FIN 130 Unit 3

Project #3 Planar Relationships

I’ll be interested to see how I feel about this assignment after I have completed it. For now, it is causing me sleepless nights, which I know from experience means that I’m engaged and engaging with the creative concepts that are trying hard to appear. The next few photographs represent some of the concepts I was playing with, but most of all, I lay awake at night and “watched” the inside of my head while pieces of wood and wood derived products swarmed around one another, trying to find their place.

I found the artist examples and research to be somewhat helpful, but it is a stretch for me to see what I can do on such a large scale in such a short period of time. Also, the work we looked at is professional and seemingly using high quality materials. Likely most of the work was done in a team and collaboratively, and in spaces that accommodated virtually limitless use of space, especially those that were in situ outside.

Artist Research

Concept #1 – torus as space to explore sense of self in relation to space

I had wanted to play around with the torus shape; I imagined making a human-sized torus, one that would allow a person to walk inside of a torus and experience the interior of the most basic shape of the universe. However, wood and wood derivatives do not lend themselves to creating this shape, and so I have tucked this one away for later, and see it as somehow connected to a “labyrinth”, another concept I shall return to.

this illustration best illustrates the inside of a torus. a torus is an “impossible” shape to create with material as it is a mathemetical concept and related to negative space and black holes…(?). I’ll return to this later.
torus, geometric representation from the outside, but not a true torus

Concept #2 – knit a pod in which to hide the self

2nd idea: to knit a “pod” using very large needles and large hemp or bamboo based yarn. This would involve buying materials, and I decided to work with what I have on hand rather than incur expense. Although I’m finding this project difficult, I also like working with “constraints” and limitations.

I thought of something like this, but in bamboo or hemp yarn, to cover the whole body, a cozy retreat centre during cold covid winter.
something like this, but adult sized, and with HUGE chunky bamboo or hemp yarn…um…no…

Concept #3

“Nothing to Hide” – the main story after all is done

the message in the metonymy

early one morning after a night with much wind and rain, I was walking where I always walk, and saw a small box sitting on a fence post.
When I got closer, I saw that the box was red, and dry, and seemed to have been placed deliberately so that it would be seen. Perhaps even by me?
the box was held closed by a small white stick that looked like a bone, and curled bark was attached to the top. I was, of course, curious. For who wouldn’t be curious to find a small red box in the sunshine on a fencepost on their morning walk?
My curiosity led me to open the box, where I found another piece of curled bark and some shreds of tissue paper, cut from some sort of pattern. What could this be? I decided to take the box with me, and I tucked it into my bag and continued on my walk. Every once in a while, when I saw a site that I thought would show the little box at its best, I removed the box from my bag, and took a photograph.
In the snowberries.
On a large rock.
In a tree.
On the railing of a boardwalk.
Next to a fish that had been tossed onto the piles of wood by the storm.
Among some feathers scattered on the ground.
I brought the box home with me for further exploration.
Pattern tissue and curled bark.

THE process (of building the maquette, the original)

a structure made of various woods and wood related items. This structure will be six feet high, and 3 x 3 feet square. In situ. One side open, a box into which a person (me) can step to disappear from the present moment, be camouflaged from who I am and where I live. Inspired in part by the Treehouse project, the inside of the structure (wallpaper) will include representations/drawings on paper in charcoal that are nostalgic/from childhood.

December 8 update: I did not include the charcoal drawings from childhood. I have a couple of other projects in mind, one of which may return to the childhood theme and the charcoal drawings. I did consider other options for what to put in or beyond the frames on the one wall of the “escape” room, and considered creating a shelf for each one of the frames on the wall, and on the shelf I was going to put one of the assemblages that I made between 2015 – 2017. These assemblages are “feminist” and reflect a sense of being in bondage to tight strictures/expectations in life. I decided NOT to include the assemblages in this current project because I wasn’t prepared to face the task of figuring out how to attach shelves strong enough to hold the assemblages to the frames, and because I suspected that adding the assemblages might be “too much”. And I was dubious about adding those three pieces that now just stand alone, and wondered if they would dilute as part of this bigger piece. However, there is always the future and I can revisit those assemblages to see if they fit anywhere.

