Sunday, January 21, 2007

Translations I Part 2

With the month of January 2007 in its second half and my New Year's resolution of keeping up with this blog well on its way to being unfulfilled, it seemed like the time was at hand to do a posting. My 21-year-old son has been encouraging me to blog and had suggestions about ways to get going. However, being a former English major who is slowly adapting to the multi-tasking hyper-linked world of the computer generation and who still has a deep fondness for stories with a beginning, middle, and end, I could not go on to posting new things until I finished out the story I started with my June post about Translations I at Maudslay State Park.

My last post on June 6 did not mention that the reception was postponed due to rain. And it continued to rain for the entire next week. I didn't mind the idea of the banners weathering through the course of the show (one month) but didn't want them in tatters for the walk-through and reception. I fretted all week but stopped making daily trips to Maudslay after the third day. After having been making art for over 25 years I now find myself in the place where there are, in certain settings, a fair number of people who know my work. This is wonderfully gratifying but when I envisioned my paper banners in dripping piles at the bottom of the trees, it made me even more nervous. Plus there were people who looked at me like I was crazy when I described the project- who makes an outdoor sculpture with paper? The paper from Bhutan is made from the long fibers of Daphne plants and I knew it would be strong. Plus I had made my tests.

I nervously arrived at the park the day before the reception and found damage that was reparable. All in all, the paper held up pretty well. The places it tore were where the paper was not sewn together with as much overlap or where the banners shifted on the trees and the weight of the wet paper caused the problems. Where the banners were taut against the tree, all was well. With difficulty I sewed together the sopping wet pieces. The day of the reception the sun was shining and the paper was dry and more or less intact.

At the end of June, we took down the banners (wet yet again). I felt a mixture of sadness (I really loved the feeling of standing among the trees with the flowing ink banners) and relief (no more visions of shredded paper popping unbidden into my head). I brought the banners back to the studio and stretched them out to dry. I then rolled the banners, put them in a basket, and waited to see what their next incarnation would turn out to be.

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