Monday, January 31, 2011

Sculpture and Poetry

Looking at the Moon papercut 12.5 x12.5 inches © Patrick Gracewood
the earth is round
yet we divide it into squares.

we live in square houses,
in square rooms,
eat from round bowls
and round plates
each at a square table.

at night, we lie
each in a square bed
beneath the round moon.

will we ever fit together?

my thoughts go around
my round head~
they fly in circles
before lying down
in straight lines
on a square of paper;

then, line after line of thought
circles out from the square
of paper,
concentric circles circling out,
the pebble of a thought
tossed into the pond
of the universe…

one night, i too will lie
down in a straight line,
merely a thought
among other thoughts,
not connected except by shape,`
not fitting the circle
of the earth.

i am a square, a square peg~
a block-head
with a round hole
in the bullseye of my heart
that nothing stops

and i lift my round eyes
to the great circle of the sky
in wonder.

poem by Roy Anthony Shabla 

I've known Roy for years and created the paper cut after reading his poem. He said that the paper cut was exactly what the next section of the poem was about. 
For more of Roy's work click here .

Here's the second draft of the papercut. I wanted the focus to be on the figure, not the moon. I like the spinning stars more, but the horizontal waves kill the background.  Time for #3 paper cut.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sculpture and Boris Artzybasheff #2

All artwork is by Boris Artzybasheff is from the book "Gay-neck the Story of a Pigeon" by Dhan Gopal Mukerji.

The grim reaper

A lot of war is going on in this little square:air battles, a tank, bombs, barbed wire front lines and ruined trees.

More in the next post.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sculpture and Boris Artzybasheff

All artwork by Boris Artzybasheff

The title caught my eye, "Gay-Neck, the Story of a Pigeon."
How could I resist?

I confess that I haven't read Dhan Gopal Mukerji 's book, but I have devoured the black and white illustrations by Boris Artzybasheff. The book won the Newberry Award for children's literature in 1928. Both men lead pretty amazing lives, Gopal Mukerji came from an upper class Indian family and the other fled the Russian Revolution.

The artwork in Gay-neck looks like paper-cuts and is a wild blend of 1920's Deco and Indian patterning.

More work by Boris Artzybasheff in the next post.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sculpture and the first paper based transistor

Sculptor Beatriz Cunha has posted on her blog news of the first paper based transistor.

Created by Portuguese scientists, the discovery opens the door for new disposable electronics devices, like paper displays, smart labels, smart packaging, bio-applications, RFID tags, among others.

Read the full story on Beatriz's site.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Sculpture and Winter Light

The winter sunlight is low in the sky, often flattening objects to black silhouettes. 
Those silhouettes cast long shadows that seem more vivid, more real than the objects themselves.

Even the shadows of a bridge seem more substantial than the bridge itself

Art is really about understanding how to use light and shadow to tell a story. Take a walk to see how the winter light changes familiar things........

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sculpture and Duncan McRoberts.

Here's the finished ceiling panel, designed by Duncan McRoberts, ready for molding. 
 In the center there is an example of runwork, which is plaster that's been shaped into a specific profile. I don't have any pictures of it installed.

Finally, a use for those saved scraps of rosewood!
I made these wooden tools specifically for this project. One end of each stick is used to create a clean beveled channel, the other end is a very shallow curve used for modeling. I cut and filed a tongue depressor (at the far left) to be a comb tool.

The metal spheres are standard pattern maker tools, the wooden ones are used in ceramics. I made the largest one with a knob and a dowel.

Here's a cast from the mold to show you how each detail of this work is shaped by a specific tool.
If you want to make work this tight, you never touch it directly. By only using selected tools you can maintain both exact measurements and uniformity of form and surface texture.

Sculpture and Duncan McRoberts

A home by the architect, Duncan McRoberts, is featured in the Dec/Jan issue of Oregon Home Magazine.

