Monday, November 5, 2012



One of the pieces I wanted to make for the LOST AND FOUND show at Bainbridge Arts and Crafts was a mixed media wing .... actually a wing that Daedalus might have made for Icarus. The Daedalus/Icarus myth has always been my favorite of all myths. I get it that while most people think of it as a cautionary tale about listening to your parents, I believe that Icarus couldn't help himself .... a glorious day .... a chance to show his dad that he was strong and capable .... a breeze ruffling his curly hair .... the lightness of his body .... the freedom of gravity. I think I would have done the same thing .... gotten lost in the wonderment of it all. And my heart has always ached for Daedalus. He made the wing for his son with great care and attention to detail and a tremendous amount of love. His hope and dream was that he and Icarus would escape from exile. On that day they must have both been filled with such hope and were surely quivering with excitement.

Well .... the story of my wing is about the test flight taken a few days before the fateful flight. Here is a newspaper lost and found ad that I included with my Icarus wing at the opening of the LOST AND FOUND show: (click on this image to see a larger more readable version)

My Icarus wing, instead of being made of bird feathers and beeswax, is made from various mixed metals .... leather .... mica .... wood .... a couple of etched plates .... and even some feathers cut from both sides of my sanding belts. I found a beautiful piece of thin gauge copper tucked back in a corner of my studio that had an unusual red patina on it. It added a nice warmth to my wing.

The etched poppies on brass represent remembrance. After all this time this myth is still very much alive. The early flying machine is a nod to Daedalus who was such a visionary besides being an artist .... architect .... and inventor.

This is a detail shot of some of the feathers .... I especially love the poignant feather that reads, 'ICARUS... REMEMBER WHAT WE TALKED ABOUT ...DAD'. It seems like the heart of the whole myth can be found within these few words.

Early on I decided to document the progress of making this wing. I had 1/2" baltic birch plywood left over from another project. I cut out two general wing shapes .... clamped them together .... and beveled the edges.

I cut a void in the back panel to help lessen the weight and as a way to attach a hanger.

I glued both panels together and then painted the whole wing black.

I cut individual feathers out of poster board to use as a pattern and to help me get the size and spacing right. This took a lot of trial and error to get the look I was after.

It takes a lot of space to make a wing, I've decided. Lucky for me I had recently built a 9.5' x 30" rustic wooden table in my studio barn to be used when I host large potlucks. This table was incredibly useful for wing building and having room to spread out. The wing, itself, is 44" x 9.25" x 1.5". I made it to fit me.

I often use a found object or two in my art but until this LOST AND FOUND show I had never used found objects as the primary medium. I have to say I discovered a lot of freedom in making the pieces for this show. Photo etching in metal, which has been my focus for the last several years, is not very conducive to spontaneity. The metals are expensive and I hate to make a mistake. For the most part everything is pretty well planned out before I ever touch a piece of metal. I can see in the future that a blending of found objects with the etched metals might be my path for a while. Stay tuned.....and remember to spread your wings .... and if you just can't help yourself, I don't think that flying towards the sun would be a bad way to go.

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