Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Chandelier du Papier

When I take an art class, I like to carry a theme throughout the subject matter of my work so that by the end of the semester I have a series, of sorts. 

On a particularly inspiring day browsing the Chelsea galleries last December, I happened upon the exhibition of a young artist by the name of Amelia Biewald. Her motifs have a striking resemblance to Petah Coyne's (a well-established artist for whom I have been working for nearly four years). Biewald's exhibit was immature yet, her craftsmanship imperfect, and the quality of her media not aligned with the richness of her imagery, but the beauty within her ideas was unmistakable and not to be ignored. The exhibition was dim, cavernous, and romantically extravagant. She utilized images of chandeliers, deer heads, and cave mineral formations. You can view a handful of photographs of the exhibition here.

Long story short, the experience pumped some inspiration fuel into my tank and I chose to explore the subject matter of chandeliers for the duration of my silkscreen course this semester.

First, from a simple hand drawn stencil:

Second, a three color rubylith:

Next, a computer-generated half-tone with rubylith:

And finally, my most recent creation, a paper sculpture:

I started with three stencils. A hand drawn overlay of details, a simple line drawing of an octahedron for the crystals...

And a rubylith for the yellow background.

I wanted my chandelier to have a sort of imperfect, hand drawn quality. I knew I could drive myself crazy trying to achieve something perfect, so I embraced and exaggerated the imperfect nature of it.

Fortunately, I'm lucky enough to have access to a proper studio with all the amenities, most importantly, an exposure unit. There are ways of silkscreening without one, and if you're interested, there are plenty of excellent sources online with helpful instructions. 

I planned an edition of three sculptures, each one requiring 6 prints. So I pulled 18 prints of my chandelier on bristol board, and began the tedious process of cutting them all out with an Xacto knife.

I screened my octahedron onto translucent vellum in a pale blue, hoping to enhance their crystal-like qualities. I'm not entirely happy with the way my crystals turned out, and I'm currently toying with some ideas to push them further, perhaps varnishing them for some shine, or integrating more colors to suggest the spectrum.

To construct, I folded each chandelier print in half, rubber cementing them back to back in a circle, like slices of a pizza pie. For candle wicks I sandwiched a little piece of black yarn in between each of the candles faces. Finally, I dangled the crystals from the center of the chandelier and from the low point of each arm with needle and thread. String a cord through the hole at the top, hang it up, and your room gets a whole lot classier!

I had originally planned on keeping one chandelier for myself and attempting to sell the other two, and within minutes of finishing, my teacher and one of my classmates both offered to purchase one. So, it looks like I'll be expanding my edition!


1 comment:

    I love it, love it, love it…….and I want one too!!!
    You continue to amaze me Melody.