Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Iris vase from 2002

The irises are starting to bloom on campus and in the local gardens. I don't have any irises in my yard - everytime I try to grow them I lose them to stem borers. So, I'll post pictures of a collaborative project I did with J. Paul Fennell.

I met J. Paul Fennell in 2002 on the taxi ride to the Providence, Rhode Island airport after the AAW symposium. The circumstances of that coincidence will have to wait for another posting opportunity, but we did find we had a lot of interests in common. Several weeks after that meeting, Paul emailed me to ask if I would be willing to collaborate on a project that would be a Christmas present for his wife,Judy. He was interested in having an iris motif put onto one of his vessels. Well, of course, I said "yes."

Paul sent me one of his lovely hollow forms made from mesquite. It was a little scary to think about cutting into this vessel - it felt so right as was, without any surface enhancement. It took me a couple of weeks of pondering and thinking of how I wanted to approach the design before I drew it on to the vessel. The first line burnt in was a heart stopper. Mesquite doesn't behave the way cherry and maple do, and that was what I had been used to for my work. Mesquite doesn't want a straight line burnt in - it grabs the tip and yanks it around the silica crystals in the wood. I ended up working through an impressionistic style, which did turn out ok. Here are some progress and finished pics of the project.

These are three views of the project after the design was burnt in, but before I did the background texturing. I didn't want to experiment on this after the design was burnt in, so Paul sent me a mock-up from mesquite and I experimented with texture patterns on the scrap piece.

This and the next photo show the 360° view around the vase, which gives you an idea that this is a canvas in the round. The colors aren't quite correct. The flowers are more blue than purple, but I didn't mess around with photoshop to correct the color balance. I should do that sometime. . .

And here's a detail showing the background texture.

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