Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Art a Day Installation Grid and Mixed Media Bulbs

Mixed Media Bulbs

"Abstract" bulb with flower decoration, finished with underglaze colors, clear  gloss medium, and mixed media attachments.

I will be delivering both of my "abstract" and "politics" bulb sets of bulbs to Columbia Center for the Arts in Hood River tomorrow for their Art a Day exhibition opening in August. I finished up the glazing for these pieces last weekend and this week I have been finishing up the non-ceramic attachments for some of the pieces. 

Bulb in the process of having bike parts attached with epoxy

Out of 60 total pieces, about 20 have some element added on afterwards. In most cases the mixed media attachments are epoxied on after firing, in some cases the additions are tied or wrapped, as in the knitted cover that I made for one of the "abstract" bulbs. 

knit bulb

I had three pieces that came out of the last firing with incomplete glaze coverage. Since the pieces are not meant to be used for food or drink, I decided to coat them with a clear gloss medium--basically acrylic paint with no color. 

"abstract" bulbs with glitter paint

When I reached into my stash of paint bottles, I found a glitter paint that I must have inherited, but never used. I decided to give two of the "abstract" bulbs a contrasting texture of glitter gloss medium. It feels fairly silly to use glitter paint, but also an interesting texture.

Installation Grid

initial plans for installation spacing

I will not be able to install the work myself, so I also spent some time this week making a new paper grid to be used by the gallery staff who will be installing for me. I already have a paper grid for an installation of 100 bulbs, but this time around I am installing two separate grids of 30 each in the same 8' wall space. Additionally, my existing paper grid is confusing, with extra marks, mistakes, and triangles that need to be fitted together when putting the three separate pages on the wall. The existing grid only needs to be read by me, but the new one needs to be clear to other installers.

most of the "abstract" bulbs in place, with one "political" bulb to the right

Yesterday, with the temperatures in the 90s and above, I wanted to finish the grid in the morning. I laid out an 8' roll of paper on the back patio, arranged the bulbs on the paper to get a sense of the size and placement, and got out several tape measures and L-square rulers to measure and draw out my grid straight and even. My goal was to make the paper as clean and clear as possible so that the gallery staff only need to level the paper, tape it to the wall, and mark the holes. I was able to keep the paper mostly clear of extraneous pencil and ink marks, but I wasn't able to keep the cats from walking across the paper with dusty paws.

"abstract" hand bulb (I strayed away from the original idea of abstraction in these bulbs, but "no specific political message or story" bulbs sounds awkward).

The two sets of bulbs will each be arranged in grids of 5 bulbs wide by 6 bulbs high. As my paper wasn't quite large enough, I had to add paper sections to the bottom of the roll to make a large enough space. I marked the grid in pencil and marked the holes in marker with each hole mark circled for clarity. In the past when I have used the paper grid to install, I just drilled the holes directly through the paper. The gallery staff can do the same or they can mark each spot through the paper, then take the paper down to put up the hooks.

I hope the kitten wiped her paws before walking on my photo backdrop

While I was making the grid, I also took some decent photographs of the 57 bulbs that were finished at that point (two are still being epoxied together right now). I used my old photo backdrop on the ground and my phone camera rather than setting up my table, vinyl backdrop and tripod, but the results are fine and the best I care to achieve on my timeline. Theses photos at least do not have epoxy and other detritus in the background.

I think there are nearly 100 toothpick pieces epoxied into this bulbs. What was I thinking?

Today I will finish up the packing and the epoxy on the last two pieces, then I will deliver the work tomorrow. I also need to write about my process. I have blog posts and notes that I've written throughout the process, but nothing ready to present in a gallery, yet. I'm hoping that motivation to write will show up soon, otherwise I'll just have to set a timer, tie myself to my desk chair and force myself to begin. 

Trayvon Martin bulb; Martin had purchased skittles and Arizona before he was chased and killed. 

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