Week 45 of 48

December 13, 2010

One more week of residents on campus, then two weeks of break before the next session comes and 2011 begins. Part of me wishes I was staying for more of the break so I could enjoy resident free studio time, but I also can’t wait to get out of here for my longest break from this place yet…

The suit of armor is almost done after working way too hard on it the last couple weeks. It won’t be totally finished until the weekend, but here is a shot when it was about half completed… I actually like it more with some parts missing so I may play around with which parts to include and which to leave out.

I also had an incredible studio visit with Ed Smith this weekend. He yelled at me for thinking I’m not ready to show and adamantly insisted that I show the piece in the city as soon as possible. Like. Now. It reminded me of my first ever studio visit with Sheila Pepe a year ago, which really confirmed my decision to pursue fine art as a career. Ed was my last studio visit of the year and a great way to end 2010. So, once I have some good photos of the armor and grad apps and the website are done, I can focus my admin work on submitting it to as many places in the city as possible until someone agrees to show it. Although the rock candy is stronger than most of my work to date, it still has a limited lifespan and I can’t imagine it lasting more than a couple years. All the more reason to show it within the next year if I’m going to show it at all…

half the plates assembled and ready to go...

plates for more layers to the skirt

figuring out skirt layers

miscellaneous detritus that I can never bring myself to throw away...

Week 42 of 48 (10 Months!)

November 23, 2010

10 months down! 1 until the new year, then 3 more in 2011 before I’m off to NYC! I am so ready to go but also looking forward to having those extra months to pull a new body of work together, another show and then packing it all up to move on. For the month of December, the number one focus will be pulling the suit of armor together, as well as some other odds and ends around studio, in order to photograph it and add it to my portfolio before MFA applications are due in January. I spent part of the week drafting a new artist statement, which I always dread, and will be focusing on that as well as the website for the next week or so. I’m using the Thanksgiving holiday as a “stay-cation” to crank some work out in studio that’s been stressing me out of late so I’m really looking forward to having almost a full week of uninterrupted studio time. Anyways, enough miscellaneous talk, here’s some pictures!

arm guards after a week or two of growth

pink knits growing in a green tank

green crystals growing on the side of the tank

Week 38 of 48 (9 months!)

October 25, 2010

Before leaving town for Denver, my goal was to have as many pieces of the armor submerged in solution as I had sugar for. I received another 150lb sugar donation and converted it all to rock candy solution within a week. Unfortunately, I grossly underestimated how much sugar it would take to fill the fish tanks (nearly 100lbs for a 10 gallon tank!) so I didn’t end up with as much as I needed. If anyone wants to make a sugar donation, let me know! Its about $1/pound… Nevertheless, I managed to fit all the pieces in the tanks except one leg. Here’s a step by step sample of how this is working.

first the dress form and arm/leg I carved are fitted with various armor pieces mocked up in cardboard

the knit is then stiffened over the form into the correct compound curves and shapes

here is one of the dried pieces just so you can see how it will eventually fit the body

to maximize tank space and sugar solution, I've been packing as many pieces in each tank as I can possibly fit

layers submerged and growing...

Week 37 of 48

October 18, 2010

After taking a couple weeks off, I’m back! I spent a week working and playing way too hard and ended up making myself sick just in time for my trip to Denver. This meant I barely reached my goal in terms of what I wanted set up before leaving, but despite the sick haze, I scraped by with the bare minimum. Then I took a whole week off (for the first time all year!) for my cousin’s wedding and spent a ton of time with a lot of my extended family. It was a great little vacation, but now it’s time to get back to work… Unfortunately, I came back to some pretty gross stuff—I’ll share the good studio stuff next week, but for now, the gross:

Mold! This experimental tank of brown sugar solution didn't work very well in terms of crystal formation—instead it grew a layer of mold!

when I drained the solution out to clean the tank, the mold stuck to the knit

and the sides of the tank... it was actually hard to clean off!

