NEW FINDS FOR NEW SPACES

It has been a portable accommodations desert since my last discovery of retro metal lawn chairs.  The last one Glenn found at the county waste disposal site needed a lot of work.  But it was FREE—the best!  We have not addressed its broken legs yet which is awful as its seat and back are among the most intact we have.  Maybe when one is forced to pay for something, the repair is more insistent.

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Today was a really fine morning for me at the flea market, but my partner came home with every bit of his money.  Sometimes that happens.  More money slipped from mine than usual between lawn chairs, sculpture raw materials, a fine chalk figure, and a cement lotus.

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Hard to believe, but there are spaces on this acreage that do not have a composition of old lawn chairs and gliders positioned so one can contemplate either nature or their navel.  I have been working behind the pool and beside the newly moved silo, and unfortunately there were no lawn chairs for that space.  The path below is now finished and a fig tree planted to the left of this area.

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Now that space will have two fine figures, and these are of a design never seen by me.  The backs and seats of the chairs are punched through with a series of capsule-like shapes.  The ones in the middle of the backs and seats look like the three tiny staggered windows that used to be on the front doors of tract houses back in the fifties.  The chairs look rusty here, but they are very solid.  They have lived outside lives nicely.  The holes in chairs do much more than make them beautiful.  They get water out of places where it might corrode the metal.  My earlier “free” find bent at the knees because water was allowed to settle there.  Those spots are like Achilles’ heel for outdoor furniture.

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This bar at the front of the seat on these chairs is new to me as well.  It may be simply a design choice, but water can gather underneath the front of the bottom plane if the metal is curled under to finish it.  These chairs seem to me to be of a cleaner design than those of the 1940s.  They might nudge towards 1960 in dating.

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This fine little pond accessory still had its original price tag on it.  It is from Henri Studio, Palatine, Il., and is a cement lotus flower.  It is dated 1987.  I have an email into the company now for information as to how to best hook it up.  It is extremely heavy and the sprayer is copper, just under the normal size of a water hose.

CREATIVITY OR OBSESSION?

My Ben is eleven months.  In the last almost a year, I have bought him more of one thing than anything else, by far.  Clothes or toys?  No.  They don’t last.  Ice cream?  He is too young for that.

Chairs.  I have bought him three chairs and am now making him one.  What is that about?

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My daughter has taken a picture of Ben with his turquoise chair for each of his eleven months.  It is a theme in the pictures, a sub-plot.

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Stuff happens behind the chair, as here.  This chair was a shower gift.  To me, it is a beautiful and sweet piece of sculpture.  I fantasize about him being big enough to sit in it.

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Last summer I bought this little metal outside chair.  It is sweet, but it would be perfect if it matched all the others around here.

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Have had no such luck with that.  Have never even seen a child’s 1940-50s metal lawn chair for sale, although I am sure they exist.

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Then I bought the old wooden rocker for him.  He knew exactly what to do with it.  The size is perfect.

Ben uses Gee’s sixty year old stroller when he is here.  It is not Ben’s however, it is a piece of sculpture located in our bedroom when not being used by him.

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Now I am making him a chair that he will never be able to use.  Dangerous.  Cannot figure out where this stuff comes from.

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THE WORKINGS OF CREATIVITY

Artists need to observe patterns in their behavior.  For me,  pattern is the most important element in art making.  Knowledge comes from repetition, visual cohesiveness comes from repetition, personal truths come from repetition.  Notice.

If the artist can pull way back and observe the chronology of their work, patterns will emerge.  Often, that pattern is seen retrospectively, but it helps to know what you are doing, even if you are in the middle of it.

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A while ago, I knew that sooner or later I would do something with chairs in my work.  Love their shapes and their differences.  We have two houses chock full of chairs, to the point that we can handle no more.  Where did this start?  Figured that out.

It was with my rather large collection of gliders.  Most are in good shape, nicely reflecting a well-used history.  Some are kind of abused however.  It was with these that the idea came.

