Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Making of the trees

            The next fountain idea I had involved mushrooms, too. I would make a stump with shelf mushrooms growing on it, and the water would flow out of the center of the stump and down over the mushrooms. I was imagining a pool in the forest with the stump of a fallen tree in it.
            Both of these ideas are rather fanciful; mushrooms do not pour water over each other in the natural world, and stumps do not have streams flowing out of them either. But this is a world with dragons, and therefore is a magical place where things like this can happen.

            In progress:

            As I was making this stump, I thought about what sort of environment it came from. This was a place with dragons. What would the dragons be like? I thought that they would be small dragons that would fit in a person’s hand. That is, if you wanted to risk holding a spiny little creature that can breathe fire and use magic in your hand. It seemed to me that even though the dragons would be small, they needed a larger environment than just one stump.
            I thought about ways to expand the environment, and I struggled to imagine the precise nature of these small dragons. Were their scales shiny? Were they brightly colored? How “real” did I want them to look?  While I wondered about these things, I worked on another part of the environment: a log lying down on its side in a pool of water. 

            When deciding how to create a bark or wood texture, I kept in mind the magical nature of the world I was making. I created a swirly texture inspired by the way knots in wood look. 

            The stump was fired at the end of the spring semester. The log was left in the Simon’s Rock studio after I finished it, swaddled in plastic and left to dry for the summer. Because of the nature of the policies at Simon’s Rock, I could not continue to work in the studio on campus for the remainder of the summer and needed to go elsewhere to work on the next piece. This piece was the largest yet, a tree trunk that had fallen on its side and exposed the roots of the tree.

            It looked very different before and after I put the texture on it. 

            The studio I made the tree trunk at is IS183. Once I finished the tree trunk (it took 2 months), we moved it into the largest electric kiln in the place and let it dry there very very slowly. I say we, because it is too large for me to lift alone, and I certainly wouldn’t have tried when it was leather hard. We had to take the kiln apart, put the tree trunk in, and then put the kiln back together.

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