Monday, October 20, 2014
THE CLOUD COLLECTOR
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October 3rd was the opening of, OFF THE WALL...CONTEMPORARY SCULPTURE, an exhibit at Bainbridge Arts and Crafts. I am so pleased to be a part of this exhibit with my narrative box titled THE CLOUD COLLECTOR. This box is photo etched copper, brass and nickel with a framework of cherry. It measures 11.75" wide by 9.5" tall by 2.5" deep ... with the doors closed.
The young woman in the cockpit, etched in copper, is from a vintage photo. I love it that she looks adventuresome in her leather helmet ... goggles ... and bi-plane ... and totally up to the challenge of collecting samples of clouds.
I've been focused in on clouds for the last few years....really, since I found a pair of sunglasses on the side of the road. These sunglasses....my magic sunglasses... have such good polarization that the clouds and all their details really pop. I could watch the clouds all day.
In thinking up a piece for this show, I remembered that, for a while now, I've wanted to make a box about collecting clouds. It was a little bigger challenge than I expected. I have many cloud photos that I have taken over the years ... that wasn't the problem. What I forgot about was how elusive clouds are ... and how all their edges are soft ... wispy even ... and how tricky that would be to etch in metal ...hard metal ... where all the etched lines have a hard crisp edge. Even the clouds that I printed on the transparencies, that would eventually find their home inside the varied glass bottles, were a challenge. I really wanted just clouds and no sky in the bottles and after many frustrating printing sessions realized that clouds, with no sky for contrast, really were nothing but white with a hint of grey ... or on a transparency, that meant clear and a hint of grey. Not so much what I had in mind. Finally I settled on printing the bottled clouds with some sky ... some contrast ... and I added some wisps of cotton in each bottle to help soften all the edges.
Open the doors and more of the story is revealed. This is where the collection is kept. The bottles, with their cloud samples housed inside, are lined up and numbered. Corresponding sample numbers, dates, latitude, longitude, and pertinent notes are all logged into the cloud ledger. If nothing else, THE CLOUD COLLECTOR is organized.
On the inside of the left door is a description of the various clouds ... high, mid, and low level clouds ... and the characteristics of each.
The sample numbers, dates, and latitude/longitude for each cloud are all pertinent to my life ... memorable events in memorable places. It's a subtle way for me to put part of myself into this piece of art ... without being 'in your face' about it.
I had a revelation while working on this box. It has taken me all this time to understand that I am THE CLOUD COLLECTOR ... I am THE TIME TRAVELER ... I am THE YOUNG ENTOMOLOGIST. It's funny to me that I never realized it before.