Tuesday, August 2, 2011

July Happenings in the Studio

Since graduating from art school in December 2008, I started writing this monthly post called H.I.T.S. (Happenings In The Studio). On the first of each month I share the progress on my sculptures, art installations and my other artistic endeavors.

Besides working on several art projects I also clocked 1000 miles on my bicycle as of 12/1/10. Until moving to the San Francisco Bay Area I didn't enjoy getting around via a bicycle, and now it feels so slow walking. I LOVE my bike!

For three nights I stayed at a Zen Monastery to mainly focus my posture. I came away from there with a better awareness of when I was tensing up and slouching. More about my time there in a future post. It was the most relaxed I have ever been.

Bouncy Ball Curtain - Second Restring

One of the challenges of making interactive art, like this bouncy ball curtain that is at a friend's loft, is maintaining it. Originally I used 50 pound monofilament line to string the bouncy balls and crazy straws together. Over time the fishing line has stretched.

After consulting with some super smart people, one of which is a civil engineer, I have a new plan of attack. In a couple of weekends we are going to have a Bouncy Ball Bee and restring.

This process reminds me of the quote to seek advice before making plans. If I had picked an engineer's mind before constructing this curtain, I would of saved a lot of time. Hopefully I will remember this lesson.

Henna Ceiling Mural

The art of temporary dying floral and tribal designs on the body is called henna or mehndi, depending where in the world you are at.

I created a henna ceiling mural using a 7 foot diameter piece of paper and acrylic paint.

The blue tarp peaking under the mural shows where the ceiling light will line up.

Henna is painted to mark events in a persons life, like marriage. Last month I quit my full time picture framing job to pursue making art and freelancing as an office assistant to artists and entrepreneurs. It also marked the end of my 6 month art making sabbatical. (Check out this post to read more about the craziness that happened last month.)

I enjoy taking traditional art forms and giving them a contemporary spin, while messing with the scale and colors. In the past, I painted a henna design similar to this one around my belly button.

This is one of the few art projects that where I enjoyed all of the steps in the art making process. It helped immensely painting on the ground, versus straining my neck to paint on the ceiling. I intentionally free handed the design, because even though I can recreate hyper detail, I find it tedious and uncreative. I also like that when I do move out I can take my mural with me.

Cactus Lights for a Music Room

This is an example of a past Cactus Light I designed, knit, and wired with LEDs. This is a one foot section of a 12 foot light, which is apart of a grouping of three hanging Cactus Lights.

Tests for the current Cactus Light project, where I am looking for the best way to color glass.

I am in the design and research phase for making a version of my Cactus Lights for my sensei's music room. There will probably be two strings of these sculptural lights hanging from the 11 foot ceiling.

In the past I've made the light shades using found plastic containers, like sippy cups and vases. For this project I'm having a hard time finding larger plastic containers that are interesting shapes and vivid colors. I decided to switch over to glass vessels. This seemed like a natural transition since how the plastic lampshades are often mistaken for blown glass.

I love the research phase, running tests and playing around with "what if" questions. Working with glass brings on new design challenges, like how to drill holes into glass so I can wire the light. And which paint is vivid, opaque and yet lets enough light through, doesn't scratch, that is ideally nontoxic, not labor intensive or expensive. So far spray paint and decoupage paint over fabric are the best solutions for coloring the glass containers.

Finger Labyrinth

Photo courtesy of OpEdNews. Click to read about World Labyrinth Day.

Thanks to a meditation book that I am reading, I've fallen in love with the labyrinth all over again. I used it in my art before, like making a 5 foot in diameter wall labyrinth out of real leaves. After watching a youtube video on how to make a finger labyrinth, I busted out my play do, sculpy and paper mache.

I played around with different mold making techniques for making my own finger labyrinth. I think the fastest and most durable form would be to make one out of ceramic.

I discovered that elmer's glue poured into a relief made from unbaked sculpy makes a sturdy "rubber mold." It just takes two days for the glue to dry. From there I can then pour plaster into the elmer's glue mold to make an indented finger labyrinth.

Check out this post about a labyrinth that I walked in Berkeley, CA.

See you September 1st, for the next Happenings in the Studio. Thanks for reading.

Table of Contents for H.I.T.S. (Happenings In The Studio)

1 comment:

  1. Hey inspiring artist cousin! You just never cease to bring me joy and more joy! I love your new project. I will share with you some mandala's that my students made using 30" diameter coffee filters, silk dyes and batik wax, jaunting tools etc. Not the same idea as yours as in using the idea of Henna and the meanings of it, but then again, maybe it is similar, because Mandala's can be a focal point for meditation, or symbolic by color (mood/feeling/energy) or by symbolism etc.
    Anyway, it's late and I just found your post and I want to review it again tomorrow with fresh eyes!
    My daughter had a beautiful Henna design created on her upper back about 4 years ago, and it was beautiful!

    I also want to know what Zen Monastery you were at to focus on posture. I had a knee replacement 7 weeks ago, and surprisingly, posture is my physical therapy focus because my posture/walking and getting up/down became so distorted over time as I tried to counter the pain I was in, and am still in! LOL! old muscles are being woken up and the ones that were misused are trying to recover!
    Hugs and love from Gini :)