Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Olive Jar

My wife and I have a cocktail each evening before dinner.  I prefer a tall gin and tonic while JoAnn favors martinis.  Ice cubes and a slice of lime makes my day end complete.  JoAnn likes crushed ice and two large green olives.  She calls it her martini slush.  One drink  per night adds up, if calculated for over 30+ years we have been married, resulting in many olives and quite a few olive jars.  As you no doubt have guessed, this has to do with the title of this post. 

With the creation of a new vessel series, “empty/promises (e/p), I have been saving empty bottles, jars and other assorted containers to use as the container I build the vessel around.  Several earlier posts have shown examples of this and my web site, has a gallery devoted to these pieces, showing the evolution of the vessels. My next vessel will be built around an empty olive jar using olive wood segments.  It is just beginning as shown in the photo above.  The fiberglass mat wrapped around the glass jar, is ready to be coated with resin.  You will also note several jars in this photo, all olive jars of various sizes.  I am working out the details of a new series within my series. These completely straight sided jars make it possible to cover the exterior with vertical strips of wood.  The strips can be interrupted in a random pattern to allow pockets for some special stones, tile or whatever fits the mood of the design.

To help visualize what has just been described verbally, a sketch of this idea is shown above.  It is helpful to do this step before starting the project.  Problems that arise can be though through and resolved before the production gets under way.  As each vessel is completed I will share an image and further detail in a post.   This current post presents some of the thought and planning that precedes the creation of this art and I hope this information has been of some interest to you. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Monitor vs.Merrimac

For those of you who know your Civil War history you will recognize these two names as those given to early versions of ironclad ships.  The USS Monitor was built by the Union navy and the Merrimack was a make-over of a wood hulled steam ship by the Confederates.  They met in battle on March 9, 1862, and after four hours of fighting, neither ironclad seriously damaged the other.  On may 11, 1862 the Merrimack was ordered to be blown up to keep it out of the Union hands.  Some time later the Monitor sank 15 miles south of Cape Hatteras while being towed during a storm.  This ended the historic battle of the ironclads and marked the beginning for new designed war ships.

My art piece focuses on the change created by these two prototypes but does'n try to mimic their shapes or battle equipment.  The ironclad concept, which was such a revolutionary idea, (pardon the pun) has been simulated in my piece by mixing iron filings in the resin that covers the hull. That will be the extent of my critique of the design I have chosen, leaving other facets for you to ponder.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Dribs and Drabs

The title for this post comes from an expression I have heard used occasionally when describing the presentation of information in "bits and pieces".  Maybe bits and pieces would be a more recognized phrase but I liked the dictionary definition of "drib" to introduce my thoughts in this post.  Even better, why not combine the best of each phrase to label my current topic, wallah!  "Dribs and bits".  Rather than coining a new phrase I should move on and share my thoughts with you.

When creating art using resin, often more is mixed than needed for the job.  My general practice has been to pour this excess into a pill bottle.  The next excess resin is poured on top and so on until the pill bottle is full of cured resin.  To add interest to this resin filled container,in addition to the variation that may occur in color, also bits of resin collected from the work area drip sheet are saved and added to the mix as the pill bottle is filled.

This is far from art by design, but surprises often emerge when the tubes of cured resin are sawed into disks much like cutting up carrots to cook (see photo above).  These disks can be used in numerous ways to adorn an art object.  Now that their origin  has been explained here is an examples of how these resin disks or orbs have been used.

"Mosaic Tower"

 This vessel has a square bottle inside so it can be used to hold liquid.  A long stem rose will turn mosaic tower into a vase or a dry arrangement can be used.  This is a recently produced piece in my e/p series.  Other e/p vessels can be seen on my web site ( in the gallery, so designated.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Finished At Last

Have you heard  the old tale about a race between a rabbit and turtle?  Of course the rabbit (or hare) was much faster and left the turtle (or tortoise) in the dust.  The hare was careless and with his big lead took side trips and got involved with other amusements.  On the other hand the tortoise kept plugging along and eventually crossed the finish line with the hare nowhere to be seen.  When the hare remembered the contest he sped to the end of the race to finish second.  The moral of the story is to be a winner, keep your eye on the end goal and don't become distracted by other factors.

I just finished this art piece which I call "Butcher Block Tortoise".  The shell is made of 3/4 inch Oak pieces, glued together with the grain running vertically.  This is the way butcher blocks for kitchens or meat markets are made, hence the name for my tortoise.  I started this piece while living in Wenatchee, Washington and it has moved with us many times over the last thirty plus years.  I have decided to finish up several projects of this nature.  The under-frame for this piece was arc welded and built up when I could use this form of welding.  My pace maker now limits me being around such activity.

Several conclusions could be associated with the Hare/Tortoise story in the first paragraph.  This tortoise took a long time getting to the finish line, and typical of the hare, I got distracted by the many things that came along in my life until I realized the need to race to the goal line with this project.  It feels good to have it finished.  Have a good day and check for tortoise among your accomplishments.