Day 4

A bit of an art fail today.

I was looking at this area outside:

And I have in mind something like this:

In case it’s not obvious (!) that would be thread and eggs stretched between the two posts.

Unfortunately, I misjudged the distance between the posts and ran short of thread as the rolls I had weren’t actually the full 110 yards.  Whoops.  So, as I was down there anyway on this cold day (-15 with wind chill), with my eggs and thread (I’m using real eggs, blown out, as then I can thread through them), I tried to use these other two posts which are closer together:

But it didn’t really work so well (you can just make out the egg in the top photo if you enlarge it).  I was a bit discouraged, and cold, so I guess you could say I didn’t really give it my full creative energy.  I left it set up down there and will revisit this another day – with full spools of thread.

Tomorrow is supposed to be pretty miserable – they’re calling it a ‘messy mix’ on the weather report (whatever that is, but it can’t be good) – so I might start some filming, perhaps just from the comfort of my little farmhouse.

Day 3

Not a whole lot to report creative-wise today.  My rubber mold for the eggs started leaking, so that was a bit of a crisis for a bit.  It’s tied together with rubber inner tubes and I think they’re just getting looser.  Plaster was just running right out the bottom.  This is what it looks like (post-crisis):

Anyway, after some panicked Face-booking with my friend Len (whose technical knowledge about sculpture and a crapload of other subjects is second to none) she basically shamed me into figuring it out by reminding me that I am an ARTIST – therefore creative problem solving is what I am supposed to be good at.  Right?  Right.  Ok.

I tried plasticine, which (duh) doesn’t stick to rubber, but then realized that sometimes the solution is right there in the problem.  So I used plaster to seal up the seam.  Success!  And yes, I felt pretty pleased with myself.  At least, it seems to be working so far…

The rest of the day was spent working in the office here as I’m on a part work-exchange.  I’m helping to organize their big fundraising event in March, which is actually pretty fun (so far!).  It’s going to be a Cuban-themed event (pre-Castro – natch), so I spent a large portion of my time on the phone trying to get various chocolate manufacturers to donate chocolate cigars – as you do.

So, art making itself took a bit of a backseat, but here’s what I’ve got today:

This is what happened when I was (mistakenly) trying to solve the leaking problem by making the plaster mixture thicker.  I like how it’s sort of egg and sperm like (though the thing on the right is a bit like an organ or brain).  It’s very similar to an early mistake that I did have in my studio a few months ago:

(sorry for the dark photos – too tired to fix them right now)

But now that I’ve done it twice, I feel more legitimate in maybe using them as sculpture or a multiple (yet each one would be unique).  As in, it wasn’t just a one-off fluke and now I know just the right amount of ‘wrong’ to make it happen again.

Of course, anything you put in that oak case (bought at auction) looks fabulous.  Like my friend Powell of P|M Gallery said, you could just put your lunch in there and feel like you made awesome art.  Too right.  Maybe I should have brought  the case with me…

Day 2

I call this one ‘Daunting’:

Oh, kidding (sort of).  This is just the layout in my studio of the proposed prayer rug to be filled with eggs.  Obviously, I’ve got a lot more to make!  I need 408 in total.  I think I can make around 20-25 a day, so just making the eggs is going to take 16-20 days.  So I do have time – just.

Today I woke up to snow – horray!  I’m excited because a lot of my ideas revolve around snow and ice, particularly the video plans.  So I went for a walk this morning and snapped some pictures.  Here’s a little glimpse of where I am:

view from my studio

distant view of the Bay of Fundy

I started snapping some foliage…

and then brought some back to the studio – pretty unusual for me.

So art work day 2 – my experiments photographing plants in the studio:

I like the idea of maybe using shadows as a way of projecting a reference to the landscape on the egg surface.  Once I finish the eggs of course – back to casting….

Day 1

Ok, here we go.  Two pieces today cause I’m such a rockstar…

Actually, the first piece some folks will call me out on as it already made an appearance in my studio at NSCAD, but I’ve put it up in my studio here to get me started:

Basically, it’s an egg with thread through it.  I think it’s the start of something, though I’m not sure yet exactly what that might be.  I probably need more of them in order to decide.  I had thought a while ago of making an abacus, using eggs as beads, but as I didn’t have anything I really wanted to count, I abandoned the idea.

Ok, continuing with the egg theme…

I’ve been casting eggs in plaster in preparation for this residency – though I don’t have nearly as many as I should as I went off the project a bit as I was sick of talking about pregnancy and that’s all anyone can talk about when a pregnant woman works with eggs.  Understandable I guess, but really, if I look at my sketchbooks from 3 years ago and the ideas are still there when I was very much not pregnant.

Now, I’m just like, screw y’all, I’m working with eggs, and if it’s about pregnancy, well so be it.  Well, sometimes I am – again, nothing is resolved yet (I didn’t call this blog ‘a work of resolved art every day’ – for good reason) – but I falter regularly and then go off and drag a life raft around or something…

Ok, so really the larger project I have in mind uses eggs more for how they represent fragility, and the cycle of life.  Specifically, I’ve been thinking about my Persian background through my paternal grandmother.  This might actually be linked to pregnancy, as I think there’s something about starting your own family that makes you consider your background in a new light, while at the same time realizing that any tenuous link you have to another culture is just about to become even further removed.

In any case, the main project (and my residency proposal) involves making a Persian prayer rug out of approximately 400 eggs and using the surface for video projection.  Obviously I don’t really know if this is going to work until I actually do it as there’s lots of variables, including, for a start, being able to cast enough eggs in time.  There’s also other questions: ‘will it look like a rug?’ (referencing through the mihrab shape – the point towards Mecca – should help, but we’ll see); ‘what will be projected?’ (a video has to be made, something about being Canadian – probably involving the landscape, possibly snow); ‘how will it physically stay together?’ (magnets?  on the wall, the floor?) – and of course the larger, unspoken question that all artists face alone, in the dark: ‘is this just a shitty idea?’

Well, just in case it is, one must continue working on other things until the day of reckoning right?  So, as part of the idea revolves around being Iranian/Persian, but not really being Iranian/Persian, language seems to me to be of crucial importance.  I don’t speak Farsi, I don’t understand Farsi – nothing.  I remember my grandmother trying to teach me when I was around 10 years old and being profoundly uninterested.  Oh to go back in time and smack myself!  So I’ve brought my ‘Intro to Colloquial Persian’ book and tape – yes, tape, this is how long ago I thought it would be a good idea to learn – and then of course did nothing about it.

Anyway, to make a long rambling entry, short(er), I just experimented today with trying to carve letters from the Persian alphabet into a plaster egg.  I stupidly left any useful carving tools at home, so I just scratched it in with an unfolded paperclip, but I just wanted to see if the idea had ‘legs’, so to speak.  I think it might.  But of course the text doesn’t mean anything to me, and is probably nonsensical anyway (Persian letters change their shape according to the position they occupy in the word – which is interesting in itself), so there’s lots more to pursue.  I also need to find a tape player…