concept drawing
wooden picture frame(s)
small driftwood on picture frame
curled bark collected from beach
boxes of construction wood
the back wall of the escape box/time capsule. this confirms that the piece is in situ and will be temporary, unless I can get it to work as a time machine…
newsprint on floor under the base; my footprints made by smudging a piece of paper with charcoal and stepping on the charcoal, then stepping onto the newsprint under the base. this ensures that the time capsule can only be activated by someone whose feet match the foot prints exactly.
using glue gun to connect the wood blocks and the frames to the base and to one another. I foresee catastrophic structural failure unless I develop a technique to enhance structural integrity.
far left: addition of right leg of figure that will be in front of time capsule
centre: added a few more pieces of wood, another picture frame, and two pieces of beach bark
far right: corner post for stability connected with glue to back plank and side; also glued to its own base behind main base
I’m terrified of this piece; there are no “repeating patterns” in here. I’ve made a decision to proceed with this idea, realizing too late that it does not meet the requirements of the assignment. At the same time, my imagination is engaged with the experience of thinking about the possibilities of a time capsule, and how a time capsule “works”. Well, it doesn’t work, and can’t work, but I like considering the possibilities of what could make this box an individualistic time capsule that I could step into and go back into my own past and into my own future.
the two pieces at the front of the box are legs; the plan is to build up and build a whole body. The wood will be too heavy, so I may have to switch to paper or cardboard, but I’ll still have to find ways to make sure it holds together long enough to photograph it.
this one side comprising pieces of wood, wooden picture frames, driftwood, and curled bark is messy and untidy. the assignment calls for repeated patterns, but the concept is a time machine into my life past and future. I am messy. Life is messy. I have very little impulse towards creating pretty although I am drawn to balance and pattern. Sometimes I find myself crying a bit while I’m working on this piece.
There’s a bit of a gap in my documentation here. But, I’ve covered the back board with pattern paper and I’ve worked on the body that is supposed to be hanging down the front of the capsule. I’ve had armature problems, as predicted, so I’m letting it dangle here for a while, while I concentrate on the back.
I’ve had to resort to using string to connect the pieces of the “body”. Depicted here is the right leg, hip joint, and pelvis. The pelvis is attached with string to the vertebral column. Attached to the vertebral column with clips is the rib cage.
Here’s the view from the side: again, there is the right leg, pelvis, and vertebral column.
This is a piece of contorted fig that I’ve attached to the bannister behind the back wall of the capsule. I know the painter’s tape won’t hold, but I need to get the armature up so I can attach the body to something above, to meet the legs and hipbones below. At this stage I’m pretty much panicking because I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to get this all to hold together. What the heck. I’ll keep going. What is my choice?
Here is the pelvis dangling by a thread (literally and figuratively) from the vertebral column. I can’t even think about the left leg again, as the pets keep dislodging it from its glue cradle.
Here’s another shot of the side wall, still largely intact. yay! These minor successes are what encourage me. There’s that little voice that keeps telling me that I’ll figure out how to hold all this together. And of course with each shot I take, I’m aware that at some point I’ll need to drape the area around this piece so that I can photograph it such that it doesn’t just look like a bunch of wood and bark and paper…
This is a shot of another armature attached at the top of the enclosed side of the capsule.
Close-up of pattern tissue paper taped to back wall

This next series of shots took place after another couple of hours of working on armature and structure of the body that needs to be supported at the front of the capsule. The photographs point out to me the need for draping, and the series concludes with a few draped shots.

in this shot, both legs are attached to the base. The pelvis is attached to two hip bones, and the figure’s right hip bone is attached by string to the bark around the top of the right leg. I added a large driftwood piece to the left of the figure, a piece that branches into three directions at the top and which I’m hoping will be adequate armature. The armature added with painter’s tape to the back of the board serves as the connection point for the neck and the mask (a mask I made of myself several years ago) and the neck is attached to the vertebral column with an elastic. the arms are attached to the vertebral column with wrapped string and the right hand is held by tucking it under the driftwood piece over the top picture frame. The left arm is attached to the large piece of driftwood with string. The left leg has been constructed by wrapping tissue paper around string that attaches the bark that is around the left pelvis to the curved piece of wood that is the left foot. The left foot is glued to the base.
This shot provides a better view of the large forked driftwood on the left, and of the smaller piece of driftwood on the right over the picture frame.
This piece is the best at showing the small piece of driftwood over the picture frame, the armature that comes over the top from the bannister behind the piece, and the large piece of forked driftwood which is essentially holding the whole piece together at this point.
Here is a close-up of the mask. I’ve added pieces of curled bark found on local beaches to many of the forked bits on the various pieces of driftwood. I’m also planning where I need to drape background so that the photographs can be more effective.
drapery #1 & 2 enable me to see the shapes of the side of the capsule with the frames. it also helps to highlight the ribcage.
Draperies #3 (on stairwell) and #4 (on the floor) are helping me to isolate the piece for photographing. But all the activity around the piece is weakening some of the armatures. Help would be nice.
Standing on a stool and looking down into the piece helps to remove some of the background.
The large forked driftwood.
the second mask, also of my face and barely visible in previous shots, is now visible in this shot.
close-up of left pelvis, hip joint, and top of leg.
Close up of pelvis and tops of both legs.
Close up of ribcage attached to vertebral column, neck, and attached arms.
close-up of primary mask.
decisions to be made: what goes in the frames?
frames as seen through forked driftwood.
side view of body that somewhat shows the relationships between the various armatures.
view of whole piece with max drapery…
closer front shot of piece with full drapery. I have a GOOD idea…I’ll drape behind the body, covering the pattern material, to see if I can get a good shot of the body without the visual noise in the background…yeah, that is a GOOD idea, isn’t it?
Nope. Not a good idea. All fall down.
About an hour after the partial collapse, the piece fell further. I’m going out now. Maybe by the time I get back, it will have rebuilt itself. Seriously though, I’m thinking of moving it into a corner and re-starting. I’m concerned about time, though. The other option is to “finish” the three frames and photograph them and add to this blog.

I’m curious about my experience trying to make this piece. The concept is absurd, the rendering is absurd, the constant problem-solving is absurd. Maybe absurd isn’t the right word. I’ve spent huge chunks of my days working on this piece. Every step I take forward, I’m presented with new problems to solve, challenges to overcome. Despite how awkward I feel, how inadequate, how not-up-to-the-task, I am enjoying the process. I keep telling myself that if I knew how to do all this stuff, I wouldn’t be taking a class. Right? Right.