If you follow my twitter feed, you'll know I found a mouse in my studio the weekend before I left

—it managed to escape death by candy, but apparently it came back and brought a friend while I was gone...

this time they were not so lucky 😦

Needless to say, I spent my first 12 hours back in studio cleaning up the candy death trap…

Week 34 of 48 (8 Months!)

September 27, 2010

As anticipated, September was actually a pretty great month. Carl Phillips came out dancing one night at The Hub, Adam Zagajewski was unbelievably generous, sweet, humble and funny (and gave TWO bi-lingual readings!), I received 150 lb. sugar donation (though of course now I realize I need more) and finished three proposals, and Bruce Gagnier and Rosemarie Fiore were both wonderful visiting sculptors who were very encouraging of the new work. I was shocked and honored when Rosemarie bought one of the rock candy experiments—her decision to purchase a piece and her encouragement in general really lit a fire under my ass to have something great done before I leave. Ever since, I’ve been unrelentingly getting back into the 40 hr./week studio practice in spite of the 30 hr./week office job and am looking forward to blowing this place out of the water once again. The studio has gotten a little out of control as I work on several different parts of the process in many different materials at the same time… I need more space!

The studio this weekend...

Things that are happening in here:

lace-knitting and blocking; dipping knits in solution and hardening over a form; loops and other forms hardening; various types of knits and loops growing crystals in fish tanks; sugar solution being cooked on the stove; insulation foam blocked up for carving more forms; plasticine for modeling forms to make new molds; fabric armor mock-ups; cardboard armor mock-ups and probably even more that I can’t think of at the moment. The image is also missing the wall with armor reference images and past rock candy experiments.

And just for fun:

A miscellaneous rock candy accident/experiment—about 12 or 14 inches in diameter of solid rock candy

I call it sugar lick since it reminds me of salt licks for rodents, deer and other animals...

Week 33 of 48

September 20, 2010

I’m finally ready to share the next project. I’ve been focusing on rock candy and learning how to control the forms that it grows in. I can’t control the crystals themselves, except for when to take them out of the solution, but I’ve found that I can control the overall form by stiffening the knit first. I didn’t want to stiffen it with starch or any other product that is not sugar related, but after some experimentation, I figured out how to do it with the sugar solution itself. I’m skipping a set of experiments that came before this to get to the real meat of what I’m working on now. I’ve been lace-knitting large swathes of fabric using patterns I’ve created loosely based on a suit of armor. Once the piece is knit, I harden it over a dress form when necessary to gain the correct compound curves. In some ways, I think growing the suit of armor out of rock candy is as much an exercise in seeing what I can make the candy do as it is an object in its own right. I would like to eventually work a little more abstractly, but for now this is a good starting point. It will force me to learn how to assemble large pieces of candy together (and of course how to grow it), how to display the piece when it’s finished, and how different types of holes and knits will effect the overall composition. So without further ado…

the lace-knit piece, hardened over a dress form in the shape of half a breast plate

the same piece submerged in a fish tank of solution

the same piece submerged in a fish tank of solution

a close-up of the piece starting to grow crystals from the bottom up—where the denser solution sits

the second half of the breast plate, ready to be submerged

I tried this with cheese cloth as well but the thread is too fine to hold its shape once it's submerged—I love the way it looked though...

Week 32 of 48

September 13, 2010

Remember waaaay back when I talked about some collages I had started? Time to share a few of them! I haven’t done them in several months, but picked them up again in recent weeks and showed them to one of the visiting artists for the first time. In case you forgot, I was cutting pieces out of Time and Vogue magazines back in April. Here are a few of the resulting collages.

the only rule is that each must contain at least one image from Vogue and one image from Time

so far they have evolved to come in these two forms

I am trying to fill a sketchbook with them

I'm nowhere close to being half way through the book, so I better get working!

Hopefully there will be many more of these to come

please pardon the bad lighting in these photos...

Oh, and the home studio I built where all of this collaging is happening

and hopefully more drawing too...

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