in the last month and for now at least it doesn't seem like that roller coaster is slowing down at all.  I am gearing up for a lot of changes, I am not entirely sure I am ready for some of them though.  When I started this semester almost three months ago, I was so ready to be finished and just go home and start fresh again back there.  While I am still more ready than ever to leave Halifax (maybe not some of my friends though), going back into the "real world" and getting back down to business seems really daunting.  I realize I have been through all of this before, and granted I am not as terrified as I was the first time around, but it still seems like there is a long road ahead of me. 

I think it's important to talk about these fears since everyone who is getting ready to graduate from school right now is having similar anxieties, and because being an artist is definitely not all sunshine and rainbows.  We have a tendency to only broadcast all the positive things and it's sometimes important to acknowledge the roadblocks because often how we handle those roadblocks helps lay out a better path that we may not have anticipated.   It is especially hard though when you are thrown for a loop and forced to do a little bit of reevaluating.  Unfortunately the only thing that will solve any of my anxieties is time and a little bit of patience.  I am hoping that by the end of the summer the wrinkles in everything will be ironed out, though it is kind of defeating to know that there is really nothing else that I can do but wait. 

While I wait though, there is lots of work to be done.  Our next big enamelling project commenced after my show was up.  Enamelling reminds me a lot of kiln casting as well as electroforming because of all the testing and the importance of a logbook.  

The starting point.  Because the project was about components and enamel for me is all about colour I started looking at quilts as my inspiration.  I took the dresden circle and abstracted it a little bit.  

how they are all magically attached:

in progress:

I still don't have an image of the piece all riveted together, this is the closest shot to it being complete.  The IT solder and I had a little bit of a disagreement with a couple of the tubes, despite being as careful as I possibly could they abandoned ship.  Despite wanting to give up completely I stuck it out and finished it the best I could.  I managed to glue it as best as I could and even sort of disguise it (you have to look pretty hard to realize which two tubes are the broken ones).  Perhaps in a few months when I have settled a bit and am no longer frustrated I will be able to revisit this, but for now it's done. 

All the while there are more samples to be done.  While not a fan of how the purple reacted with the silver (the awful yellow halos), I really like the cloisonné technique.  

Working with underglazes was really interesting as well.  They are in the form of chalk pastels and pencil crayons and they are great.  Another great discovery on this piece is my love of the titanium white enamel.  It reminds me a lot of the "enamel white" glass colour bar that I used pretty exclusively in my third year work at Sheridan. 

After a particularly tough couple of days I was encouraged to start doing some more electroforming again.  I have been thinking about how I could do a pine cone for a couple weeks now and this seemed like the best solution.  I wasn't entirely sure if there would be enough of a connection through the copper foil, the technician wasn't very confident either but.... 

...when left overnight, look at the magic that happened!  

I am slowly started to be excited by my work again.  For now I will hunker down and try and get as much work done as I can, and deal with all of the unknown later.  With 24 days left in the semester I can't afford to do otherwise. 

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Growth - Solo Exhibition

My show opened on Monday! The last two months of hard work has really paid off.  A view from the outside: 

This is the vinyl that the guy in the print shop was reluctant to print for me because it was going to be a nightmare.  Let's not tell him that it sort of was, but I am so happy I was patient with it. 

The statement in the picture reads: To me, growth has many meanings.  Firstly it is a direct reference to my subject matter.  The form and texture of various seeds and mushrooms are fascinating and I admire their resilience.  They pop up in unexpected places and I am amazed to see them thrive even in adverse conditions.  Secondly, it makes reference to the electroforming technique I have employed to make this work.  Electroforming is a technique that allows me to create forms by literally growing copper ions on a base of sculpted wax.  Thirdly, as a metaphor for my journey of personal growth; it references my increased self-knowledge as an artist and skilled craftsperson, my experiences in business development and my confidence in making cross-disciplinary connections. Finally, seeds are a launching point for growth in the lives of plants and similarly the exhibition itself represents a seed from which I hope to grow and develop professionally.

Lotus Pods: 

With these pieces I am really glad that I chose to get more than just the one vinyl decal cut.  I think it would have been too much if they were all clustered together.  It was nice to be able to spread them out. 

Banksia Pods:

Milkweed Seed Earrings:

Even though this piece was probably the biggest pain to install (ask my friend Katrina, she hammered in and bent the 48 nails needed for it) it is probably my favourite.


Like the lotus pods I am really happy with my inclusion of the decals here, it was worth the effort of weeding all of the vinyl!

My favourite little guys: 

I, of course, had to make cupcakes for my opening.  And because I am a stickler for detail I simply had to make cupcakes that matched my show.  Imagine my delight when I found the little gold wrappers! 

Now for a bit of behind the scenes on the show and the little details that needed to be complete leading up to it.  I struggled for a really long time about how I wanted to display the banksia pods, mostly because the longer I looked at them the less I saw them as jewellery and the more I saw them as objects.  I decided to display them museum style on a shelf instead which meant creating braces for them.  Rather than work with stainless which by that point I had no patience for, I made some brass stands and nickel plated them. 

This is the nightmare that was the vinyl.  Thank god I could do this at home in pyjamas while watching movies. 

Installing the vinyl wasn't quite as difficult as I had predicted.  Installing in general was not as worrisome as I anticipated either.  I know from installing and doing other shows that it would definitely take a bit of time.  I estimated that it would take a minimum of four hours and an absolute maximum of six.  By some miracle (or two miracles, Katrina and Aimee) we did it in just less than four. 

What a difference a space makes though, look at how different the pieces look just laid out on my bench! 

I was foolishly hoping that I could get some sleep following the show but no such luck as there are applications to get done!  Maybe I will sleep this weekend?