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Glenn got this one for me off of a street in south St. Louis.  Its rails are gone, and the seat is full of automobile body putty.  I still wanted it.  I WANT THEM ALL.

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This one is in better shape, but the rails and swinging devices are totally gone.  It sits on nubs.  Low-slung.

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This aluminum glider skeleton never had any cushions.  I put pressure treated wood where the seat should be and have plants on it nine months out of the year.  Being aluminum, it is in fine shape.  It simply has no cushions.

I would love to be able to take parts of these gliders and mix and match them, weld them to the other, and make silly conjunctions.  My mind can see how wonderful they would be.  But I lack the skills.  Glenn has them, but he has his own work to do.  I dropped the idea and started working with wooden windows.  I can do screws and a drill.

The chairs did not leave completely however.  An early window sculpture features the back of a chair that was found in a house built in 1939 which was moved to our land.  It was used as a beautiful line.

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The detail shows also that an armrest for an outdoor aluminum chair was used in the composition.  The break in the pane of glass is highlighted in gold paint the way the Japanese do their broken teacups.

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Coming into the present, the image above represents a good haul from one day at the Goodwill Clearance Center, a place where parts for sculptures are secured.  The white baby high chair I bought for the wood, knowing that it would make great spacers to keep my windows from colliding.   They would do what the dowels are doing in the image below.

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I sat the doll chair in front of three windows for which I intended to use it as spacers.  Then I thought, why not keep the chair integral but also use it as spacers?  So below it is in progress.

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And here it is finished, but not photographed with an infinity wall yet.

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A child’s ladder, divided in two and wooden hammer complete the image.  The sculpture rolls around on wooden casters.

For the next chair in progress, the windows are completely dropped.  Interesting way to progress.

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MY STUDIO

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Above is my studio as seen from our second floor gallery.  You can see the white wooden window at the right, leaning against the wall waiting for stripping and sanding.  It seems my world is full of wooden right angles.

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This stuff does not look like much until it enters into a composition.

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Other shapes are more interesting from the start.   Here you see many similar lines/shapes that can work well together in a composition.   The skill is knowing just how much of this to use and  what to use in contrast.  Also, these shapes have to do structural jobs.  They are the connective tissue of the sculptures.  Bought all of these unglued furniture parts last weekend at a flea market for three bucks.  This kind of stuff is my number one shopping priority for the window sculptures just now.

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The windows are the bones of the composition, usually three.  Only the back window is cleaned up here.  Notice the yellow coil.  Never have I had a tool this fine.  We have a giant compressor that  Glenn uses for everything.  He made three stations in the barn where one can access the power.  One is back here in second class.  It is used to get the windows clean before varnish.

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Unfortunately most surfaces have some collection of raw material loaded upon them.

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But not all.  This fine oak desk was brought here this week, free for the taking from another scavenger friend.  This top must hold something significant, but what it might be remains unknown.  It was the acquisition of this that made me clean and organize.  That is a good thing.

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Critique chairs.  It is wonderful to sit out here until after dark with the studio light glowing and talk about creative options.

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This is taken from outside the building.  We have both warm and cool light in this studio.  And we have multiple sources.  Had been having a problem when using just the hot light on the right hand side.  The windows, being so linear were casting shadows on the wood chip wall.  And I was composing with respect to those shadows.  Of course, they are temporary.  We had to solve that problem with more lighting from all directions.

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Back of the barn.  We have an Overhead Door back here for unloading things like my big new desk.  Some tile stays outside the door because it can.  All that white will go to the pool deck next summer.

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Bicycles separate areas of the barn.

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They work well visually doing that.

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Out of all this mess will once in a while come a clean piece.  This is the first piece on which I used bunji cords.  Fun.

 

 

POINT NUMBER THREE ON THE “INCREASE YOUR VISIBILITY” LIST

So I introduced you to my Etsy shop (1), and the previous blog published here will be a guest blog (2) on maybe two sites, one later this week.

