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After much time and effort I managed to get most of the fluffy tail cut and assembled..
I use fresh box cutter blades and use cardboard which I has one layer of paper carefully removed by wetting the surface. Then its time to crank up the ipod.
I have given the tail a trim and blow-wave to settle the ‘fur’. I will come back to this at a more finished stage.
Details such as ears claws and eyes bring the piece to life. It’s best to use plastic pegs to clamp surfaces together, they don’t stick to PVA glue.
Throughout the process I look at ways to achieve a natural posture for the species, note the change of angle.
I will post more progress photos in the coming weeks.
Petaurus norfolcensis (endangered in Victoria) will become part of an installation to be seen at: The G.R.A.I.N. Store, Nathalia and will be opened Sunday June 19th, 2016 4pm by John Kean https://www.australianbookreview.com.au/about/author/1170-johnkean
A Squirrel Glider Petaurus norfolcensis (endangered in Victoria) held by Deb Fowler of Bohollow Wildlife Rescue, photographed by me in Kotupna Victoria 2015. This little chap had been injured and was ready for release.
He’s some progress photos of how to make a Squirrel Glider from this…
So here’s my progress so far:
A basic shape
Building up a shape
Adding limbs and looking at posture
Modifying head angle and increasing tail size
Starting work on tail detail (very time consuming)
More about the species and some amazing efforts to minimise road casualties can be seen at: https://lifeontheverge.net/tag/road-ecology/
I will post more progress photos in the coming weeks.
My last 2 weeks have been educational both for me and the arts community in Nathalia, (Yorta Yorta country) Northern Victoria. Meeting and working with US artist Bill Kelly OAM https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Kelly_(artist) was a privilege.
His wealth of experience and understanding of the role of the arts in communities and his establishment of THE G.R.A.I.N. STORE (Growing Rural Art In Victoria) http://www.thegrainstore.org/ added hugely to the value of my residency.
Ancient Barmah remnant Red-gums inspired this installation piece:
together with Superb Parrots by pre-schoolers:
some of which I saw on the Broken Creek and known as “Green Leeks”in the Nathalia district. Unfortunately green leeks are becoming a difficult to find species due to loss of food/nesting trees. I noticed large paddock trees ‘still being burnt in the area south of Picola, prime box eucalypt food habitat for Polytelis swainsonii. The recent trend by croppers to implement overhead spray irrigation means large paddock trees are being destroyed by the thousands (bush poet, indigenous plant seeding expert,Tammy Muir https://twitter.com/logiemuir)
Sculptured Green Leeks (by pre-schoolers) at their cardboard “hollow”.
A combined artist/community exhibition will take place at THE G.R.A.I.N STORE in June 2016.
We have been in residence at Nathalia Grainstore now for one and a half weeks and our redgum (which had to be finished before the weekend due to size limitations) is well on the way.
CARDBOARD GLUE GESSO AND PAINT PLUS LOTS OF EFFORT.
Tomorrow is another day and we will be seeing 20 pre-schoolers who will be making superb parrots which will be included in the final installation. Superb parrots are a rare and diminishing species and this part of the country is major habitat, red gums near water seem to be a favourite place for them to find nesting hollows.
Local lad and workshop participant Ian Bolton heads off with his masterpiece. However not everyone sees benefit in maintaining species and habitat..
THIS IS A HAPPY LITTLE SIGN WE GET TO READ EVERY MORNING ON OUR WAY INTO TOWN.
I could not have achieved what I have without the help of my partner and lover Heather, who has shown her graphic skills are still up to par.
Three days remain for my residency and still so much to do. Exhibition is scheduled for June.
My residency in Nathalia ended its first week with a sculpture workshop which invited community members to a hands-on cardboard art-making day.
I thought I had asked too much of my participants initially, but they proved up to the task as the day went on and we had some very promising results by days end.
Internationally known artist Bill Kelly attended and kindly spent much of his day assisting with any creative problems which occurred, I am indebted to him.
