Revealing by Adding or Removing

I was doing some thinking for a piece I was planning for a group show on books and art. The description I read that ignited my imagination described the few last trees beside a river at the edge of the tundra line. I could instantly visualize them as three people on a riverbank crossing paths, stopping momentarily to share a few words about their journeys. 

I thought I could incorporate wood or rock in my figures. That called for some research and experimentation. It just so happened that Artists Emporium had some beginner classes on carving wood and soapstone with Peter Symchuk – good place to start to get my fingers touching the materials and seeing where that led me.

I signed myself up. It is more fun attending with a partner so I bought a spot for my daughters in law as a christmas present. Sitting around a table with artists working and talking is time well spent.

Laura Lee Harasym and Lea Felbermair making a mess with me at classes.

It was a good exercise to have my fingers respond to new materials. It forced me to focus and listen. The crunch of the chisels reminded me of the crunch of the needles in felting. That felt comfortable.

The strange part was that I have been working so long at adding wool to my pieces as I sculpt while these two mediums involve taking pieces away to reveal the form. Going from a technique that I am comfortable with, to one that forces me to work my brain to subtract rather than add, was a stretch.

The exploration was well worth it. One skill set informs another. I never know where these encounters will lead and what paths they could lead to. Shaking up the brain connections helps to keep me humble and keeps me curious.

These are the beginnings of faces I made during the evening class. I’ve got more exploring to do before my vision matches the material.

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