FIN 131 Unit 1

the sea, the sea. I meet you at the sea’s surface where I long to see your clear reflection, but can reclaim only fragments. reconstruction is quick and unplanned. you lead me in a long dance, and I can feel your hand on my heart telling me how to do this. I am so surprised! I have never felt such trust and I am whirling inside with some kind of joy. Who is this, I ask. Who is this? and what is this thing I call joy?

Unit 1 Assignment – Hybrid Objects – Common and Curious

Part 1 – Gathering the objects

  1. Dried rose
  2. desert rose
  3. beach shell
  4. peanut
  5. large marble
  6. rusted thing found on beach
  7. small pot

I’ve narrowed down to seven objects. I’m not sure why these seven, but I like each object for a different reason.

Part 2 – some supporting information for preparing the objects

  1. Dried rose preparation

needed: XTC-3D resin

possible challenges: the folds of the rose petals may not take the form of the pour, so I likely need to fill the folds after I prepare the rose with resin. Will I be happy with the look that I get?

2. Desert rose preparation

the same challenge exists regarding being able to separate the desert rose from the pour material. What I like about the desert rose are the textures of the surface.

3. shell preparation

I think the “top” side of the shell will be okay, but I may need to put clay into the crevice on the “back”.

4. Peanut

I am considering a peanut because of its interesting shape(s) and textures. As with any of the choices, I don’t have an endgame in mind.

5. Large marble

I love the size, colours, and reflective qualities of the marble. I also love its “roundness”. So beautiful. Again, what is the result I am looking for? This seems very inductive. Beautiful uncertainty.

6. Rusted thing found on beach

I’m attracted to this piece as it is one of many rusted and barnacled pieces of varying size and shape that I found on Storey’s Beach in Port Hardy. I like the shape, I like the conglomerate nature of the piece, and I like that I don’t know what it is, but it is definitely related to some sort of ship, or perhaps a leftover from the now defunct mine. It speaks of more history than the other pieces.

Surface texture is interesting.

7. small pot

I love this little pot because it is little and suggests a miniature probably unseen world of the imagination, of small creatures that live parallel lives to ours, but who we never see.

I would likely have to fill the centre of the pot, or do this mold in two halves in order to keep the pot centre “open”.

A Few More Possibilities

I found a number of marbles, round, egg shaped, and flattened. I could start to see a kind of grouping. I’m a bit distracted by the colour, but am curious about what they might look like if they were all white, or all black, or a combination. What is the relationship between the egg-shaped marble and the round ones? I love shape, as well.

The next three photographs take me into the personal realm. I have a model of my teeth, left over from a dental procedure several years ago. My teeth have always been a source of anxiety for me, and much of the difficulty in my life has manifested in tooth/mouth problems. I also have a difficult time looking at my teeth in the mirror, as they do not match up to what I think they should look like. Sharing a photograph of my teeth like this, even in model form, is a risky thing to do.

Another part of my “past” and identity formation is hair. When I was very young (12), I developed trichotillomania, a condition in which a person “pulls” out their hair. I pulled out my eyelashes. I stopped when I was about 16, and have since learned that I was one of the lucky ones, as this condition is often chronic and can be socially debilitating. I have included a link below the pictures for more information about trichotillomania.

In my fifties, I was talking to someone about that weird childhood habit I had had, and she told me about trichotillomania. That was the first time I learned that my weird habit, which was a source of tension between me and my mother, was actually a mental “disorder”, and when I read about it, much of my early life experiences started to make sense.

So, teeth and hair are both sites of “disorder” for me, although I think perhaps the challenges for me that manifested in my teeth and hair were actually unconscious attempts to achieve some sort of “order”. It occurs to me that the term “mental disorder” could better be the term “mental ordering”.

The hair between my teeth is from one of my self haircuts during covid, for which I pushed my long hair through the back of a ball cap, flipping the resultant ponytail over the top of my head, and trimming off the bottom couple of inches. I decided to save the results of the haircuts in a baggie, and it occurred to me to “pull” the hair out to play around for this project.

Hair between your teeth is an unpleasant sensation.

Not sure how this last series can fit the requirements of the assignment, but it feels the most right, gives me the most bodily sensations of “right feeling”. I’ll bring the teeth to class and see where it goes.

Link to information about trichotillomania:

It’s amazing what a walk and/or a shower can do for ideation.

As I walked this morning, I thought about the hair between the teeth, and started to think about other things that teeth are often associated with. The most obvious is the expression: born with a silver spoon in their mouth. The other possibilities for the assignment appear to be receding, and I think I will have to work with the teeth.

So, I returned from my walk and added the much tarnished “apostle spoon” to the teeth, created a small plinth and a black backdrop, and started playing with this first idea.

What would it look like to have several sets of teeth, each interacting with a different item in a different way? And should I polish the silver spoon? As I ask the question, I think not. Being born with a tarnished spoon suggests a much different narrative.

As usual, just a small amount of research about apostle spoons yielded some rich information for me. Apostle spoons were often given by godparents as Christening gifts in Scotland. Is this silver spoon in my possession a connection to my Scottish origins? I also learned that apostles are identifiable by a specific object they are holding. I can’t identify what, if anything, my apostle is holding. Also, I found a second spoon in a drawer, the same apostle.