Fun was had by all and it proves serious subjects can be approached in a light-hearted and friendly manner.
Getting a 2d material into a 3d shape is often not easy but my workshop participants approached the problems with an enthusiasm, wonderful to see.
Drying in the intense sun at day’s end were little creature beginnings….
and their ‘tree’ hollow homes.
With another week to go who knows what will eventuate? Our collaborative exhibition will take place in June so the heat will soon be on to get some finished work ready for showing.
I am currently working on a community-based arts project which aims to increase public awareness and ecological response to species/habitat declines in the Goulburn/Broken/ Barmah system.
The Grainstore Community Arts Centre is sponsering my 2 week residency which so far has been amazing.
Philippa Schapper (left) has been wonderful, and Heather my partner has offered to help with some 2D works.
So far I have the beginnings of a Squirrel Glider, a species special to this part of Victoria and…
…. a River Red Gum, the majestic and iconic Australian water-course tree. Unfortunately most of the old trees have been destroyed in years past as part of forestry practice and many ancient ringbarked stumps are in evidence.
My residency will I hope shed some light on the importance of hollows and the need to retain what ancient trees remain.
Katrina who is visiting from Greece (centre) was amazed by the light and primeaval look of the forest at Hutt Lake on dusk.
to be continued…soon.
Do you see Jesus in your morning toast?
Monsters in floorboard woodgrain? “Researchers used MRI technology to monitor brain activity and determined that the frontal cortex, where expectations are generated, sent signals to the posterior visual cortex, which processes the…” blah blah… it’s just letting imagination flow. Nothing abnormal about this, artists (and scientists) should use this ability daily.
I’m waiting to hear of a robot which has…. imagination.
Today I’m making arid-land escarpment ‘rocks’ for our MIFGS installation, from cardboard. How? By using my imagination. Children with instruction do this all the time.
Sadly most people seem to lose this ability as they age. Adults these days require computer generated props or gaming software in order to learn to play. Commercial game makers have become a billion dollar industry by usurping adult imagination.
Life generally is governed by silent rules e.g. choosing which side of the road to drive, how to speak in a civil way, how to eat with ‘manners.’
This is something which is governed very much by culture. In China slurping as you eat and messing the table is considered appreciative of a meal, not so in the West. Nose blowing with handkerchief however, is not considered etiquette in the East. I sometimes think a lack of understanding of ‘foreign’ body language is an under-examined cause of conflict.
Making artwork is one happy place where rules do not apply, in fact artists have a habit of purposefully abandoning accepted ‘rules ‘or ‘manners’ to extend an idea, or experiment on audience reaction. The naked human body is an example of this and has been used by generations of artists in every conceivable manifestation. e.g. Stelarc hangs his naked body on hooks http://stelarc.org/?catID=20325
If asked how I make or why use a particular method, my answer is inevitably; I use what works for me. Power-saws, hammers and even boots are used to achieve shape. Or, how to determine shape, colour or surface?
Look at nature; it’s there for the asking.
So if you see Jesus in your morning toast, don’t despair, you may be an afflicted artist too.
MIFGS, Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show opens at Exhibition Buildings Melbourne, and surrounding gardens, 16th – 20th March 2016. We will be in the Boutique Garden section.
I was recently requested to submit some images from ‘Departure Lounge” 3D artwork (see Sculpture page on this site) for screening at the Ecological Society of Australia Annual Conference, which begins Nov 29th.
Here’s the blurb I wrote for the event:
“The sculpture project “Departure lounge” attempts to spotlight marsupial species threatened with extinction due to introduced predator impact and habitat loss, but also references the inherent threat human ‘requirements’ pose to their continued existence. Cardboard packaging used for consumables is employed as my medium, a material sourced from living trees, the home of many species and lungs of our planet”
It’s all still in the planning stage, but if all goes well this will be the first time I have participated in a science event….an artist in a room full of scientists, scary.
Most city slickers have never heard of, or would recognize a phascogale. So I made one and installed it in Louis Joel Gallery Melbourne.