Saturday, July 31, 2010

Etching & New Inspiration

Since mid-May I've been beginning a body of work for my upcoming November solo show at Patricia Rovzar Gallery in downtown Seattle. It is always a challenge for me to create 20+ pieces that somehow feel like new ground and keep the creative fires hyped up and burning.

It seems that I have several very strong sources of inspiration for this new body of work. First off, I took a class with Larry Calkins ( a WONDERFUL instructor) at Pratt Fine Arts Center in Seattle back in late March. It was a wire sculpture class that I thoroughly enjoyed. I have always loved the linear quality of wire and the way that an open 'container' can be made that I can then place something inside of. This fits in perfectly with my desire to explore internal/emotional qualities that can be found inside of us humans. Also in this class I learned that I can use brass rod to braze copper to steel. A bit of a break through for me since I always presumed that it wasn't possible.

The second big inspiration is Mariko Kusumoto (you can find her work at ). This amazing artist has actually been inspiring me for years, but I decided back in May that her use of etched metal pattern and imagery on her metal surfaces was an element that I wanted to bring to my work in a much larger way. In the past I have used enamel almost exclusively to bring imagery to the copper surfaces of my sculpture, so this is a bit of a departure. I also like the idea of working with the muted palette of copper, nickel-silver and brass as a main focus and then bringing in some color with small amounts of enamel.

The third inspiration is Keith Lo Bue ( ). I know I'm hardly alone with him as an inspiration source, but the man is amazing in how he fearlessly puts together all kinds of 'stuff'. And he always shares the process on his blog. His design sense, his playfulness, and his tenacity in exploring new materials and pushing himself are what I find delightful.

One of the first pieces that I've done below is titled "Relishing Her Late Bloom".

I've got a little bit of everything going on in this piece (what's new?).  The wire skirt has leaves and a lotus bloom fabricated out of copper, there's a small amount of enamel at the top of the skirt with the Venus sign on it, and the separate piece above her has etched brass imagery of the seasons, sun and moon. Off to either side of the etched brass imagery are smaller circles containing good luck talismans. Those, too, have been etched (in copper) that has then been enameled with a transparent enamel. The whole piece mounts off the wall about 3-9", with the skirt area sticking out the farthest, so there are quite a few cast shadows when it's lit with a spot light.

I am really enjoying the etched surfaces and looking forward to exploring this path further!