Saturday, June 27, 2009

Rolling Buffet Is Coffee Inspired

Went to Jesse Sifuentes's late this afternoon to see what's he painting on that buffet table of his. It's going to be a wonderful piece. Jesse is basically repainting portions taken from a large mural of his. Images from his mural cover the table top and continue down the sides of this rolling buffet. After he paints the entirely piece, he'll add all the coffee mugs we've been collecting. They will fill the four sides and interesting dimension and depth in addition to displaying names of east End companies, organizations and elected officials. Finally, he'll coat the painted wood with polyurethane.
Hope he's finished within a week so we can transport it over to the Harrisburg studio and get Laurie to photograph it and pass on to media. I need to have the work of other artists very soon. It can't be all my stuff that we're promoting. Hope Mercedes will send me one of her paintings on a linen napkin soon so we can photograph that too. Here's what Jesse is doing.Jesse still has to paint the truck bright red and the panel insets a color too. Then he'll add the coffee mugs. He's got coffee cups coming by ship, train and truck. Sure tells the story of coffee transported through the community.

Epiphany: Text In All the Right Places

So, yesterday was a cruel day when I felt I'd never assemble another collage, ever. Got a decent night's sleep and this morning I decided to try out the three markers I bought to draw on china and glass. Draw, then bake in a 300 degree oven and they are ready to hang on someone's wall. Yesterday I bought 50 cent yellow dinner and salad plates at Value Village and I decided to plunge in and write cryptic little messages around each plate rim. That worked, so I added a decorative border around the edge of each plate and that worked too. Then I brought in some vintage plates from the studio that are covered with flowers. Began to write among the flowers and I liked the way they looked. My floor is now covered with plates that dry for 24 hours and then spend those 30 minutes in a low oven. You can't eat off these plates and platters, but they will look great on someone's wall.
It was when I was writing on one of the last plates that I had an epiphany. I've been planning on adding text to each table. Hang tags like the ones I made for Marfa seemed the best idea and I still intend to make hang tags. However, I also decided to write on absolutely every dish, vase, goblet, copper gelatin mold and candlestick on that banquet table. Just a few words, a fragment on each. I know it will pull the table together and may pull the whole show together if done well.
One has to be in the right frame of mind to write small convoluted messages and this morning everything was working. And more 'happened' than just the writing on plates. It's the bigger idea of adding text to every single object's surface that made for a breakthrough moment. Ever onward.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Assessment, or Some Days Are Not Wonderful

I've been 'in the zone' for so many weeks now. Working on Second Seating and feeling good about it. By the way, the image above shows some lighting fixtures I designed and had electrified. The bases of these clusters of lamps are oil pipe salvage material. Rusty pipe fittings thrown in the scrap heap and I was lucky enough to have asked to see the metal salvage. Makes great lights that should look terrific both at Second Seating and in someone's loft later on.
Now, back to this quality of being 'in the zone.' Second Seating is having a charmed life on many fronts. Things move forward, go right, folks say yes when asked, the downside has been minimal. If, in some instances, things are not going well, I've chalked it off to the universe and focused on the good stuff that's happening.
Then comes a time when nothing is right. Happened tonight when I threw in the towel on the collages on which I've been working. Tonight they got worse and worse, or my eyes did and I could not see where any of them were going. These collages are substantially torn apart now, stuff sitting on the floor, undone and uninspired. I am going to bed.
This has been one of those evenings when nothing is working and it's easy to begin to believe I am no longer capable of completing a project in a timely way or, more immediately, of assembling another collage worthy of the name. Feels as if the day has been totally taken up with errands, many of them worthy and pertaining to the project at hand, yet eating away the hours when I might have focused on 'the work' itself. Those collages?
At the end of a day such as this, it's simply about letting go, taking a shower and starting again another day.
Not every day can be terrific. And actually, now that early morning is here again and I've had some sleep and furthermore, am making a list for today and tomorrow, things are looking up. The fact is, though, Second Seating is on the home stretch during these hot summer days and I have 'to move the meter' every single day.
Every single day, part of a table or a chandelier or a collage must be completed. Or significant progress must be made on several fronts. The parts of this spawling Second Seating must manifest more shape and form EVERY SINGLE DAY. So what is new about this? I've been in this mode for months now. But now, there is less room to meander. It's sprint time.
Design of the space itself must be clarified, contractors lined up and yes, even paint colors selected as I've thinking about sheet rocking 8 foot high sections of the interior walls and dousing them with wonderful colors. Terracotta, chartreuse, violet blue and mustard. I must call the guy that I think will be doing the carpentry and sheet rock work and get on his schedule for August. I must get back in touch with the lighting guy again and ask his advice. And this weekend, I must talk with Modelle and see how her followup calls to the magazines have been. She's made calls to the magazines that received Second Seating media kits in early May. Which publications will include calendar listings for Second Seating and which of them might actually give the exhibition a paragraph in a column. A story? A miracle.
So, must stop this bit of chronicling Second Seating progress or lack of and get into the day with a cup of black tea and a cup of Chinese herbs.

Monday, June 15, 2009

A Day's Mix of Fantasy and Reality

Is this beautiful or what? I brought the banquet chandelier into the dining room and am hand stitching the twisted fabrics together on each of the metal tubes that make up the shape of this piece. Still have more brocade to ruffle and lights to chose. But I am loving the rococo quality of this chandelier. Lush fabrics, will add a plethora of drop crystals and four flame-like bulbs on stamen-like stalks that will surround that Chinese red vase in the very center. More photos to come. Now, just to balance this flight of fancy...

