Friday, 12 October 2018

The "Before the Rush Show" - New 3D Collection on Display

The last year has been a big transition for me into metalsmithing - lots of new skills to learn, tools to use and a very different creative process to understand.  I have thoroughly enjoyed all of it.

The transition from pierced and cut metal work in jewelry to what I call, 3D MetalScapes, has been an interesting road and I am very pleased with the finished pieces.  All of these will be on display at the Before the Rush Show at The Ivy Restaurant and Coach House, just off the 1000 Islands Parkway in Lansdowne on November 2, 3 and 4, 2018.   Check out Before the Rush

3D Z Fold Metal Sculpture

The first idea I had stemmed from people who create cut paper art and they use a scalpel.  Their cutting process is so delicate - fascinating!  However, I wanted to continue working in metal and so transferred the cut paper idea to cut metal.    This piece is called "A Walk in the Park" (Z fold). A man with his dog, a mother and son, a father and two boys with a football, a couple of joggers all headed up the hill towards the row of pine trees.  The Copper and Brass metals are Pierced and cut using a very fine jeweller's saw and then etched with an acid for added definition.  Colours are then added to trees and foliage. 


Paper luminaries have always been a favourite of mine and so for the second piece I chose to make a metal luminary with each side having a different woodland scene.  Inside is a battery votive candle that changes colour and is much safer and cleaner than a real candle.  

The Rainbow Fleet

Then I began to experiment with plexiglass in layers.  Deciding on the theme of the first piece was easy, as I wanted to do a marine sailing piece for my husband who is an avid sailor.  Here is "The Rainbow Fleet".  The boats are distributed on different levels of the plexiglass to give the scene depth.  When viewed with backlight in front of a window it has a different look through the painted opaque piece of plexiglass at the back.

The Story of The Rainbow

The Rainbow, known everywhere but on Nantucket as a Beetle Cat, has become a well-loved island icon.  The Rainbows first were immortalized rounding Brant Point on a 1930 postcard by H. Marshall Gardiner, but now they are portrayed on all manner of commercial goods representing Nantucket: candy tins, embroidered pillows, plates, jewelry and all types of art. The Rainbow Fleet remains active and races in the harbor every Saturday through the summer, and parades around Brant Point every year prior to the start of the Opera House Cup Regatta.

This pretty little boat with the colorful nickname has an interesting history. The Rainbow is one of a series of catboats that have been active on Nantucket since the 19th century. John Beetle of New Bedford, Mass., designed the 12-foot gaff-rigged, shallow-draft wooden Beetle Cat in 1920 as a safe, fun boat for children to sail. The Nantucket Yacht Club brought it to the island in 1926 to start a racing fleet for young children, and each boat was given a different colored sail so parents could identify where their child was. Hence, the Rainbow Fleet.

Austin Strong, commodore of the Nantucket Yacht Club in 1930, was a great promoter, and he staged the famous photograph of the Rainbow Fleet with Gardiner to promote both the club and Nantucket as a summer resort, according to a 1991 article in the Nantucket Journal by C.S. “Butsy” Lovelace. Writes Lovelace: “If you look closely, the little boats are all tied together. This is not a lucky shot. It was staged for the big reflex camera on its tripod. … I was 9 years old. You can see my little head just above the coaming of the sixth boat. That’s my brother Dick’s boat, North Star [No. 21].”

The Rainbow tradition has continued through generations. “My mother started sailing when she was about 12. I spent my whole life hearing her talk about sailing in the Rainbow, and I’ve always wanted one,” says Mijke Roggeveen, a sailor and the granddaughter of Marshall Gardiner. “Last summer I finally went and bought one with a blue sail — No. 6, just like my mother’s original boat — and surprised her with it. My 80-year-old mother said, ‘It’s a beautiful boat,’ then climbed in, grabbed the tiller and sailed away.”

The Rainbows are loved for their solidness and ease of handling. They can be taken onto the beach for a picnic or sailed around the harbor in a good breeze. “It’s a comfortable, safe boat,” says Roggeveen. “Kids need to be able to mess about in boats and learn, and now my two sons are sailing in the blue Rainbow just like their grandmother used to do.”

