This past summer was filled with much research for work in progress and future things to come. Some minor break-throughs at the moment. Some finally led to major changes in translating emotions in the mind and objects i see. Two sculptures that I was fabricating early in the year became somewhat stalled by roadblocks planned last year with no procedure to jump start them other than stay the course. Summer came and zoom, i'm in the mountains playing out the process and searching for the zone that has no name. Lots of experiments with desperate elements to finally a spark of something. A slight mundane image, an another everyday shape, tweak, collage and my mind is making sense of it all, like a kit-bashed element of a De Chirico painting, inner-laid in a "Florentine cabinet of curiosity". Somehow it feels right, the emotion of how it fits. The photos transform into textures. Subtle reverse spatial dimensions.
I’ve been slowly trying to catch up on combining my journal entries from the trail and the sketch/drawings together. Often it’s hard to keep up with drawing images from the treks, and transferring the daily notes each day. I’m still pretty back logged. Today I have been working on a grouping that was from a section of the John Muir Trail in Yosemite National Park. Last year Mary and I spent a few days drawing and exploring this area below Mt. Lyell the highest peak in Yosemite. My journal that I carry, I laminate photos from the spots, I take a quick sketch on paper, and make notes of the days trek. Then by transcribing from these pages they become a combined vignette of what I saw and did during the day.
“ As we left Marie Lakes in Ansel Adams Wilderness the sun rose quickly. We got an early start to climb over Donahue Pass at 12,000 feet, and into Yosemite. Because being above timberline affords no relief from the sun, early starts are best. Only a small remnate of the once large snowfield now remains below the summit of Mt. Lyell the highest peak in Yosemite at 13114 feet. Entering Yosemite on the JMT, we get our first glimpse of Lyell Canyon from 2000 feet above. Its distinctive U-shaped valley carved by receding glaciers from the Pleistocene era some 17,000 years ago.”
Using a fine lead drawing pencil and a Generals charcoal white pencil on a medium Canson paper is my favorite choice. I like the way that the while pencil highlights the snowfields and bright granite of the landscape and the darker lead pencil shades into shadow leaving the paper as a mid-tone ground.
I'm really excited about my glue. I found some new glue that is heat activated for laminating Burl type veneers to substrates of odd shape. The glue wasn't cheap at 40 dollars a gallon. It came and I immediately tried a test out on a scrap tube. After heating up the iron, and allowing the glue to lightly dry I positioned the glued veneer onto the glued tube substrate and ironed away. It worked fabulously. Next I began on the real deal, coating the beginnings of the sculpture/book cover top and veneer, then rough cut to fit. Very exciting to have a product that worked so well and I was no free from using a very expensive vacuum press that i've been avoiding buying for years. The Veneered book cover to the scroll I want to do, came out great, not a hitch, except for burning the tip of a finger slightly on the iron. Now for the top side... The Japanese Tamo ash really has a topographic image to it, Its own intrinsic nature really translates into the context of these landscapes. After the top piece is laminated i'll begin to cut out the absent shapes of the snow fields and glaciers, then seal the veneer surface with a coat of polyurethane.
Sweet! I got my veneer,that came last week, unpacked today and its super nice. One sheet is a Tamo Ash from Japan and the other is a lot of plane sliced Redwood Burl. The veneer is quite exotic and will work well on the outside of the two new sculptures i've been slowly finding my way on. Its sort of hard to work in an away that is conducive to process when so much of the early fabrication involves thoughtful procedures. Gee this sounds like grad school. This week I should get some heat activated construction adhesive for the burl veneer so I can start veneering the outer covers to the pieces. Mary's been hard at work in her studio working on some new linocut blocks and prints. we were at artist and Craftsmen shop for some new engraving blades.
I finished the Slip Covers I was fabricating for the two book sculptures this week. After a few set backs with the poly finish, I was able to buff them out and yow, they feel great. I finished the ends of with scanned topo and shaded relief maps. I was able to find in the maps to correlate with the titles of the sculptures. One is Wilderness and the other Evolution. Now I need to finish sand all the edges and clear coat them for that Modernist appeal. Maybe i'll actually paint with color some of the inner edges of the Evolution book for more signifiers.
I decide the other day that the book that is now called Evolution needed a slip cover. The name came about sence most of the imagery came from that segment of the JMT that I hiked this summer. I started off by making the cover with a 1/4 euro-ply and veneering the inside with Topographic maps of Evolution Basin. These maps were printed with my Epson 2200 printer on Matte Hahnemuhle paper. After all the insides were finished I need to decide on an exterior veneer. Hmm... that was tough, but I came up with some fine pieces of Quarter sawn Eucalyptus. Good thing I have lots of clamps. The process has taken all week with careful glueing of all the surfaces so not to get glue on sides not meant for glue.
The book is going well but making the pages has become tedious and drawn out. Each page takes a day at least to make, thats one side of the page. Once I started to gluing down the leaves and dirt from the trail I need to press it under some heavy things like paint cans and tools. Its been hard today to get anything done Reba has been nervous keeping an eye on Luna in the shop and studio. Luna keeps wanting to eat the scraps of paper and glue on the floor... total puppy.