Monday, June 13, 2016

Giant Block

On the stairs, keeping an eye on
 the block- Junior, faithful
assistant throughout the
 entire process.
A very busy week in Artlandia! So...for a few weeks, I've been working on a 2 x 4 ft MDF block to print with Big Ink.  The work has been progressing steadily, but it is the first MDF block I've carved as well as the first block of this scale, and [surprise!] I underestimated the carving time (doh.)

A memento from the moment the block was finished
The printing date was fast approaching, and the block wasn't quite finished (eep). One thing about this particular relief carving is that any unfinished sections would have been obvious in the print (- people are going to notice the difference between a branch vs. an uncarved section where a branch should be ;)), but there really is no "rushing" carving (or, at least, the past has shown me that it's not a good idea). About 3 days before the deadline, I went into triage mode and dropped all other projects to focus exclusively on this, carving as many hours a day as I was physically able...and about an hour before I needed to pack up, voila! (haha.)
...Just in time to get a phone call that the event has been postponed due to weather (bummed, of course, but a call I totally support - can't have people working on metal equipment with any chance of lightning, and rain is the bane of all works on paper). I was looking forward to meeting and working with the other artists, printing on the new custom press and, of course! seeing the print this block would produce, but I have faith that it will come together down the road.  

On the down side...the chance of having a print from this block in time to take with me to the show in Georgia is now 0.  I feel badly about this because the concept for that show is a fantastical landscape, and it would have been a good addition. There is plenty of other work for the show so it's really not a problem, but about 9 months ago, when I set out goals for what I wanted to do/make for the show, there were 4 things: a full scale figure, a wing, a unicorn, a tree... and it hurts a little that I got close, so, so close... 

I told myself, that I could simplify the borders to get it done on time...(haha).

but with these, because I was up against the clock, I
 can say for sure that each one took about 2 hours
to carve. There are 4 (doh.)
But I couldn't bring myself to edit out these
(totally superfluous) designs.
Usually,  I have no idea how
long a particular thing took to carve...

One tricky thing was keeping track of what branches are in front of others (imagining
how it works along a z-axis and trying to show that).
A picture that does better than all my words to explain why rushing  is a no go - carving the edges of that tracery - o my. 

This is one of my favorites
- from the tomb of  Eleanor de Bohun,
1399, in Westminster Abbey
The Nuremberg Chronicles and other 15th and 16th century Northern European prints are a big source of inspiration for me, but as I was working on this, the shape and format also reminded me of brass rubbings from Medieval British tombs.  I found a good book of them that I love love (Catalogue of Rubbings of Brasses and Incised Slabs by Muriel Clayton for the Victoria and Albert Museum).  Not only do I like the way they look, but I also like the way the art is diffused between different iterations - there's the brass relief sculpture, and the rubbing - it's designed to lead to more than one type of art-result [hmmmmmm.]                                                                     

So... once I got word that printing the large block is on hold for now, I needed to immediately pivot and address the other landscape elements for the show so that the Magical Land of No is not completely without vegetation, haha.

I went full steam ahead on the in process plants.

Close, Closer, Closest:

This is a neon green that that camera just says "no" to capturing - between the neon colors, the metallics in the ink and thread, and the scale with layers of detail, these have to be close to the least camera-friendly things I've ever made (Eep.)
This is on the floor because I don't have enough wall space for it (doh.) I decided to go with three sections so that I can pack them up for transport.  I changed the thread color to make the stitches stand out a little less, but kept the silver thread for sewing on the flowers.

This shows the way the screening around the paper is semi-transparent to help the transition from the landscape to the wall
I think the marbling in the flowers turned out subtle, but lovely :).

In non-art news, my little Honeybear continues to grow! Look how fluffy her tail is getting :). She loves "researching" vegetation with me.  
Favorite (non-color corrected!) flowers of the week - Dianthus, Petunia, Delphinium, more Petunias, Calibrachoa

Tempus Fugit!