Dolores Poacelli: No Relationship without Tension

I was at Art in the Open walking by the Schuylkill toward the Waterworks when I saw a woman working on this interesting piece

“How cool,”  I thought.  I went to get a closer look. . .

and met the artist,  Dolores Poacelli.   She told me the piece was composed of discarded aluminum printers plates she found in the trash.  “I’m a dumpster diver,” she said, ” and my studio is in the Italian Market.”  That’s all I had to hear to feel a connection.   But there was something else that attracted me to her work.  What?

Dolores on the right explains her process to Jeri

  The unifying factor in her body of work is an ongoing exploration of the relationship between color, shape, texture, space and tension.   Her exploration of these elements, while subtle and nuanced,  animates the  monochromatic  piece  and makes it interesting. Want to see more?  Her web site is full of  compositions  where she studies these relationships in metal, paper, collage, paint and mixed media.  Take a look!  Press here to see more of Poacelli’s work.

 Wooden Sculpture by Dolores Poacelli on the banks of the Schuylkill

 

Art in the Open: Brian Dennis

When my friend Jeri told me that her friend Brian was participating in the second Philadelphia Art in the Open, which  took place  on June 9-12, 2011,  I was itching to go. I had never seen one of his installations “in person” before, but I had seen The Brian Dennis Project – a film documenting  how he designed a wooden installation  that seemed to defy gravity and then built it on a staircase inside the Philadelphia Art Alliance in 2004.   (To see pictures of  the installation, “Leaning Keep,” press here.)

Art in the Open aims to  give a different perspective on the creative process by inviting the public to watch artists working outdoors and, consequently, enabling artists to draw inspiration directly the environment.  In Philadelphia, this is an urban environment.  So it seemed appropriate that Brian had decided to build giant towers under a bridge near the  Waterworks.   

On our drive there, Jeri told me that Brian built the towers from  wooden coffee stirrers.   Talk about the environment having an effect on the creative process!  We wondered how the towers had withstood thunderstorms the night before.  Were they still there?  What would they look like?

We met Brian standing in front of his installation answering people’s questions and talking  about the challenges of building an art installation on a steep, rocky incline under a bridge trestle during a heat wave.  But he wasn’t alone; he  explained good naturedly  how a family of   baby rats, a  garter snake and a  suspicious groundhog watched his every move.  And take it from me, Philadelphia groundhogs are tough!  Brian knew enough not to mess with the groundhog (he was on the groundhog’s turf, after all) and he completed the installation.    To see the installation as it looked when Brian finished it, press here

But then it rained and the installation took on a different form.  Not what Brian had planned.  Even so, his installation  caught the attention of everyone who passed by the next day.

Here are some pictures.  

And a couple who had just gotten married had the courage to climb up under the bridge to have some wedding photographs taken next to Brian’s creation.  I wonder if the rats, snake and groundhog minded?

 To go to Brian’s web site, press here.    To go to his blog, which contains in-depth information about the creation of the installation, press here.

Resin and Bezels


I have been practicing soldering and trying new projects including backless bezels and prongs.  All the pieces below are made from recycled metal.

I poured the resin into the bezel after completing the bezel.  I put packing tape on the back to keep the resin from seeping out.  The color comes from alcohol ink.  I put in a tiny bit and carefully swirled it with a tooth pick so as not to make more air bubbles.  After pouring a layer of resin, I put in another tiny drop and allowed it to spread without swirling.  I also put in some glitter and metal leaf to see what it would do.

The back.  I had a hard time cleaning the metal as you can see.  Next time it will go in the tumbler with the stainless steel shot!

I didn’t like the way the top turned out, so I sanded it and poured it again.  I think the dome is a little too high, but now the top has no dings.

The  circular pieces of metal are  scraps left after I trimmed a thin piece of metal with  tin snips.  The blue comes from blue pulver powder.  Pearlex would work, too.

There are obvious air bubbles in the resin, but I didn’t try to coax them out.  I think they give the pendant an aquatic feel.  I also floated some metal leaf in the resin.

My first attempt at prongs using Joanna Gollberg’s article “Fresh Prongs” in the July 2011 issue of Art Jewelry as a guide.  No binding wire needed!   Check out Gollberg’s book, Making Metal Jewelry for more great ideas.

I poured the resin cube in a plastic pill organizer.  They make great resin molds; the cured cubes just slip out and the surface on the top and sides are nice and shiny.  I probably poured resin in the back before unmolding because the resin will shrink and dip a bit in the curing. 

 

The prongs need to be higher, but they hold the cube securely.  I don’t think the resin cube is spectacular enough to make this a memorable necklace, but I wanted to try making a prong setting before attempting to make five or six more and using them and resin cubes to make a bracelet.  I think that would look interesting.

 

Take a look at Susan Lenart Kazmer’s DVD Exploring Resin  to learn some interesting resin techniques including how to cast resin in an open bezel.

Litter Critters!

The City of Philadelphia invested in some solar powered trash and recycling units a couple of years ago.  But I knew something was up when I was walking on South Street recently and saw they had mysteriously transformed into brightly colored animals.  Litter Critters are a product of  the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program’s   Big Picture Program in which artists work with kids aged 10 to 14 to give them visual art training and to  promote social responsibility.       I’d say the Litter Critters fills the bill.  Hey, I’d rather feed my trash to a happy critter than a trash unit, even a solar powered one, any day in the week. Wouldn’t you?

Here are some pictures.

For more information on this program, press here and here.

Take a Peek into My Workshop

It’s been a while since Libby Mills  profiled my workshop in her blog’s Studio Snapshot series.  Since then, I’ve branched out into other mediums including felt,  do more metalsmithing,  and have acquired some new tools.

I am lucky enough to have a dedicated space for my work, but I live in a small house and purge regularly out of necessity.  This includes my workshop.  My current set up is the result of  regular purging and many wasted hours playing Tetris.

Here are some pictures of the ordered chaos.