Sunday, September 7, 2008

Arizona Piece

My metals professor gave us an assignment to get us back to work in the studio last week as school started. It was mostly to help us get acquainted with the new grads as we worked on something together. We all had to make our own piece, but we were all given the same assignment. She gave us one week to make a piece inspired by Arizona. It should have been easy for me to do this, but seeing as I have lived in Arizona pretty much my whole life, it was actually pretty hard for me. It's all I know, so it was hard to isolate my feelings about it. I took a drive out to the desert to get myself inspired.
I collected some cactus needles and other plant materials but still didn't really know what I was going to do. The picture above is a prickly pear cactus, and the picture below is a barrel cacuts.
The little day trip was fun but I decided not to use any of the things I collected.It was a really beautiful drive though, and its always nice to get out of the city. I started to think about really old maps and how they were like works of art. Each map was hand drawn and painted. Here is an example from the 1600's (taken from here). Maps give us direction, tell us where we are going and where we have been. They mark important landmarks and show us the way. I wanted to make a map like this of my own home, or at least where I grew up, in Tucson, AZ. I found this topographical map of the area I grew up (I put a little "x" next to where my parents house is). This land is very familiar to me and is a place that I love. I decided to make a copper wall piece inspired by this landscape that is so special to me. I started out by planishing a flat piece of metal, giving it a hammered texture that starbursted out from where my house would be located on the topographical map. I wanted the marks to subtley draw the eye towards my home.I then glued the map to my metal and drilled holes along all the contour lines so I could embroider them.
Then I removed the map, covered the metal with a resist, drew in the rest of the contour lines and acid etched the lines into the metal. This etching part was kind of scary because I had like 4 gallons of acid in this bath, precariously balancing on two magnetic agitators. Probably wasn't the smartest thing ever and would have been a disaster to clean. Luckily all went well. I should have counted how many holes I drilled. It was a LOT (the panel is 11"x11").
Here are the acid etched contour lines.
Then I had to score the back of the plate so I could fold it into a wall piece that comes 1" off the wall. That is no farmers tan folks, that is just the filth that comes with grinding. The picture doesn't even come close to how dirty I actually got.
Next, I gave the plate a heat patina and started to embroider. Then I embroidered...for days, and days, and days (and am still going...)!
I am almost done...but not quite. Stay tuned for the finished piece! It will be mounted on wood and will hang on the wall as a reminder of where I come from, what made me who I am, where I can always go for peace, where my family is, and the place I will always call home.

10 comments:

Kristin said...

That is so cool, I love it! And I can completely appreciate how beautiful that area is :-)

Ashley said...

WOW!! I love the texture, you are so clever.

Larry and Karri said...

Wow - looks neat - what a cool concept! Looks like a TON of work though. Not for me. I find eating Oreos to be easier. Can't wait to see a pic of the final product.

megan said...

Lovely - can't wait to see the finished piece!

Erin T. said...

That is absolutely beautiful! So inspiring! LOVE IT!!! :)

The Young's said...

You are so creative! I would NEVER have been able to think of anything even remotely close to that. Good job! :) I wish I had some creativity in me...once in awhile.

KMJewelryStudio said...

Beautiful!

Lora ~ said...

The expanse of your creativity just continues to grow broader and broader. What a wonderful concept. I'm so excited to see the final piece. You'll get an AAAAA+ (if that's what the final goal is).

Lynette said...

Thanks everybody. You know, its funny. The pieces that Im not really sure of are always the pieces that other people like more. Makes me laugh.

Breanne said...

Wow. I love the personal meaning it holds. ... Can't wait to see the finished piece!