Lark Books does a beautiful series that showcases collections of work. I recently found out that I will have two pieces featured in the the upcoming 500 Cabinets book. Included will be Abutilon Cabinet and Wine Cabinet. I can’t wait to see the other 498 pieces!
With my usual promptness 😉 there were a couple of projects from the last year or so that I have yet to add to my website, that I wanted to share. The first is a sculptural piece, and the second a furniture commission that was made much more interesting to finish by the impending arrival of the twins.
Teeter 28 consists of a series of polymer clay drawers and drawer boxes precariously attached to a curly maple upright, with carved walnut pieces that “pierce” the upright.
Teeter 28 was one of two pieces I entered in the International Polymer Clay Association’s 2008 Progress and Possibilities competition. Both Teeter 28 and Birds n’ Bees Cairn were finalists in the Sculptural Objects category. The piece then traveled to Minneapolis for the exhibit CODAchrome: A Snapshot of Craft in America at the American Association of Woodturners Gallery of Wood Art.
The second piece was a commission for an entry area cabinet. The client had developed the concept for the main elements including a cell phone charging area over an open area similar to a dry sink. The “trough”, as we called it, would have a removable cover to hide clutter when they have guests over, and the cover would store inside the cabinet area below. We tried to maximize the space available so the measurements were very specific to her home (the height of the baseboard moulding; the location of the mirror above etc.).
It was an interesting piece to work through, made more interesting in the second trimester of carrying twins. I have never been so conscious of how cold and hard the concrete floor in my shop can be under foot! Near the end I decided to get some help with some of the last table saw cuts. Anyone who has seen what happens when a table saw kicks back would understand!
This cabinet had a little of everything: cherry, padauk, maple, polymer clay, acrylic paint, silver, brass, copper paint with patina. The door panels have sheets of polymer clay created with the mokume gane technique, carved and painted overlays, and door pulls with fine silver and polymer clay. The end pieces for the charging area were my first real foray into bent lamination, and have subsequently led to a lot of experimentation combining wood and polymer laminations. More on that later!
It was a challenging piece, a puzzle with many parts, but very satisfying.
Things have been very different around here since May. My best work yet.
It’s that time of year already. It may still be fairly cool outside, but it’s already time to clean out the little pots, cull through the seed packets, and press those tiny little lumps of dried plant material into the soil in hopes that tiny little lump will reemerge as a healthy little plant.
Have you heard of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault? Nicknamed the “Doomsday Vault”, seeds from all over the world are being systematically categorized and stored to ensure “conservation and availability of crop diversity for food security worldwide.” There is a strange contradiction in the globalization we experience that is evidenced by the plant world. In striving for diversity, we can inadvertently become more homogenized.
I recently finished the class for our local Master Gardener program. Many counties have this type of program. This one involves several weeks of classes, followed by a required number of service hours. A very important topic that was touched on several times is that of invasive species. Many plants and insects that I am very familiar with in my own landscape were unintentionally or intentionally introduced relatively recently. People introduce plants to control erosion, or bring in one insect to control another, and the consequences can be far reaching. I realized how unfamiliar I am with the native species of this part of Maryland.
In my own yard, we planted several Buddleia (Butterfly Bush). We love the continual bloom in mid to late summer, and just as the name implies, they really do attract lots of butterflies. But after a couple years we started to notice more and more of them. Turns out Buddleia is on the watch list our area, and already classified as a noxious weed in Washington and Oregon. We now have one more “weed” to control. They are still beautiful though.
This piece was fun to make with stronger colors than I tend to use in larger pieces. It is a three part screen with a large amount of polymer clay veneer, and sweeping painted overlays. Folding screens are an interesting format. They can be highly decorative, and loosely formated, yet very versatile.
A departure in theme for me, my new sculptural vessel piece, Birds n’ Bees Cairn, was finished just in time for the annual Art You My Valentine? exhibit at the Mansion at Strathmore (February 2 – 25, 2008).
It was a fun piece to make… a little of everything. The underside of the walnut base is carved, and finished with layered paint to emphasize depth. Combined with the smooth, oil-rubbed top, the base has taken on a toadstool effect that I would like to further explore. The bottom two “rocks” are both polymer clay vessels…even in my most sculptural work I feel a pull to make it do something. I was a little concerned that I would have trouble with the upper components being top heavy, but the snug fitting lids hold well. Two of the “rocks” are patterned with the mokume gane technique. The other two are layered with a variety of techniques, including a touch of caning for the translucent bee wings.
This piece is the first reflecting my recent interest in cairns. The simplest definition is a pile of stones, but the meanings are vast. Cairns may mark a place of meaning, or be intended to guide. The history is deep for this simple manipulation of natural elements.
Layers are a recurring theme in my work. My painted work can easily have twenty to thirty layers, building up the forms and the colors for greater depth and interest. The polymer clay technique I use most frequently, mokume gane (shown), is also based on layers. Mokume gane is a borrowed metalwork technique, where a series of layers are laminated, interrupted, and then sliced to reveal patterns.
Recently I have been experimenting with a new type of layering. I have been combining polymer clay with wood veneer. The largest conceptual difference with my new technique is that all the layers are viewed directly, from the side, instead of viewing through the multiple layers. The layers are the subject rather than the method. Layers can mark a passage of time. A river stone is history you can hold in your hand. Layers can also be used more deliberately to build. Intentionally placed next to each other for the sake of the relationship created by that proximity. When the technical experimenting with adhesives and sequences and finishes is done, I hope the contrasting materials add a new kind of depth and rhythm to my latest work. More to come on this new technique…
Some would say the last thing I need is yet another new project, but here it is. Being an artist is a never ending work in progress, and a blog seems like a nice way to track progress, ideas and inspiration. It’s an organized place for me to put those interesting photos of shapes and textures, remember just how long that new piece really took, and share my latest projects and experiments. So here it is…