Friday, January 29, 2010

Sculpture and Architecture in Novi Sad, Serbia

It's so good to find another person who looks at manmade things: architecture, ironwork, wood carving, decay and patinas, to learn how and why they are the way they are.

Alt Deutsch Silberholz posted photos taken in Novi Sad, Serbia. Shall we take a tour of the city?

Beautiful ironwork

Beautiful woodwork

Beautiful buildings

And a patina on a door handle that has decades of stories to tell.....

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sculpture and Sculptors Around the World II

Welcome two sculptors from opposite parts of the world to Shadows on Stone. Please visit their websites to see more of their sculpture.

Od Broza is a sculptor from Vojvodina, Serbia. He has many of the same interests of architecture, wood carving, restoration as Shadows On Stone, but you can read about them in Serbian. His blog is - ALT DEUTSCH SILBERHOLZ For those of us who can't read Serbian, he takes lots of interesting photographs.

Forgive me if I have his name wrong, I took what appears to be a name, it's capitalized, from an article about his work on his blog.

There's a photo of him in the nude, ( that will get you to look at his blog!,) but no recognizable first or last name. If anyone reads Serbian, please help me with this?????)

Strange the ways of the internet.....

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sculpture and Carlos Battauz

I love sculpture passionately but sometimes wonder if there's any audience for writing and thinking and looking at sculpture. So it's a wonderful surprise to welcome two sculptors from opposite parts of the world to Shadows on Stone. Please visit their websites to see more of their sculpture.

Carlos Battauz is an Argentinian sculptor, working in wood and metal. These photos below, from his website, incorporate found objects in a series he calls Masqueras.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Sculpture and Lignum Vitae

Guaiacum sanctum is the latin name for lignum vitae or Holywood. Photo by Peter Buchwald from the great plant site Botany Photo of the Day

"Guaiacum sanctum is native to the Florida Keys of the southeast USA, Central America and the Caribbean. It is the national flower of the Jamaica. Lignum vitae is an extremely slow-growing, multi-trunked, broadleaf evergreen which can reach 9m to 12m, but because of its slow growth and heavy harvesting, it is more commonly found at 2.5m to 3.5m tall in the wild.

The wood of this genus is famous for its density, durability and strength. It is the hardest trade wood measured via the Janka hardness test and will sink in water. This dense wood was once popular for use in propeller shafts on steamships, gears and mallets.

Lignum vitae was also harvested, somewhat notoriously, for medicinal purposes. Purportedly, during his travels in the New World, Christopher Columbus picked up both syphilis and its cure--a concoction of lignum vitae!" Text also from Botany Photo of the Day.

Thank God they've found other cures for syphilis. All species of Lignum vitae are now on the endangered species list. Which makes my trusty carving mallet and collection of antique furniture wheels (made of lignum vitae) all the more forlorn.... .

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sculpture and a Morning in The Middle Ages

It's so delicious to slow down.

A gentle rain is falling, my office is warm, the door is locked, the phone on silent. I'm spending the morning steeping myself in the distant past, 1000 to 1350 AD, looking at my books on Romanesque and Gothic art.

Those art books take up almost an entire 4 foot wide shelf. It's heavenly not to feel rushed and savor each image.

My eyes drift from images of cathedrals to tiny enamels, woodcarvings and reliquaries. How quirky and alive everything is. I'm enjoying them both for their own beauty, but I'm also hunting for solutions, noting details and color palettes, making drawings for use on these next two carvings.

Hope you can steal some time to sit quietly and plan your new year.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sculpture and Ginkakuji

After reviewing "stock pile" I had to look at the real deal.

It's at a temple in Kyoto, Gingkakuji or the Silver Temple. The truncated cone of gravel sits in a white sand garden. But to get the full aesthetic experience there are even more parameters. It's meant to be viewed by moonlight. (image from

There's nothing left to chance, but plenty of room for fallen leaves and moonlight. That's art.

Cue the music...

"...Every little detail plays a part
Having just a vision's no solution
Everything depends on execution
Putting it together, that's what counts..." from Sunday in the Park with George.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Sculpture and "Stock-Pile"

Photos from Harvard University Graduate School of Design website

I've got to say I like the concept more than the execution.

Yes, I get the allusions to the Japanese ceremonial piles of gravel. But the reason those are beautiful is that they are carefully maintained and groomed to perfection.

They are also twice the size of this dump zone. This "sculpture" is not large enough in scale to its site to make an impact. A high concept idea that is cheap to install does not make art.

Stock-Pile, after a season of kids playing, is going to be a muddled mess, an abandoned construction site. That may be an appropriate theme for 2009, but not what Harvard University needs to symbolize their Graduate School of Design.

Here's the official story also from Harvard University Graduate School of Design website Stoss Landscape Urbanism—firm of Chris Reed, Design Critic in Landscape Architecture—Installs Stock-Pile in Radcliffe Yard, Cambridge, MA

STOCK-PILE: a storage pile or heap of material; a reserve supply of something essential; a gradually accumulated reserve of something, esp. something vital or indispensable*

The essential elements of landscape construction—stone, aggregate, sand, soil – diverse and rich in color, shape, and texture —are arranged in simple piles on a north-south grid. Two are planted with ancient ferns. All start stacked impossibly steep, poised to subside—each of its own accord, in keeping with its inherent physical and structural characteristics.