Identifying which apostle I have may add some depth to its use in this project.

Spooning out

I remember that I have two apostle spoons, and luckily the second one turns out to have better facial detail (seen on the left below). I still can’t tell which apostle is represented here.

A quick photograph with both spoons.

Part 2

January 18 in-studio class

some of the items under consideration for the mold making
playing around with some relationships between objects
but really, I want to use the tooth models, so need to build them up using the rolled out clay provided
using rolled out sulphur-free clay, I built up the bottoms of the teeth, and built a wall at the back of each model.
Around the bottom of the clay-enhanced tooth molds, I added 8 imprints of the apostle from the top of the apostle spoon, just barely discernible at the bottom of the model to the left above.
Oomoo has been mixed and added over the models, to make new molds, for new models.

Part 3 – the first casts

getting ready to take the mold out
coddled and ready for pouring
Marlee makes the hydrocal
1000 grams of hydrocal to 457 grams of water
the island
making sure there are no lumps
after the pour, and now we wait.
one complete set of teeth from two different perspectives
five casts and the original prepared model (three more to go)

Part 4 – the final casts

Laurena and her first casting
Ren mixing
8 sets of teeth

Working with the 8 casts for the final “multiples” project

“Eight and a Dried Rose”
“A Conversation: Talking to my selves”
“Clench” #1
“Clench” closer view

For this next piece, I used a drill to make holes in the cast; it felt odd to be drilling my own teeth, but odd in a good way.

“Pain” Plaster cast with acrylic paint #2

This afternoon I spent a couple of hours in the sculpture studio; took everything with me, including notebooks, and created a plan for what to do next for each of the projects, the unit 1 multiples and then the unit 2 wood/metal/fibre projects.

I drilled some spaces and holes in some of the tooth casts, created a plan for what to do for each of the remaining 8 casts, and sanded the bases of both the top and bottom jaws.

The work is meditative, and as I worked on each of the casts, I thought about teeth and about where the project could go. On my way home, I stopped at Industrial Paint and Plastics (first time there) to pick up some Smooth-on (safe for skin) Breeze and some 3/4″ clear plastic tubing. That is a dangerous place.

I’ve gathered some words from a few different people about their relationship with their teeth, and a local writing group will use their relationship/experience with their teeth as a prompt for a writing exercise. I want to include others’ perspectives and experiences with teeth. I’m not sure what I will do with the words that I gather, but hope to include them in some way for the “critique” class on the 22nd February. I had also considered creating a sound scape with people talking about their teeth, but the planning and learning for that element seems beyond what I have time to devote to this project.

Removing some plaster to get ready to implement an idea for the final presentation.
Picked up some 3/4″ hose from IPP. I wired and glued the jaw and inserted the hose into this mouth; also glued the hose to the back of the mouth where the hose exits.

Using small pieces of aluminum flashing saved from the garbage can, I wrote various words and phrases on the piece and shoved them into the front piece of the tubing going into the mouth. I also put in other various pieces of twisted aluminum.
I’m thinking about the concept of force-feeding here, but not nutrition: rather, I’m trying to get to a sense of being fed lies and what happens to those lies when they go past the mouth’s blockade. Need to get to this idea without added other structures…but I don’t know. I’m already thinking of small motors that could push fluid through the tubing and back into the same tepid tank that the water came out of in the first place. But probably won’t do that this time around.
three hydrocal casts: left hand, left hand clenched, right hand. for the multiples project.
left fist
left hand on paper (I later dropped this hand on the tile floor in my studio, and it made such a beautiful sound as it shattered, that I didn’t really mind that it broke into so many pieces)
left hand in snow
left hand on hood of car
left hand on hood of car
fist on hood of car

Part 5 – the photo shoot at the beach (Goose Spit)

I’ve put the project away for a couple of weeks. The multiples have been put in a box with the hands and the fists, and although I haven’t done anything additional on the project, I worked on some drawings. I became stuck on one of the drawings. Just before I left for the beach, I took photographs of the drawing that I’m stuck on, and then made another 8.5 x 11 print on my printer to add to two that I had made of earlier versions of the drawing. I decided to bring the three prints with me, just in case something might happen. I also brought my new camera with the 50 – 250 lens. And my cell phone and camera. And my dog. Here is the story of the beach shoot.

Phase 1 Water’s Edge

By now, I am completely oblivious of where I am or who is around me. It’s as if I have gone into a trance.

My teeth have been the source of a lot of pain in my life. The beach has been a source of calm. It is not lost on me why I have chosen to bring these teeth to this beach.

Phase 2 Nest

I feel tender as I place the cast of my right hand on the nest with the teeth, as if I am taking care of something very important.

Phase 3 Log

This feels like a family portrait, the clenched fist and the open hand at either end of the family.

Phase 4 Connection

The twine, the casts, the printed photograph of the drawing: the elements want to be in a dialogue, and I’m merely at their service.

The driftwood inscriptions comment on the relationship, but don’t give up clues to what they are saying.

the teeth are mine and become me as I place and re-place them on the beach. the camera enabled me to become closer to my self and eventually I felt I was photographing my self.

I considered people who were merely walking.

his body language reflects how I feel in a given moment


it’s odd how the elements lose their voices when they are packed up into a box.