The marketing genius that I am following to fame and fortune says that viewers want to see my studio, and how it works.  Gawd.  It is a mess.

We built this big barn, and at first it was simply going to be storage for my tile, which is mostly laid in the summer, Glenn’s studio, and storage for Glenn’s toys.  Trucks, cars.

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Above is a portion of Glenn’s studio, which was planned in the barn design.  The metal walls are in, baseboard heat installed which we never use.

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My area in the barn was never to be a studio, it was for the storage of tile, won by dumpster diving.

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You can see a bit of the tile on the left, on shelves.  These shelves are sixty feet long and go all the way up to the front of the barn.  This is the back left, and there is a garage door to let light in as well as high windows.  Glenn’s studio is in the front right of the barn.  I am second class for sure, and looking at this image, act like it!

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But not this chair.  It is totally first class, and is my studio chair.  I love it and found it in a dumpster. You can see where I sit above, behind the tilting window which still has its glass.

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I sit in the fine chair and stare at a plywood wall which has a piece in progress on it.  Above, we are looking at the side of a big piece, bigger than normal these days.  I do not take good care of my tools, unfortunately.  They are used so much, they are almost never put away.

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Here is the piece now in the studio, the object of my staring from the chair.  These window frames are BIG.  Bigger than normal.  The dark one measures 43″ x 33″ and the aluminum screen is 29′ x 25″.  The table legs are 21 inches long.  I have had trouble using these biggest windows, but last week figured the problem out.  With a bigger window, all the other elements have to be to scale.  Duuuh.

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This piece actually fell on the floor last night after a stupid move by its creator.  Good thing I have these pictures.

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The last evaluation happens upstairs in the gallery where the walls are neutral.  Now to go pick up the big piece off the floor.

 

MUSICAL CHAIRS

Installing the new exterior door created some glider movement.  Now that there are so many here, and considering what I have to pay per quart to clear coat them, a little triage is in order.

Although this glider works well, it has some bumps and bruises.  It used to also have a prime location on the front porch.  Now, not.

It has moved to be with the group under the big oak tree.

All the chairs and the glider to the left of the picture can stay outside.  They have all had the clear coat treatment, even the one on the new little deck.  The pair there still have original paint.

The wonky wooden bannister gracing the little deck is getting so tiring to look at.

Glenn made these two bannisters this past summer.  When he gets the time, something on this order will be on our back deck.

EXTERIOR DOOR

Less work is required if you do two things at once.  As always, new gliders have to be integrated into the landscape both natural and architectural.  This activity is ongoing as there is always more lawn furniture to be had.  Concurrently,  I am making new gardens around the new addition to our old farmhouse.

For years I used an old door native to this house but unused in the house, as a dining room table.  Then that dining room turned into a bedroom for about a year.  The door was shuffled out to the barn.

The other day when sitting and gliding and sensing the new garden space, it occurred to me that that door could be used as a spot of interest in the new garden, which is adjacent to our front porch.  It happens to be red on one side, and I want to include lots of red in the new garden to highlight a red line which resides at the base of our front porch.

Here is the situation of the new garden.  Very blank canvas.  A satellite dish that will be a small pond has been put up on cinder blocks which are hidden by fallen tree trunks.  Cotoneaster has been planted to the left of this image, down the side of the new addition.

The ones here are babies that were pulled from another garden.  A goal for this garden is to use only stuff that has been propagated here.

In the space behind the single lawn chairs will be a pattern of dwarf nandina which gets very red in the winter, and a pyracantha that was propagated this past summer.  I am amazed as it started getting new leaves this fall, and continues now.  This stuff I will plant today.

Second job accomplished?  With the new door in red, and the red line under the porch, we found the perfect place for Ruth’s glider, which at this point isn’t going to be changed, paintwise.  Ruth and my niece gave it its happy paint job.  Since we used the red side of the door on the porch side, we probably will paint the other side for the garden.