Friday, August 25, 2017

Between trips!

(Above:  Having a conversation with a real, live raven at Ponderosa Overlook in Bryce Canyon National Park.  Click on any image in this blog post to enlarge.)

My husband Steve snapped this photo earlier today (and several others as the bird was quite cooperative) at Ponderosa Canyon Overlook in Bryce Canyon National Park.  We are currently in the midst of a fabulous trip to National Parks in Southern Utah and Northern Arizona.  This trip was planned months and months ago ... long before we decided to cash in frequent flier miles for an earlier trip to England and France.  Anyone regularly reading my blog knows that we recently traveled to The Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, England.  We delivered my piece, Saint Anastasia, for Through Our Hands' special portrait exhibition.  We took the ferry from Dover to France.  It was a dream-come-true but it was also very, very close to this originally planned western trip ... another dream-come-true trip to Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and the northern rim of the Grand Canyon.

 (Above:  Steve and me at Bryce Canyon National Park.)

We had less than a week back in Columbia.  We had plenty of custom picture framing to do for waiting clients.  Plus, I had the finishing details of my upcoming solo show at Waterworks Visual Arts Center to accomplish.  What I didn't have time to do was blog much.  So, this post isn't actually about our current trip ...

... even though we are staying in a most charming, original homesteader's cabin in Cane Beds, Arizona (obviously modernized and with WiFi for blogging!)  This post is a "catch up" entry!  It is an account of three very important things that I accomplished BETWEEN the trips!

First up is THE COMET!  For the last couple of months I've been working toward an installation of celestial orbs for the 24' back wall in my solo show for Waterworks Visual Arts Center in Salisbury, North Carolina.  Almost everything was finished before we headed to England and France.  The only thing I had to do upon my return was to pour epoxy over the fiber comet I made weeks ago.  This is an involved process.  First, I had to apply GAC 400, a fabric stiffener, to both the back ...

... and the front of the fiber comet.  I also had to pour epoxy over the circular "comet dust" (seen on the far left).  The fabric stiffener acts to seal the otherwise porous nature of fabric.  I applied one coat to the reverse and two coats to the front.

GAC 400 looks milky when applied but dries to a perfectly clear finish.

Next, I cut 2-ply metallic foil mat board to the reverse of the comet.  This was glued in place with "hot glue".

Next, I had to determine the size of two frames for the reverse.  These frames are very, very important ... for two reasons.

Here are the two frames glued to the reverse ... under weight.  Lengths of the same picture framing moulding were glued down the center of the three "tail" sections ... all under weight.

Why are these frames important?  Well first, I attached two wires to the frames.  These wires allow the comet to be hung using ordinary hooks-and-nails.  Why two wires?  Well ... I don't want the comet to be dislodged when hanging on the gallery wall.  What would happen if an absent-minded visitor accidentally backed up into the comet if it was only hung by a single nail?  Two nails work best.  Yet, the comet isn't a uniform shape and its weight isn't distributed evenly from right to left.  I had to use two different hanging wires  ...

... for it to hang properly on a wall.  Once this was figured out, it was time to pour epoxy!  That fact is the second reason for the two frames attached to the reverse.

Epoxy spreads out and over the surface onto which it is poured.  Epoxy is very, very sticky!  I needed my fabric comet to sit slightly over the plastic covered table.  Excess epoxy ran over the edges but did not adhere the comet to the plastic ... because the comet was alleviated.  So ... here I am in our framing garage.  The table is covered in plastic.  I'm in my tyvek suit, ventilator, and plastic gloves.  The epoxy is mixed ...

.... and poured ... and spread ... over the comet.  The comet dust pieces were coated too.  Please notice the birds nest on the piece of antique upholstery on the table.  I thought I might have enough excess epoxy to apply to the birds nest.  I'd already applied a few coats of GAC 400 ... but I didn't have any excess epoxy.  The bird's nest will have to wait for another day.

This shows a detail of the comet ... coated in epoxy.

Here I am using a propane torch.  The propane torch forces air bubbles in the epoxy to raise and burst ... leaving a crystal clear, shiny epoxy coating.


The comet is stiff, shiny, and hangs perfectly on the wall.  All this was accomplished before Monday.  It had to be done.  Why?  Well, the comet is part of my celestial installation for Waterworks Visual Arts Center in Salisbury, North Carolina.  The show was scheduled to be delivered on Tuesday.  Steve and I delivered the show during the afternoon, drove to a cheap hotel outside the Charlotte Airport, and took a very early morning Wednesday flight "out west".  Yet, this wasn't all that had to be done for the solo show.

(Above:  My newest, large Stained Glass Fiber piece.  Framed:  63 x 23". $1200.)

I drew up diagrams for all four gallery walls that are part of my solo show.  My plan included FIVE large Stained Glass pieces.  I only had four on hand.  Thus, I knew that my time between the two trips was going to require me to "pour epoxy" over the comet and its dust AND create a new, large Stained Glass fiber piece.  This is it.

 (Above:  Lunette XXVIII.  Framed 22" x 28". $495.)

So ... the time between my trip aboard and my trip "out west" was planned well in advance.  I had to pour epoxy and create a Large Stained Glass fiber piece.  Then, something unexpected occurred.

My diagram had been "set in stone" weeks and weeks ago.  In order to know which pieces were going to the solo show, I put "red dots" on them.  Accidentally, I didn't put a red dot on one of my Lunettes.  Iago Gallery in Blowing Rock requested additional work ... including a Lunette.  I gave the Lunette to Iago Gallery.  It sold within days.  I didn't have another Lunette.  So ... I had no choice.  Over the weekend I worked and worked ... and created Lunette XXVIII for my solo show.  That's one of the main reasons I didn't get to blog any of this before departing for Utah/Arizona.  It was a problem, but it was a "good problem" and it was solved!

I promise to blog about the amazing time Steve and I are having ASAP!  We've hiked "The Narrows" at Zion (which is to say we sloshed nearly three miles upstream ... literally IN THE WATER ... between the canyon walls at Zion National Park.  Today we took the most popular three mile loop at Bryce National Park ... a place I've wanted to visit since seeing my Grandpa Baker's 1961 slides of this magical location.  Tomorrow is the northern rim of the Grand Canyon!  Can't wait!

I am linking this post to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays", a site for sharing fiber arts. 


Julie Bagamary said...


Marianne said...

Quel bel été avec tous ces beaux voyages, moi j'ai adoré les parcs de l'Utah et de l'Arizona sans compter que j'aime aller au FOQ:)))

susan hemann said...