Week 3 of 52 at VSC

February 21, 2010

Unfortunately, I am ridiculously ill this week. The only reason I left the house at all today was in search of internet to write this weeks entry. To my chagrin, there is no internet in my house or studio, so I can only make use of it in the lounge or at the coffee shop. Since I have spent the majority of this week dying in bed or in the office working, there has been very little time in studio. But, before I came down with the illness, I managed to get started carving the plaster diamond I started back in December. As it creeps closer and closer to diamond-like perfection, I get more and more nervous about messing it up—to the point of actually having nightmares about destroying it! I guess I don’t usually make such precious forms—I’ve never been one for preciousness in individual objects, so I’m sure that adds to the anxiety. In any event, as soon as it is done, it will be time to mold it, and if I can get over this flu/cold quickly enough, I should be able to make the mold this week…

One last oddly photoshopped panoramic of the studio, pre-working

Carving the diamond, making a huge, nasty, dusty mess in studio... photo creds to Kate

State of the diamond by the end of the week... not a lot of progress, but only a few facets left to cut and then lots of patching and sanding...

The only benefit to spending so much time at home wanting to die is lots of quality roommate bonding; Kate has been sick with the same thing. For several days now, all we do is sit at home and chat about anything and everything over hot totties, herbal teas and lots of Emergen-C…

Week 2 of 52 at VSC

February 14, 2010

Week two was slightly less insane, but only slightly. While everything is unpacked and in its proper place, there still hasn’t been much time to feel very settled, to really dig into the work or to establish a routine. Next week! Although next week will be abnormal too. Presidents day is one of our few vacation days and Tuesday is a huge deadline for applications so the office should be especially wild as everyone chips in. I also worked changeover this weekend, which is what they call the process of helping new residents arrive, get oriented and started on their own work, so that will cut a chunk of time out of my work week as well. Because every week is different depending on changeover and scheduled monthly activities, maybe routines aren’t actually possible here? Maybe what I need is just a rhythm, not a routine… Anyways, enough chit chat, how about some photos from this week:

An oddly photoshopped panoramic of the studio before I started but after the loft was done...

First round of test casts in little molds—unfortunately I dont think they will work as I originally intended, but they may be good for something else...

A close up of one—actually the bottom of one of those vending machine containers...

I found this plastic diamond on the street months before starting all this, forgot about it and found it while moving... here it is photographed on a sea of candy...

The view from the pillow lounge I made in my loft for nap taking

I also wrapped my table in aluminum foil... definitely should have done this before but it makes cleaning up the candy so much easier...

Also, have I mentioned I added a subscribe button to the page? If you don’t already subscribe, you should! New posts will magically appear in your email so you can stay up to date or link to read it here…

Week 1 of 52 at VSC

February 7, 2010

What a week. It could not have been any more of a roller coaster ride, even if I was trying to make it so. I won’t bore you with the details of the weeks drama, except to say that the death of a far-too-young friend has added new perspective to all that is going on in my own life. It seems more important than ever to consider how we use our short time on this planet. Life is too short and too precious to be unhappy or to let things pass you by. Despite the emotional throw down, I am here and that is most important. Unfortunately, I am not quite ready to go, but only because I am on the brink of being sick AGAIN and so might not really dive in until later in the week when I am feeling 100% again. In any case, I moved up with lots of amazing help on Satuday, immediately began work by driving to the train station in Waterbury that night to pick up a slew of new residents and had all of Sunday off to concentrate on unpacking. I worked in the office Monday through Wednesday, orienting myself to the location of files, the processes and the people who will be my coworkers for the next year. Other than a webinar on social media, Thursday through Sunday was all free time to get settled into the studio and begin picking up where I left off at the end of December. I hired one of the maintenance crew to build a loft in my studio, which is amazing and spent a LOT of time just cleaning the place up, trying to make it feel as fresh and new as possible before I start messing it up. I also attended the first Visiting Writer Reading, which was by Van Jordan and the first Resident Writer Reading, which showcased 4 current residents’ work. Anyways, here are a few images from my first week here…

Not quite from this week, but this is a years worth of sculpture packed up and ready for storage—porcelain teeth and sheets. Thanks Chris!

