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...

Week 30 of 48 (7 Months!)

August 30, 2010

Another month come and gone. Another set of residents come and gone and come again. September looks like it will be jam packed with two amazing poets, Carl Phillips and Adam Zagajewski, the Literature in Translation forum and the usual mix of visiting artists. It should be a busy but good month. In the studio world, things have been a little slow of late. Ever since the show came down, progress on the next project has been much slower than I anticipated, but I suppose I have to cut myself a little slack sometime. It’s pretty unrealistic to expect everything to blast forward all the time—I really want to think through some of what I’m doing before diving in head first so there has been a lot more thinking and a lot less doing than usual. Still, being ridiculously task oriented means it’s hard to accept that sometimes visible progress is slow if a lot is going on in the brain. With only four months left, there is no doubt I am trying to cram too much into my time here and throwing myself into a panic as a result. Goals before I leave (some of them may have to be adjusted… I do work a nearly full time job!):

Assemble another show of new work for the end of November—includes conceptualizing and then making everything…

Teach myself aesthetics—all the basics of continental and analytic from the 18th century forward, then readings that apply specifically to visual art and sculpture, then some of the new work in cognitive/neuroscience as it applies to aesthetics, then some feminist critical theory…

Redo my website—not a redesign, but definitely a restructuring. Mostly this will involve transferring it from flash to html…

Research graduate programs—would like to apply this year just to get a read on how people react though I am not necessarily sold on actually going somewhere yet. Since applying will have to happen right at the new year, when I’m in the middle of moving, I should probably have a good start on the applications themselves before I leave…

So yeah! That doesnt sound so bad, right? Yikes. Anyways, I’m still not ready to say anything about the new project(s) so for now, more post-senescence images:

the last of the candy on the panels—did some interesting cracking

which is odd since that means it's both gooey and brittle hard at the same time—reminds me of Brakhage film and makes me want to shoot some video

beautiful puddles of multi-colored melty goo on the floor

close up of beautiful messy goo

unrelated to sweet senescence, but these guys are STILL around!

They are now 7 months old and looking a little worse for wear, but somehow they have not been reduced to a puddle like everything else... very strange...

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