*from Webster’s Third New International Dictionary of the English Language Unabridged

The project was commissioned by Barbara J. Grosz, Dean of the Radcliffe Institute and Higgins Professor of Natural Sciences at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, as part of the Tenth Anniversary Celebration of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, October 2009.

The design and installation of Stock-Pile was completed in 7 days. (Really? What took so long? Rumor has it God made the world in 7 days, and he didn't have dump trucks!)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sculpture and "Historic" Gingerbread Houses

Taking a break from showing the construction of the Moon Goddess to share this with you.

Sometimes you gotta plan things ahead of time- for next year.

Interior Designer, Barbara Miller, created a repro of Portland's historic Pittock Mansion in gingerbread as part of the holiday decoration.

Above photos from Barbara Miller's blog Designing My Life. She lays out all the steps in creating edible architecture.
The best gingerbread house I ever saw was actually a hilarious party performance piece.

A lovely decorated gingerbread house was presented to ooohs and aaahhs. Then spirits, brandy (?) was poured down the chimney and ignited. Suddenly the context changed, from hokey gingerbread house to house afire. It was funny and shocking as the icing walls melted and the house began to fall apart. The artists then whipped out a "Fire Extinguisher" of canned whipping cream and put the fire out. The excited crowd devoured the remains.


Way better than having it get stale and dusty.... An idea worth trying to get you through this next Christmas?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sculpture and Community -The Making of Ritual 2010

Now the fun part begins, PAINTING! (I've always wanted to be a Japanese Mexican folk artist.) Cover as much of the brown cardboard with color base coat. You can see how just a quick dry brushing starts to bring out the features of the face.

The trick to painting like this is to stay loose while making every stroke of the brush count. You can always correct and paint something out, but the goal is to get it right the first time, practicing an economy of gesture.

I've been studying arabesque lines for years. There's an internal logic that makes the decorative pattern fit any surface. So here's a perfect canvas to practice painting over irregular surfaces. The layers of paint help unify the surfaces. inculding that large fountain firework in the foreground.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Contact Improvisation at Breitenbush Hot Springs

Carolyn Stuart and I will lead a Contact Improvisation Exchange at Breitenbush Hot Springs, January 10 to the 15th.

Contact Improvisation is a dance form that invites us to explore movement while in physical contact. All levels of experience welcome and appreciated! Come as you are and begin from there, each moment.

Carolyn Stuart and Patrick Gracewood have been researching Contact Improvisation for over 20 years, logging hundreds of projects along the way. The process of inquiry and discovery never ceases to inspire and delight them. They are excited to facilitate a lively investigation of how the dance of contact is co-created, moment-by-moment.

REG: Breitenbush 503.854.3320
INFO: Carolyn 503.282.2938 or
BEGINS: Sun dinner
ENDS: Fri lunch
COST: $110 Sun-Fri (5 nights), $85 Sun to Wed (3 nights), $75 Wed to Fri (2 nights) plus lodging

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Sculpture and Community -The Making of Ritual 2010

Here's a back side shot showing how I attached the plaster disc to stakes. The fun of this kind of construction is that it's quick, it only has to last a short while.

The lovely crown is from a broken wicker chair.Things that aren't worth keeping but are too cool to toss are perfect for ceremonial burnings.

Carbord adds structure and ornamentation. I build using carboard and drywall screws,creating ledges for fireworks and more cardboard screening. Each layer conceals the mechanics of the previous layer and give more surfaces for painting.

Here all the cardboard is installed and back ground test sample of paint. I'd been looking at Asian art and was inspired to add all the prayer hands. Those were made by cutting out right and left hand shapes from old veneer and wrapping them tightly onto heavy cardboard tubing with white sheeting. A silver leaf tea paper was then applied with wall paper paste.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Sculpture and Community -The Making of Ritual 2010

Two tigers and a big blue moon goddess.
That's what appeared, here's how it began.

Take one small wooden pallet, add feet and stabilizing braces.

Make 3 foot diameter face with plaster, sheeting, using old styrofoam part as mold and broken bits of styrofoam to suggest features. Screw disc to base.

More on Wed.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Sculpture and Community Sculpture and Ritual 2010

I wrote about creating sculpture for community ritual here. These are the parameters I use for creating a NEW YEAR's bonfire sculpture:

Cant spend more than two days working on it or spend more than $100. (Most of that budget is spent on fireworks.)

It's gotta be big enough to impress AND small enough to fit through the doorway. (One year we practically ram the door the squeeze through.) Now I make them in sections.

It's gotta ignite from the fireworks and burn quickly because it's often raining. There must be a fuel reserve for bonfire warmth which allows folks to stand outside comfortably in 38 degree weather. (It is surprising though how much burning you can achieve in the rain.)

It's gotta incorporate found objects,lots of cardboard and be easy to carry outside without falling apart.

Making it has to be as much fun as setting it on fire. More to follow.