Wednesday, January 28, 2015

All Kinds of Paperwork


Today was spent doing all kinds of paperwork that didn't involve artistic creativity in any way. The paperwork consisted of tax reporting and W2 forms and bank ledgers and invoices and then reworking our embarrassingly out of date website.

After gathering what was needed and moving from my disaster-of-a-desk in the office at the shop, I moved into the back workroom. On that large and spotless table (normally used for fitting projects) I had plenty of space for two laptops as well as all the stacks of papers I needed. At the end of the day, everything was more-or-less finished, but the entire landscape looked like an elementary student's desk. Geez.

I did paperwork of that sort and similar other tasks for almost two decades when I worked as a secretary years ago. I used to write the minutes of Board meetings and before that I kept track of how millions of dollars were spent dollar-by-dollar for the city department I worked for... and I was happy enough in those jobs. But these days, the only paperwork I really want to do is paperwork involving painting and cutting and pasting.

A few of the "wings" centerpieces.
This past fall, my major paperwork consisted of creating several small and one large three-dimensional  "wings" sculptures to be used as centerpieces on tables for a group one of my daughter's is involved with. After those were completed, I thought it had been successful enough to begin a more challenging wings project and decided to create a set that is over five feet tall and sturdy. I got a fairly reasonable start on them, but then the shop got too busy for me to devote any time on them.

One of the small "wings" centerpieces.
It's incredibly challenging to take up an abandoned project -- and the reason for that abandonment makes no difference. It seems there's always something new I'm wanting to do (and probably never finish either.) It's one of the worst traits many artsy-fartsy people share. We are super at starting. We are frail at finishing. It's a terribly immature, destructive, wasteful and lazy trait.

This spring, we'll see how lazy and immature and wasteful I am... oh, how I hate being accountable! But my daughter Alicia... she'll be asking about them. God bless Alicia. God bless all her pointed little comments to her beloved Mother-Sweet-Mother!

I started by cutting out the basic shape of the wings and sanding each piece.  I've been trying to improve on my poor circular saw skills.  My dad used to tell me that I was going to cut off a leg because I was careless and didn't use good judgement about how I set up a cut.  To combat this proclivity for recklessness, I've tried to behave slightly more like a human instead of a monkey when I'm cutting. But I still love power tools so much it's hard for me to settle down and behave.

After the boards were cut, it was on to figuring out how they would actually look.  Unfortunately, I made a mistake right at the beginning and started forming the left wing from the right cut-out and the right wing from the left cut-out so my original sketch of what they were supposed to look like was messed up.  Another GEEZ!

I made extensions to flesh out the support out of foam core and screwed them to the base. They seemed sturdy enough to withstand the process but I really wasn't confident about how well they'd hold up when they were drenched with water.

The bases made, I noticed they looked more like giant ears than anything else. I'm still bummed that I messed up the original design, but think they'll work.  They are folded wings, after all.

Next came the foundation for the "feathers." It's just water-logged paper soaked in flour. I'm always amazed at how well this elementary school trick works.  Thank you, Mrs. Stormes (my grade-school art teacher!) for this tip as well as the millions of others you shared with us. God bless you.
It took so long for the wing-folds to dry, I started to become wonder if it would even work. It was also hard to leave the folds alone and stop fiddling with their positioning. I was a little concerned with the possibility of mildew they were so big and so wet, but it dried a little each day and finally they were as stiff and sturdy as I could have hoped for.

They dried a little each day -- very little each day.

I began to add the layers of "feathers" but didn't get far. We got so busy beginning in August that I haven't been able to work on them since. This winter I'm likely have a few days. Oh how I love a quiet snowy day in February and March! I'm anxious to take this project back up. They've been hanging in the mat-cutting room taunting me for months. I desperately want to finish the feather-work so I can begin the painting. That's the part I am most excited to do. NO! I'm most excited to hang the finished wings in the gallery!