Saturday, April 25, 2009

Gold Fish in a Blue Ocean

The fish are swimming through my head this week. I’ve been working on a weaving project in the Creek-Love multiage classroom at Roger’s school this week. We recently completed a huge blue weaving of the ocean using recycled materials. I scoured the Recycle Center and Opportunity House for all things blue, black and weavable, and what I came up with were ties, socks, lanyards, and cords. Perfect! The kids, a little at a time, created the ocean. Then I made a compatible frame out of the recovered stretcher frames from Pygmalion’s. Of course we jazzed it up a little by gluing seashells on the face of the frame, another good class project. The kids also sketched the fish they wanted for their weaving. This meant that not only did I have to create fish out of recycled stuff, I had to meet the demanding specifications of six to eight year olds. Did I say I love a challenge?

Luckily, a school of fish appeared in my kitchen this week. I started out with soft foam from the recycle center and a pair of scissors. I’m sure this is how all the great master sculptors got their start—limestone is way overrated. Then I took thin blue Styrofoam trays—the kind that fish really come on from the store—and cut those into tails and fins that could be glued on to the fish. The whole thing turned out to be a little too soft and absorbent to paint, but the art teacher at Rogers—Jan Barnes—really helped me out. She suggested that I try using celluclay, which is finely ground paper and water. It filled in the crevices and dried to a rock-hard surface and my fish were swimming again. They’ll soon be painted and ready for release into the ocean. It’s kind of like the animal rescue missions that take in wounded animals, nurse them back to health and then release them into the wild.

If you think you’d like to see the piece when it’s done, it scheduled for display at Wonderlab from May 20 to June 30th, planned to coincide with the new water table opening. ‘Gold Fish in a Blue Ocean’ will then swim over to the John Waldron Arts Center to hang for July and August before taking up a more permanent residence in the Creek-Love classroom, the first grade home of my son Cubbie.

In other news, I dragged my scientist husband out of the lab for lunch on Friday. It was going on 80 degrees and we ate at the picnic table in the Third Street Park. It turns out we couldn’t park in our usual secret spot behind the police station and had to settle for a street spot almost a block away. Oh the horrors of the city! In any case the afternoon was the setting for an artistic epiphany (aka piffy). I’ve been trying to come up with a design for a commission piece that fuses a woman and a tree. Nothing worked for me—the face always detracts from the design. Then I was looking up at the trees as the started to bud out and realized my tree woman should be looking up! Her arms grow into the branches, her elegant neck is exposed and she reaches for the skies. It empowers her and has a feel that I really like. I’ll start that soon, but tomorrow (Sunday the 26th of April) is the Luna festival in the Showers building. I’ll be showing some of my work (and more is along the staircase leading upstairs). My friend Bonnie Gordon-Lucas will be there too, so we’ll have fun no matter what.

Until next week…

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