Five City of Houston inspectors visited the Second Seating building early this afternoon as part of the process for obtaining a 90 day occupancy permit. They shook their heads and said we needed the building number over the entrance and a host of other things that I will discover in their report later this week.
Fulfilling the 90 day occupancy permit requirements is another layer of administrative work that must now go into the making of this installation space. I'm thanking heaven I learned about it in time to make the place ready for the public to enter.
Let me now get back to the fun of mixing and matching fabric on a chandelier. And, by the way, I spoke with someone this morning who is now drawing sketches of a flying parrot pinata chandelier for Second Seating. Feral parrots are multiplying in Houston's East End of late and certainly, this installation will include the phenomenon.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Devoted to Second Seating - Every Day

What can I say? Another day devoted to Second Seating. Didn't get in the studio, but did a lot of errands for the show and began the days with a second trip to the city permitting department to make application for a 90 days occupancy permit and set up the first appointment with a city inspector. That would be Monday. We are moving at a brisk pace on this for which I am grateful.

Next, a visit to the chandelier shop where I picked up light fixtures made with oil pipe fittings and sketched out two more chandeliers for milk cartons and aerosol art. Stopped in another place for more special light bulbs for the oil pipe fixtures. Made another trip to pick up five more filigreed Clorox bottles from Carmella Rojas for the Clorox chandelier. She does really wonderful work on these bottles, intricate and sophisticated.
I know there were a few other errands, but they escape me for the moment. Am winding down and may go to a movie tonight. A real movie in a real theater.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Lunch at Irma's and Other Stuff

It just doesn't get any better or any fresher or any sweeter. That would be lunch at Irma's yesterday. Aggie and I had little bowls of beans a la charra, plates with 1/2 a chicken breast covered with mole sauce and 1/2 an enchilada filled with spinach so deftly sauteed it was still bright green.

All of this followed with coffee and a plate of warm sopapillas drenched with honey and dusted with crushed pecans and cinnamon. For dessert, we thought about flan, but Irma said that sopapillas went better with coffee. Of course.

I'd say our lunch was a perfect rendition of what could become Irma's 'Second Seating Lunch Special' that she'll serve during the exhibition.

Aggie and I've been running around for two days, thinking about lighting fixtures for Second Seating, seeing the actual space, talking to the chandelier man and to the owner's of an East End kitchen appliance resale shop. Plus a visit with Jesse Sifuentes to see how his coffee buffet table is progressing.We are aiming for a completion date of June 30 so that Laurie can photograph it for a new press release and we can get it moved from his garage into the Harrisburg studio. That's the plan.

And there was a gardener's discussion about the pomegranate trees in Jesse's front lawn. After that we drove over to a used kitchen appliance shop on Polk St. where Aggie spotted a vintage turquoise gas stove. She's thinking of designing a vignette, make that tableau, with an old stove, her etched metal as back splash all with assorted kitchen utensils and 'stuff.' Sounds wonderful, especially if placed adjacent to Ted Estrada's table which he is calling "Las Comadres en su Merienda" ("The Godmothers' Coffee/Tea Time").
It's been wonderful to have Aggie in town and great to talk with another person who 'sees' what can be for Second Seating just by looking at the space and who offers terrific suggestions and some ideas that never occurred to me.
I am really tired today and may take it easy this afternoon. Just do quiet things. Would that be back to collaging? And just a few phone calls. Perhaps?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Jesse's Work

Visited with Jesse Sifuentes over at TSU yesterday and caught up with what he's making for Second Seating. He's painting and glazing dinner plates with images he's used in the murals he painted at Rex Supply. Coffee cups carried on big flat bed trucks and on ships. Coffee cups as repetitive pattern.

In the center of this table he's creating will be a very, very large coffee cup with small coffee cups and a creamer attached to its rim. This coffee cup is ready to be glazed and fired. I have the feeling that someone is going to fall in love with this piece and we'll put a red dot on it immediately.

Monday, June 1, 2009

All In A Day's Work

Today, I'm engaged in moving images and objects around.  Of course, I want it to go well right away. Instead, I am going to undo everything and begin again. Tomorrow?  Nothing has fallen into place yet.  Actually I began with the image below. A simple grid of food images that I've liked for months.  It's sort of just been there, waiting to be assembled. But as soon as I pinned it together and said, 'It's a go,' then it was definitely NOT a go.
Took it all apart and I began again with other photos and then paint and then a plate.  Then paint on the plate.  Then added a spoon and seeing the three engraved initials, I knew I had the title of the piece. Should the collage by any stretch of the imagination actually pull itself together. But what is really troubling me about this collage is the machine stitching I ran down the right hand side of the fabric overlay. I am going to take every stitch out. It was meant simply to secure the fabric to the paper, but I can't stand it.

I have such trouble with glues and stitching. Perhaps because I am always trying to attach disparate things - photos on fabric, fabric on photos. Rarely does it all look seamless and I always hope that people over 40 years of age will be looking at my finished work and thus, be unable to focus on the lack of skill in gluing.

So I stopped work and got the camera out. There is always a chance that framing a portion of a piece will be the first step toward taking a good photograph and then perhaps the piece will turn into a photo instead of a collage. Not sure either is process working today.
By the way, I've also made and received numerous calls for Second Seating today, setting up appointments and 'moving the meter' as CK used to say. I'm a bit sleepy right now and could take a quick nap because a 4:00 call. Or head back out to the studio and take another look at the day's work.