Mon, Oct 9th, 2017 This project had a few passages of its own. I met Steve and Nancy at the Boston Mills Art Festival in the summer of 2017. After walking the whole show, they decided they wanted to work with me on creating a wall sculpture for the new addition to their home. Steve said, 'it's for the end of the bridge. You have to come and see it.' And so I did.
They, in fact, built a bridge to connect their original home with their new addition. This allowed the woods behind their home to sit undisturbed and pulled the 'outside inside' as it were. It is a spectacular bridge and a beautiful home.
When you leave the original home you experience the entry to the bridge. At the far end is a wall and that's the Art Spot. We came up with a size and worked on images, ideas, colors, and textures. I always take snapshots of various influences to remember the home. And so our project began.
When I got back to the studio in late July, I created a drawing, got the approval and my work began in clay. I created 32 - 7"x7" tiles pounding each one out and laying them all flat on the table. I sketch the outline then begin working on the whole piece. I work from lines to texture, then volume and finally, refinement. During this phase, Passages was on the table about a week.
Once dry and through the first firing stage, we had a phone color consult (to ensure I remembered the details correctly) and then glazing began. At this point, we just entered September. I had a scheduled delivery for late September, so I was working hard and fast.
It is important to note, at this point in the story, I have not lived with a television in my home for more than 11 years. The good news is I'm not influenced by the noise & drama of the news loop. Instead, I opt to listen to the quieter and to me, more interesting, NPR. That means if I don't turn the radio on, I am sometimes a bit in the dark about things I should probably know. In this case, it was the fast approaching and rapidly growing hurricane Irma heading straight for Florida. I was working on 2 Ohio commissions so I was busily keeping to my already tight schedule when I heard an inkling of this storm. Of course by the time I heard it, panic began to ensue.
My kiln was firing as the panic grew and I rushed around my home and studio taking everything down, bundling all my supplies in containers and generally getting ready for what was clearly a mammoth storm. Around midnight when the kiln was about 1400 degrees and cooling, I decided I needed to leave and fast. So the next day I quick cooled the kiln and packed the hot tiles, all my tools, and needed supplies along with my dog and my friend & studio assistant, Cathy, into the van. We left at 10 pm and drove all night to Atlanta, GA. There, safely at Cathy's niece's house, we were allowed to set up a satellite studio and continue framing and finishing the two Ohio commissions.
It was a scary time and a whirlwind of activity but luckily, all ended well. Though Irma was headed for a direct hit to St. Petersburg, at the last minute she veered off and missed our sleepy little Gulfport community. My home and studio were spared and I was able to deliver my work 10 days early. I called it my Evacuation Business Trip. Cathy, Ty & I drove to Nancy and Steve's home and installed Passages. It is a perfect fit and a fun story to boot! They are thrilled and I was grateful for all the angels that protected us on that long and somewhat harrowing journey.
Thank you, Steve and Nancy, for accommodating our changing schedule and offering to help in all the ways you did!