Friday, November 18, 2016

Getting to the Deeper Sense

For me, making art based on a particular place is a long, slow, thoughtful, enjoyable process.  I often bring objects back to the studio to think about and to work with. When I visited the Smitty Creek Watershed in October, I collected plants, along with photographs and notes made while listening to the Paul Smith's College students and faculty about the research going on there. I also do a fair amount of research, exploring related scientific literature and other writings, maps, and images.  
The plants I collected were frozen until I had was ready to begin the work. I decided to make a couple of eco prints with them, a process of wrapping the leaves tightly in fabric or paper and then processing them with heat.
I dipped each leaf in a dilute ferrous sulfate and water solution to deepen the tones of the plant pigments. A few old iron and copper nails were wrapped in the bundles as well, to add some marks representing the human influence on the landscape. The leaves were laid out on two silk panels, then wrapped tightly around pieces of pvc pipe and secured with string.
The silk, metal, and leaf bundles were then simmered in hot water for about two hours to set the leaf pigments and the nail marks on the fabric.
Above is one of the silk panels, now permanently printed with the leaves and nails, as well as with the long linear resist marks made by the string wrapped around the bundles during the heat processing. Below is a detail of the print, showing evidence of spruce, fern, red maple, aspen, and black cherry leaves.
Next, I will add maps, data, photographs, and words. Check back here to see how I do that in my next Deeper Sense post.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

A Deeper Sense: Looking at Place with Science and Art

 This photo is from one of several field trips that have already taken place this semester with Craig Milewski's Stream Ecology class, a course for senior Paul Smith's College students working on final projects before graduation - called Capstone Projects at this college. As a scientist and a poet, Craig encourages his students to do high quality field research and to also think about this final project as an opportunity to interpret their work artistically, through visual, written, or musical arts. And he again has invited several area artists to join in to produce artworks that interpret the project in some way. The students' final presentations and art will be presented to the college community and the public, along the artwork of the lucky professional artists invited to join in.

(The first of these art-and-science projects in which I participated took place in Spring 2012. See my blog posts from March through April 2012 for my process that time. And here are images of three of the five final works, which I now realize I did not post!)

This new project - "A Deeper Sense" - focuses on a forested watershed not far from the Paul Smith's College campus where research has taken place for about 12 years. Questions about the role of stream channel disturbance after 2 consecutive hurricanes with heavy rains are being investigated, among other issues.

As I prepare my art work focused on this project you can follow my process on this blog. I'll post on my main page, and you can also find the whole project on my page "Deeper Sense Project" listed in my blog header. I welcome your insights and comments!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Studio Tour

This week, Saranac Lake area artists are inviting everyone to our Artists' Studio Tour on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday! Art at the Pink House will be open each day of the Tour to demonstrate eco printing (Friday), fabric collage (Saturday), and simple book making (Sunday).

See which artists will be participating and download a map to plan your route here.

Art at the Pink House is at 25 Woodruff Street, Saranac Lake. Call me if you want more information: 518-524-0533. Try your hand at something new!