Not quite from this week, but this is a years worth of sculpture packed up and ready for storage—porcelain teeth and sheets. Thanks Chris!

New loft full of stuff!! Thanks Dave!

All clean and ready to go in Barbara White

I grew these in December and then left them at VSC in storage until now

They got shaken up by a certain visiting artist but still turned out like mini diamonds in the end

Merry Christmas Eve!

December 24, 2009

I am kind of in shock that it is really here! Being secluded in Vermont for the majority of the pre-Holiday season meant that I missed out on all the reminders of the Holidays. No commercials, no decorations, no gift buying, no shopping, no Christmas carols, no Christmas food or drink, no Christmas parties, no candy canes, no silver bells, no Christmas trees or ornaments or lights, no malls, no movies, no bilboards or other forms of advertising to remind me ’tis the season. Without all of that, it was so easy to forget the Holidays were approaching and that perhaps I should be thinking about them. Instead, I was spending every moment of my days and nights thinking about candy, sugar, gemstones, diamonds, relationships, forever, permanence, the ephemeral and transitory, jewelry, value, icons and symbols, and of course people, new friends, old friends, potential new co-workers, old co-workers, jobs, life, change, and movement. So without further ado, a few more pictures from my studio… taken almost exactly a week ago!

This is a giant plaster model of a standard cut diamond in progress

A close up of the texture while building up the plaster little by little and cutting it back to keep it all consistent

After roughing out the basic shape, I mapped out the facets and began carving them in with a file. Long, slow and exhausting work...

I had hoped to finish this process before leaving, but I only got a little over half of the facets cut before it was time to clean up and prepare to leave. As soon as I am back in Vermont, I will finish this monster off and then make a mold of it so I can cast the candy in the mold and create giant diamonds and gemstones made out of sugar. Once a few gems are cast, I have a few vague ideas about what to do with them, but I sort of want to wait to see how the casts work before I commit to anything, so we shall see… I also made molds of the top and bottom half of the fifty cent vending machine toys I showed in an earlier post.

Here they are covered in plasticine, ready for a plaster mother mold

I did at least finish these molds before I left, although the food grade silicone didn’t set up in time for me to actually cast any candy in them. Again, these will be first on the list when I get back to Vermont. Cast a few sets of candy into each of them and see how they turn out…

Untitled 5 (Raging River)

November 28, 2009

Ah Black Friday. It is so appropriate to be working on this project during this commercial holiday. How have we as a culture come to this point where something like Black Friday could possibly exist? Not to mention the fact that it gets crazier every year! Are we so easily manipulated by commercial marketing that we would trample our fellow shoppers in the name of a bargain? And what exactly are we gaining by participating? The satisfaction of having won the battle against all other shoppers who may have wanted that deal, but won’t get it because you were there first? Consume, consume, consume, that seems to be all we know how to do. We shop in order to feel better about ourselves, having been brainwashed to think that stuff can fill the gaps in our lives. But let’s not forget that buying things for other people will make you feel twice as good! We attribute all kinds of value to meaningless objects that have no inherent worth-the diamond industry being one of the best examples-especially during this time of year. Here is this meaningless rock, that isn’t even that rare in the grand scheme of geology, which is somehow the most precious and sentimental of objects to be given during the holidays. Watching TV tells us that if you buy her a big rock, she will love you forever and be beautiful and you will have sweet children and a big car and a gorgeous house and a gentle dog in a nice part of town with great neighbors. And if he buys you the right rock, then you will know that life will be easy and wonderful and fulfilling for the rest of your days together.

OK, enough ranting. I am as much of a consuming zombie as the next person so I should probably stop talking. Here are some pictures I gathered today as reference images. Enjoy.

Soap Bubbles

Layered Bubbles

pollen molecules

Urine molecules

Sugar Crystals

Sugar Crystals

Gemstones

Diamonds

Cuts Diagram

Yesterdays Schedule: Slept in, straight to studio to pour rubber for mold, realized mistake and invented new mold making technique to fix it, online time, lunch duty, research, dinner, print images, back to room to edit video, read, draw, doodle and write.

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