Manufacturers used: DMC, Anchor, Rainbow Gallery, Kreinik, Excella, Caron, House of Embroidery, Weeks Dye works, The Thread Gatherer, Renaissance Designs, Edmar Co., Glisten Gloss.
Wood base from a tree limb
Alene’s leather glue, clear drying
Old Master’s Tong oil
Clear acrylic spray
Rolled Steel rod was cut into 4 pieces of 25 inches each, cleaned on wire wheel and initial bends made using vise, and hand bending. Then the four “trunk/limbs’’ TIG welded together. This was later reinforced with more welding to give additional strength so the upper parts could get more bends. Welds were ground down on grinder belt and smoothed with sander. Wood block was sanded and old bark removed then the wood was oiled twice with tong oil and left to dry for 24 hours. The base metal was bent to form a ‘’rooting’’ similar to the tree I used as inspiration. Photo # 1. Four holes were drilled on drill press using a 9/16 th inch drill bit. (Original plan was to use epoxy to secure base in the holes but the fit was perfect.) Base legs of tree were inserted in holes and the upper tree was bent a bit more, by hand, to give better shape. Metal was re-sanded at this point by hand. The copper wire was stripped of plastic (very difficult to do) and select lengths were wrapped around the upper tree limbs. Then tree was sprayed with clear acrylic spray to help avoid direct metal contact with fibers. After another 24 hour dry time and buffing with soft cloth the fibers were attached. Attachment was done with half hitches of fiber bundles and then they were lightly glued to insure they stayed in place. The metals were not glued. Lastly the threads were steamed to get out most of the wrinkles and then trimmed with scissors to give uniform length. (except the metals)
The entire tree looks finished and the fibers color shift worked well. The wood block gives the needed stability to the project and overall it looks colorful.
The initial idea of more welds would not help the overall design. Also the use of brazing copper wire to limbs to make the copper stay in place did not give enough spaces for the number of fibers I wanted to use. (this was tested on scrap metal to verify if idea would work) And the idea of adding weld buttons to top of each limb to hold the fibers would have taken away from the smooth shape I was going for.
This project continues my exploration into trees as a theme for my art. The openness and the smooth lines of this sculpture help keep the simplicity of design. Use of recycled wire, left over fibers and rescued wood show how nothing is going to waste at my house!
(for detailed fiber as to color code, mfg, and color name please ask… it is in my original sketch book)
Mass is represented as the earth and its mass of sand and water. The palm tree’s top also has mass to help balance the design, yet the slanted trunk gives a motion and direction leading the eye to the tag in the upper corner. The open area under the tree on the right side represents a house and home stable and solid. The left side open area is of fractured and broken material as life is often fractured but heading to the solid tree of life. The water with one specific wave is on the left side, directing the wind and tilt of the tree. The pebbly base of sand is the roughness of life, with tiny seashells representing signs of life and new beginnings. The tree trunk of glass beads showing the fragile, breakable glass of life and the roughness of the world. The tree itself – a bendable, flexible base with flowing fronds – shows the desire to be flexible, flowing yet anchored to the sandy earth even as the wind blows and tosses the fronds about. Although most of the shells are of subdued colors, there is a bright spot in the lower right corner giving hope for life. The two coconuts are symbolic of the two lives reaching for the sky, yet eventually, both will fall to the earth and wash out to the sea. Sharp edges speak of shattered dreams and cracking spaces, and smooth ones around the “home” space show a calm, secure space. Tiny scratches on the water are the bits of turbulence in the world and how they erode the earthly base’s mass. As the earthly beach is eroded by the rough water of life, small, some bright shells of life appear to delight the eye.
Rough and smooth shells, some shinny, some dull, some bright, some circles and lines, pointy and not. Flat and round, oval and spiral such as life.
I enjoyed doing this project once I figured out how to cast the negative spaces with the foam. Being able to carve on the material. What I would do differently next time, and there will be the next time, would be not to use as much glue when putting layers of foam together. Also to make sure to smooth the foam edges and perhaps even put a bit of angle, so they are more easily removed. I do think the thickness I chose worked well with the project. The plaster should have been thicker to start with so the pebbles on the bottom of the project did not slide around so much. I am happy with not using any paint and keeping the white material as part of the main design element.
Project: To create a 12 in by 12 in by 4 to 6 inches deep sculpture from plaster of Paris. This should show mass and open-air with found objects and have meaning to the builder/artist.
Materials used: plywood for the form for casting, hot glue, screws, foam board and other plastic, Murphy’s oil soap for release agent, Plaster of Paris and found objects.
Procedure: formulate an idea to be able to reproduce negative space areas in the final casting. Cut plywood for a 12 in by 12 in base and 4 sides 12 in long by 6 in wide and make a box. Using purple foam cut with the band saw to form the negative areas and hot glue to the bottom of the box (or sides if wanted) also hot glue all box seams. Slather the interior of the box with Murphy’s oil soap. Prepare to cast material by gently sifting it into a bucket of water until small island forms in the center of the water, mix, and apply to the interior of the box. Attach any items as the material sets up. Let dry for at least 48 hours. Finish with found objects, paint, resin, or in whatever manner you wish.