A few years ago, I worked with McRoberts on a very different residence. The project was a 4x 5 foot elaborate ceiling, sort of a decorated cake of ornament. The rest of the house gave new meaning to excess. Elaborate faux finishes, High French, low french, and lots of

What I enjoyed most about the work was that I had to develop new tools and techniques. For me this was technical sculpture, lots of measuring and using every trick I could devise to keep it as symmetrical and exact as possible.
I enlarged McRoberts drawings to full scale.

 I placed clear acrylic over the blueprint and traced out each component. Then I cut all the parts out and had matching right and left templates to begin modeling. This photo shows two symmetrical ornaments being checked for accuracy.

Out of context I think this looks like some sort of 19th C medal.

This center medallion took the most time. I worked from the center outwards. I established the maximum clay height of the relief for one quarter of it, then carefully modeled each section to match. Each line and division of form is exactly the width of a tool specially made for this project.

More in the next post.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sculpture and Materials

Sculptors love objects and the materials they are made from. So it's disconcerting when you notice that a favorite material no longer is available or even exists

The little winter Clementine citrus used to come in small wooden crates. I hated throwing them out because I loved the bright orange and blue printed wood. One solution to re-use them was to create wings for this angel. Alas, he's now one of a kind, as the crates no longer exist.

This year's Clementines come in a mesh bag. Good-bye little crates. Have you noticed any materials that you love or take for granted suddenly gone?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Sculpture and Restoration

Like medicine, architectural restoration begins with "First, Do no harm." But things get muddy pretty fast after that. We'd like to believe that the work of earlier craftsmen is better than today's craftsmen, but that's not always true. 

This capital is wildly irregular. Its measurements and symmetry are off by inches. It's obvious to replace missing parts, but does one correct other flaws?

The answer is NO! That's not in the budget. 

Instead I clean up all the surfaces and forms. That means adding oil clay to fill in missing sections, and using my carving tools to cut through the paint and plaster to clean up the through lines of the acanthus leaves. The goal is to make everything blend together again.

Original damaged pilaster capital

So the original artwork is modified with oil clay, and carving to reform the surfaces. After each day's work, it's spray painted with a white primer to visually unify all the surfaces. That makes for a very funky working surface, but without that whitewashing even the folks who work on it, (Me) cant  understand what we're looking at. 
It's all about figure/ground relationships.
Corner capital made from two matched and tooled parts ready for molding.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sculpture and Restoration

Sometimes architectural restoration literally rises out of the ashes. These Corinthian capitals were badly damaged in a fire. I don't know how they managed to remove them from the building in one piece. 

Parts would fall off them while I was just looking at them.
Here's a pilaster capital also fire and time damaged.
What the fire didn't ruin, was drowned by one hundred years of overpainting.
The dilemma is finding what and where is the original surface.

Following posts will show some of the restoration process

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sculpture and Shop Humor

 Design Form is rising out of the ruins of the previous architectural elements business. 
In cleaning out the mountains of trash, the guys, (both had worked for the previous business) found something in the owner's office: the book  Personal Bankruptcy Laws for Dummies

Unopened, still with the receipt.

They installed it in the new "library",
with a screw right through it.
You could know more, but that says it all. 

Cracks me up every time I wash my hands.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Sculpture and the New Year

As artist's we can get so focused on Selling our work that that we forget that our work is also a gift. 

Our art is a gift that we can freely share with everyone in our world. 

Give some of your art away and charge a fair price for rest of your art work. It's a good practice. It helps you be very clear about why you are making it and what your expectations are for each piece.

In this new year, where can you give the gift of your creativity? 
Is there a place you can share it with the very young, or the very old? 
Art is about abundance. Share it with the world.
Here's the large bees wax covered pine cone, on top the cake and stuffed to capacity with colorful prayers.
 There is the pine cone in the heart of the fire, prayers long gone up in flames and smoke.

7 year old cub reporter taking photos. I love her stance!

Lost in the warmth and the glow of the fire.....
Still shots of the fire are inspiration for new works....