Toc, toc, qui est la? It seems fitting to start this post with an inviting door knocker, which we saw many examples of around France. Here’s the last selection of miscellaneous photographs I took last fall during our trip to Provence and along the Canal du Midi. There are doors, gates, grape vines, mermaids and vegetable gardens that somehow touched my fancy. I’ve enjoyed bringing you along on this visit to beautiful France!
I’m excited to share this new Hither and Yon video that my husband Rob made. It documents the making and installation of my sculpture, which is part of this summer’s “Portals and Passageways” exhibit at Highfield Hall and Gardens in Falmouth, MA. The show will be there through Sept. 7th, so there’s still time to roam the beautiful grounds and see all of the varied interpretations of the theme.
Over the spring, Rob filmed the making of the piece, starting with a scene of me cutting down the naturally bowed tree I found in the snowy woods. During the next few weeks, I called him into my studio periodically to record different stages of the process; drawing out the lettering, wrapping wire with felt, stitching and forming the words. The film ends with a time lapse sequence showing the installation of the piece at Highfield Hall. Rob and I had so much fun working on this video. I hope that you enjoy it!
I’ve really liked being involved with the exhibit and connecting with some of the other artists. I met Linda Hoffman, who invited me to bring Hither and Yon to her Frog Pond Farm in Harvard, MA for her annual sculpture walk, Around the Pond and Through the Woods. It looks like a beautiful property and she’s picked out a couple of trees for me choose from. We’ll be transporting the sculpture on top of my car and installing it soon after the Falmouth show ends. The exhibit opens Sept. 14th, 1-5 pm and there’s an artist reception on Sun., Sept 21, which I hope to attend.
There’s going to be another outdoor art exhibit at Highfield Hall in Falmouth, Massachusetts, Portals and Passageways. I’m excited to be a part of this Cape Cod Art and Environmental Sculpture Exhibit.
June 29 – Sept. 7, 2014 ~ Portals and Passageways, Highfield Hall, Falmouth, MA. Artist Reception: June 29, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm.
Update: See the Hither and Yon video here.
Last summer, I curated the Fairy Houses of Beebe Woods Exhibit at Highfield Hall (to return in 2015), but this year I am happy to be just one of the artists who’s made a portal or passageway for this year’s show.
My piece, Hither and Yon uses the same felt covered wire lettering technique that I’ve used in other projects (see here). But this time, the scale is LARGE!
Last winter, after being invited to make an installation, I walked around the Highfield property, looking for a spot that called to me. Coming down the path along the west garden, I saw a beech tree leaning toward the path and envisioned a curved branch arching over, creating a space to pass under. I immediately knew that this was where my passageway would be located! I wanted to incorporate words into a kind of sign.
I searched the woods around our house and located an 8′ young tree that had grown with a natural bend. I cut it down and brought it over to the Highfield site to see if it would work. Rob took a photo of me holding the branch up against the leaning beech tree and it was the perfect size and shape! I reduced the photo’s contrast and printed out a bunch of copies. After settling on the words, “Hither and Yon”, I drew on top of the photo, outlining the branch with a marker, trying out several designs. I carried the branch into my studio, lay it on my work table and drew out the letters to scale on a large piece of paper. This would be used as a template to form the felt covered wire letters.
I wound wire with 1/2″ wide (or larger) strips of felt and embroidered it with rows of seed stitches. I used acrylic felt because it’s cheap and I figured that it would hold up through rainy weather. There had to be decorative stitching, of course, even though the sign would be hanging up high, away from close inspection.
I bent the wire, writing out the letters and sewing them in place.
Being an outdoor sculpture, the sign had to withstand the forces of wind and rain. I attached screw eyes to the wooden branch, which anchored the wire (covered in white) and reinforced the lettering, helping to keep it stable and in position. I sewed the letters wherever I could to the grey underline strip and the white covered wire.
Yes, it had to be strong, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t add another stretch of decorative zig-zagged wire and wooden beads along the top.
The last challenge was figuring out how to attached the sign to the beech tree without hammering or drilling into the trunk. My engineer husband Rob’s suggestion of using ratchet straps worked beautifully! I padded the lower part of the branch with an old yoga mat and covered it with some cotton fabric that was a close match to the tree’s bark. The glaring red ratchet straps were also padded and covered with the camouflage fabric. Hither and Yon is now installed and hardly moves at all in the wind– just the suspended beads at the tip flutter around. Let’s hope that it holds up through the summer. It is so satisfying to have an idea, not knowing exactly how it will come out and working toward making it appear as you envisioned. And it’s come out exactly how I saw it in my mind!
I’d like to thank Annie Dean of Highfield Hall for her perseverance and vision in making this show a reality. Portals and Passageways looks to be an exciting event and I hope that many of you can come see it. You can walk around the grounds any time, not just when the museum is open.
While in Cuba last March, we took bus trips out of Havana and had the opportunity to walk in the botanical gardens and in a mangrove forest. My husband Rob concentrated on photographing wildlife and I took pictures of trees.
Rob took tons of pictures of this bird and got one good one.
The botanical gardens…
We were told that this snake was harmless.
An agave plant. It’s good to see where the liquid sweetener comes from.
The view from Ernest Hemingway’s house, overlooking Havana.
It’s relatively warm today (in the 40’s), but the snowy ground and ocean water are still chilly. Sometimes that combination creates a thick fog and today it lured us outside. After lunch, Rob and I grabbed our cameras and drove around Quisset and Woods Hole to take photos. This section shows another view of our seaside village, from a floating dingy surrounded by ice to the dormant communal garden behind Challenger House. Even in winter, Nobska light’s fog horn sends a warning out to sea.