Tuesday, February 10, 2015
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PENUMBRA THEATER presents WAITING FOR THE LUNAR ECLIPSE. On Friday February 6th the show titled MOON AND STARS opened at Bainbridge Arts and Crafts on Bainbridge Island in Washington state. Moons and stars and everything having to do with the galaxy and beyond is all imagery that excites me.
My theater, WAITING FOR THE LUNAR ECLIPSE, is loosely inspired by the photo below. I've always wanted to etch this image but the resolution is not very high and there is not enough detail in the faces. Still, every time I look at this photo, it seems to me that the people are on a stage...and the boat and driftwood are props...and the backdrop is of a starry sky. All of that is what led me to build a theater....PENUMBRA THEATER. Penumbra is such an excellent word....I love the way it rolls off the tongue. It means...the shadow cast by the earth or moon over an area experiencing a partial eclipse.
My theater is approx. 15 inches high in the front...10 inches deep....and 12 inches wide. The walls and floor are cherry and the metals are photo etched brass, copper and nickel. There is a small lever on the top that, when pushed, moves a black disc over the moon creating the lunar eclipse. There is also a momentary switch on the lower left that, when pushed, makes a subtle light turn on which represents the moonlight.
Inside the theater are three women actors who portray historic women astronomers, Annie J. Cannon, Henrietta Leavitt, and Maria Mitchell. It's hard to imagine being a woman astronomer at the turn of the century when men were so prominent in the field. In researching these women I learned that women astronomers were not allowed to look through the world's largest telescopes until the 1960's. That seems so ridiculous to me.....what were they afraid those women might see???
In this image you get a glimpse of the background...a bluff...water lapping the shoreline...and a starry sky.
I made this little lapstrake boat from some narrow strips of basswood.
Penumbra Theater was a challenge for me...one of the more complex pieces I've made. I'm dreaming now of 12 or 15 little theaters all together as an exhibit in some wonderful gallery. Stay tuned....