Monday, February 27, 2012

Sculpture and Wreaths

How comfortable are you dealing with 20,000 people?
Me? I need something to do other than stand there waiting to talk about my art.

The Wintter Queen. I looked up to see this lovely lady all in red, even her wheelchair was red. I quickly made a wreath out of the scarlet dogwood and she popped it on her head as halo and crown!
The Persian Garden at the Yard Garden Patio Show hired a belly dancer to undulate and waft her veils at their entrance. She was good. Lovely, really lovely.......

I thought that was unfair competition, What could we do at the French garden booth? Pluck a goose?
phoo by David Bales.
 A few days ago, I'd pruned the studio's apple trees and redtwig dogwoods and decided to demonstrate how to make a simple wreath using the clippings. Amid all the hubub of thousands of people walking through the show, it was very sane to share instead of trying to sell.
This woman got the hang of wreathing very quickly. Hmmm, She's also wearing red.
A little girl, a shy teenage boy, several mothers and grandmothers were drawn into my quiet space and learned how to make weaths for themselves. I said to each one, "Now teach someone else."

When the world is too busy, the sanest thing to do is work with nature..........

Friday, February 24, 2012

Sculpture and the Yard Garden Patio Show

Design by Linda Meyer for Le Confort Francais booth at the Yard Garden Patio Show 2012

Here's an interview with Linda Meyer, the designer of Le Confort Francais.  She talks about the inspiration and contributers to the garden.

If you've ever wondered how these gardens come into being and bloom in the middle of February, here a brief overview of the work that went into setting up the display gardens. Le Confort Francais garden is at the upper right.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sculpture and Paper Cuts into Metal

 Here are the laser-cut sunflower panels installed at the 2012 Yard Garden Patio Show.
Photos by David Bales

I chose to leave the finish on the panels the natural dull sheen of the metal. My thinking was that it would be a good foil to all the dark woods and back wall of dark green cedar. We'd planned on having a spot light blasting on the back side to cast sunflower shadows onto the counter. Alas, that was not to be as wattage had already been alloted to other things. Sometimes you just roll with what is out of your controll.

After this show comes down, I'm going to apply a rust finish to the metal. That will boost the contrast of light and dark. They really do cry out for direct sunllight and strong shadows.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sculpture and Paper Cuts into Metal

This it the first time I have actually seen how the paper cut translates into metal. It looks good.

We're at the fabricator, H. Hirschberger. After being laser cut, the metal screens need  the edges bent and welded. This step reinforces the structure, making it less floppy. It turns the panels in very shallow boxes.
Greg Hirschberger explains the next few steps and shows me there is a good and a not so good side to the metal. The B side has some slag on it from the cutting process.

Back at the studio, we're leaving the plastic on to protect from finger prints.

This is what I'm interested in: What does it look like backlit? 
Then it is off to the Yard Garden Patio Show!
Here they are backstage waiting to be installed on either side of the bread oven......

Friday, February 17, 2012

Sculpture and Paper Cuts

At this point this project leaves my hands. I love that.
I also get freaked out because it's out of my control, but it requires skills I will never have.
David Bales photographing Sunflower World.
David Bales translates the photo into a DXF file that the laser cutting computer can read. He also prepares shop drawings that translate my little paper cut into a working plan to transform it into a large metal screen.
David designed a return on the metal panel to stiffen it and make it hold it's shape.
The files were sent to Laser Cutting Services in Tualatin, Oregon. Their price was good as it included both metal, 14 gague mild steel, and all the laser cutting.
Too big to fit inside the van meant a quick trip to the hardware store to buy tie down straps.
I love working on an architecutral scale.

What's strange is how a project keeps changing size, both in my head and in reality.
The paper cut is 24 inches x 16 inches wide. The photos and plans are really small on my computer. We go to Laser Cutting Services to pick up the art and "suddenly" it's enormous! It's on a pallete too big to fit in the van! Now it's off to the fabricators for bending and welding.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sculpture and Paper Cuts

I love it! Now do it over again.
Sunflowers 1 by Patrick Gracewood ©2012
 This is how a craftsman's life is different from an artist's life.
I'm both so I should know.

Time = Money. The longer the laser is cutting metal, the more expensive this project is going to be.
So take the sunflower idea and simplify it. Begin again, using what I learned on the first round to make this second iteration better. (By the way, the tediousness doesn't go away.)
Sunflowers 2 by Patrick Gracewood ©201
Great, this part works.

Now how do I fill the big black space above? My idea was a sun over an entire planet of sunflowers.
I liked the sun I edited OUT of the St Francis panel. It reminds me of Durer prints. But after cutting it I didn't like it. Too much a different texture, so I tried to tie it together with a stalk to connect the two.

