Why make objects: Proust

Untitled, originally uploaded by kaitschott.

I feel that there is much to be said for the Celtic belief that the souls of those whom we have lost are held captive in some inferior being, in an animal, in a plant, in some inanimate object, and so effectively lost to us until the day (which to many never comes) when we happen to pass by the tree or to obtain possession of the object which forms their prison. Then they start and tremble, they call us by our name, and as soon as we have recognised their voice the spell is broken. We have delivered them: they have overcome death and return to share our life.

And so it is with our own past. It is a labour in vain to attempt to recapture it: all the efforts of our intellect must prove futile. The past is hidden somewhere outside the realm, beyond the reach of intellect, in some material object (in the sensation which that material object will give us) which we do not suspect. And as for that object, it depends on chance whether we come upon it or not before we ourselves must die.

Proust, Overture, Swann’s Way

If objects are this powerful, what an important undertaking it is to make them.

Stuff in my head

1. thinking, 2. garden earrings, 3. Eko-Lab at (Re)Fashion fiber Exhibition, 4. [Dalen, Telemarken (i.e, Telemark), Norway] (LOC), 5. Restoration project II, 6. footstool, 7. ivory,bone,steel,stainless,silver,wood & leather, 8. kristen-mcmenamy10, 9. Industrial Scroll, 10. AllSaints SS2011 rosalina wood heel, 11. cable, 12. Wood Print Block, 13. Meditations, 14. Carrara, Marble quarry/mine, 15. Hairpin at Festa delle Cerase, 16. saint barbara, 17. _8532, 18. dawn from my window, 19. GEORGIA HARDINGE Fall 2011 3, 20. Bora Aksu FW07 3, 21. sling, 22. Herbarium – Siobhan Healy 1, 23. New butterfly cuff, 24. Gris a Barcelona, 25. (Brooch) – Early crystal layout…6/7 years..no even numbers.., 26. Controlled Chaos Bracelet, 27. Regal Earrings, 28. Museo Civico Della Filigana Pietro Carlo Bosio 4, 29. _8574, 30. Tesselated Ceiling 2, 31. Warner Theatre, Erie 37, 32. Detail, 33. new snap objects are finished!, 34. Imaginary phasmid drawings… (Macropterous vs. Apterous), 35. a medio proceso de lijado, 36. Victorian Grille

Look, it’s done!

How to work the toggle clasp, originally uploaded by kaitschott.

done carving, ready to paint

done carving, ready to paint, originally uploaded by kaitschott.

That faint music in the background?
Unintentional, but I think we were listening
to this or this.

working on the cowlick

working on the cowlick, originally uploaded by kaitschott.

One of the things that I didn’t anticipate
before working with wood for the first time
is how crucial the direction of the wood grain
is to the form that one is trying to carve out.

It is not that the direction of grain
makes certain things impossible,
only sometimes difficult or awkward.

The closest analogy I can think of is
when someone has a cowlick in their hair.
You can try to cut it or comb it any way you please,
but it has a stubborn nature,
and things work out much better
if you try to work with it rather than against it.

Wood grain is like that.
With such a complex form,
I knew that every part could not run
nicely ‘with the grain.’
Some parts would not be well-oriented
and would therefore be more un-cooperative and tricky.

That bit, the concave surface leading into the tail?
That’s the cowlick of this piece.

project outline here
full photo set here

Playing catch up

So the piece for Replanting the Garden is done!  Carved, painted, packed, and shipped to the gallery.  The last month was very much a case of don’t-have-time-to-post-must-carve-every-free-minute-with-only-the-briefest-pause-to-take-some-photos-along-the-way. Whew!  But I did take photos along the way, so it is just a matter of getting them sorted and posted.  I’ve begun to get them all up on Flickr, starting from where we left off here.  I’ll keep posting them there, along with a few casual notes, and then try to do something of a summary back here.  It’s been quite an undertaking, but it was very satisfying, much was learned along the way.

For those who like to have the end in sight, here’s a little sneak peek at the finished piece:

If you prefer the quick, no text version of the story, you can watch a slideshow here.

project outline here.


refining a leaf/petal, originally uploaded by kaitschott.

I have been documenting the piece
at various stages of progress.
However, I have been too busy to post them,
as I have been spending almost every free moment
doing this.

I will post the step-by-steps
and some thoughts on things I’ve learned
as soon as I have the chance.

Stay tuned…

starting up

More at Flickr.

La deluge

flooded island, originally uploaded by kaitschott.

As I whittle away, the Mississippi River flooded for the first time in the nine years since we moved here.  I’ve heard that it floods about every seven years, so it is a bit overdue.  It crested about a week ago and is on its way back down again.  We are all safe and dry.  Can’t help but think about the outside panels of  The Garden of Earthly Delights and some other works of his depicting “the flood.”  The project at hand becomes the frame through which we see the rest of life. Isn’t that how it always is?
More pics and video at Flickr.

Proof of Concept

It’s crunch time…can I do this?

Here’s the roughed out shape again….

sketching in petal/leaves and beginning to cut in….

Starting in on the second row….

All the petal shapes rough cut….

Adding some contours….

So, after a week’s work on this strategy, I’m confident I can create the effect that I want well enough.

Next Step: Rough out the final main pendant shape.
Stay tuned….