The leaves and stalk are too great a contrast and steal attention from the Sunflowers. Damn.
Here's where it gets ugly rather than perfect. Perfectionism would tell me I've ruined it. Yup, that voice is often heard screaming in my studio. Luckily, I live with parrots, so perfectionism is just one more voice in the chaos choir. Solution? Cut and paste. It's that simple.
Sunflower world  paper cut by Patrick Gracewood ©2012
Paper cutting is about the power of patterning.

That's more like it. The leaves and stalk are more in the background. I missed an opportunity to reinforce the curve of the world by not having the stalk pattern going the same direction. I would also have liked that patten to be a bit more regular, but the irregularity that comes from hand work is what keeps it from being too perfect. Perfection is not interesting visually because our eyes look for differences as much as they look for symmetry.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sculpture and Paper Cuts

Have you ever heard yourself say something once too often.............
and have to make a change immeditely?
Beginning the sunflower design.
I got so sick of showing people my paper cuts and saying "Imagine this in steel" that I decided to make it happen before I had a client. I told Linda Meyer that I'd have two large panels ready for her display garden at Portland's Yard Garden Patio Show.

Chalk one up for courage, and subtract several for fiscal foolishness.
Now all I had to do was make it happen!
St Francis paper cut by Patrick Gracewood ©2012 
The inspiration for the display garden is Paris and Van Gogh's cafe paintings. Since it's a fantasy, I thought of the sunflower, revisited my St Francis Papercut, and used the circles within circles sunflower design to begin........
Sunflowers paper cut by Patrick Gracewood ©2012
It is so tedious to cut dozens of tiny squares, but exciting to see the pattern grow! 
The real magic happens when the pattern is doubled with light.
Sunflower paper cut by Patrick Gracewood ©2012
Now that's fun to look at! 
This is the direction I pray for for all my art. The actual object is an artifact, "Soup," but with light it  more meaningful, a reflection of that bigger picture- ART, a state of grace... 

PS. maybe it's magical to me because we don't get much sunlight. Awareness of the quality of light of each day is part of my religion.. Yours too?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Sculpture and the Society for Arts in Healthcare

I'm pleased to be the Society for Arts in Healthcare's member spotlight for the month of February.
There's a brief interview here.

The Society for the Arts in Healthcare is a non-profit 501(c)3 corporation in Washington, DC.

Founded in 1991, the Society for the Arts in Healthcare is dedicated to advancing arts as integral to healthcare by 
  • demonstrating the valuable roles the arts can play in enhancing the healing process;
  • advocating for the integration of the arts into the environment and delivery of care within healthcare facilities;
  • assisting in the professional development and management of arts programming for healthcare populations;
  • providing resources and education to healthcare and arts professionals; 
  • encouraging and supporting research and investigation into the beneficial effects of the arts in healthcare.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sculpture and Poetry/Music

photo by David Bales
Call it a professional-life crisis.

"Is sculpture at all relevant in this age of virtual busyness?" 
 I'm not doubting my skills or the work itself. Is the work of making contemplative sculpture worth doing if there is no audience for it? 

Other than beauty, I've been thinking about what does sculpture offer to the world?

Stillness and silence.

Sculpture embodies these two qualities and holds them with anyone willing to take the time to slow down.

I'm looking for answers in Poetry and Music, and finding encouragement. Not answers, encouragement.

Two lines from WH Auden.
"To pray is to pay attention or, shall we say, to 'listen' to someone or something other than oneself."

"He has never seen God,
but, once or twice, he believes
he has heard Him."

What encourages you to make your art? 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Sculpture and author Sarah Thornton

"A successful artist isn't bitter." Sarah Thornton.

2011 SCAD deFINE ART guest Sarah Thornton from SCAD on Vimeo.

Sarah Thornton is the author of Seven Days in the Art World. In this video she explores the many definitions and uses of art. Her reason for why she’s glad she is not an art critic is funny.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Sculpture and Dance: Pina

People + movement + objects + space + relationships = life and art = PINA

PINA - Dance, dance, otherwise we are lost - International Trailer from neueroadmovies on Vimeo.

I was moved to tears several times. It's that beautiful. See it.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sculpture and Clothing

How do you write discretely about dementia? 

In clearing up the last of my mother in law's things, I found the Buck and Buck catalog. Buck and Buck's  motto is We make Dressing  Easier. They offer adaptive clothing for home health care and nursing home residents.  Many of the garments are a sculptural rethinking of clothes to look normal but make it easier or harder to dress/undress.

"Perfect for the person who undresses as a pastime, but not for the aggressive undresser."
I wish I'd written that line.  
You have to take every opportunity to laugh in this life, because you know you're gonna cry.