The Nantucket Rainbow Fleet almost died in the 1970s, when many of the boats were disintegrating in people’s garages or back yards, and children were racing faster, more exciting fiberglass boats.  Local sailor Alan Newhouse, who had started sailing in a Rainbow in 1927, decided to get the fleet going again.

“I went around and found several boats in back yards, put them back together and fiberglassed the hulls to hold them together and keep afloat,” says Newhouse. “I got 12 or 15 Rainbows sailing again and sold or gave them to people if they promised to race.” Newhouse’s efforts got the Rainbow Fleet going again, and this time it was the adults instead of the children who were racing them.

There are now around 70 Rainbows on Nantucket, although not all of them are in the water. Anne and Dennis Cross were fleet captains for the Rainbow Class for several years and did much to get the sailboats out of back yards and into the water. This summer marks the 11th Annual Rainbow Parade around Brant Point on the morning of the Opera House Cup Regatta, and there likely will be hundreds of spectators cheering from the beach. Anne Cross initiated the event to get the Rainbows out on the water, distributing flyers weighted down with pebbles to all the Rainbows in the harbor and ensuring that there were plenty of sails of different colors.

Today, every Rainbow has a colored sail, but not all are solid colors. There are sails with stripes, stars, a cloud, even an American flag. While there are other Beetle Cat fleets, the Nantucket fleet is unique in that it’s the only fleet with rainbow-hue sails.

The Rainbow is still being built today to the same specs as the original — framed in oak, with cedar planking and Douglas fir spars.

This article is from Soundings Online.

Then came "Bubble Boy" with his cats enjoying the streams of bubbles he loves to blow.  The layers of plexiglass allow shadows to be cast from the image on the front layers.  Interesting effect!

"Fun in the Garden" - a little girl playing ball with her dogs.  One dog is joining in, but the other one is fixated on a bird sitting on the bird feeder in the tree.

The next piece was an inspiration from an old friend I had worked with as Executive Assistant for a number of years and he was passionate about hockey.  So, I went to the internet to do some research and was amazed at the huge tournaments that are out there on frozen lakes divided into rinks. But I wanted something more intimate and informal and soon found some information and photos of children playing on a small frozen pond.  That was the light bulb moment and so I present (with thanks to my friend, Steve) "Pond Hockey".

All the above pieces evolved over a number of months and during September, I realized I could only complete maybe two more pieces before the show in November.  I wanted to include something that went back to my beginning in jewelry making and so it had to be a dragon.  I was a great fan of Ann McCaffrey, the author of a wonderful series of novels called The Dragonriders of Pern.  I began sculpting dragons in polymer clay as pendants many years ago and one of my favourites is "Rylar - The Music Dragon".  All my dragons came with a name and a little story.  Here he is and I still have him - he is mine!

Not only is Rylar an extremely handsome dragon, but he can compose and play the most beautiful music on any instrument he chooses.  Rylar learnt at a very young age that music calms the troubled breast and his natural talent allows him to enthrall any who hear him perform.

Today, Rylar has invited his young friend, Katie, to learn to sing his very latest composition.  In just a few days Katie and Rylar will perform this piece at a Celebration of Music in the Great Dragon Hall in the White Mountains.  Katie has a clear, haunting voice which will be perfect for this piece called "Butterflies Come Dancing".

Here are the lyrics for the first verse:

Summer has brought warm breezes that waft 

Through the flowers, their colours entrancing.

Without a sound, their wings so soft,

The butterflies come dancing.

To continue with the magical and mythical theme, here is "Woodland Fairies".

As the summer comes to an end, our Woodland Fairies have a lot of work to do.  All of the leaves on the trees have to be painted with red or yellow and many colours in between. Each year we enjoy the glorious beauty of Fall that they create. 

This year Ria has chosen to paint the yellow shades and Kyla is painting the reds. 
They have some help today, as Peapod (the rabbit) and Jumper (the Squirrel) have offered to hold the big bell flowers which contain the magical paint the fairies use and they are trying very hard not to spill too much, as they balance on top of the huge toadstools.  

As Summer quietly slips away and it's breezes they turn cold,

Fairies fly around the wood painting green leaves red and gold.

The trees in all their glory are a very beautiful sight

And we will enjoy them all, before our world turns white.

And so the 3D Collection is complete for 2018.  I do hope that you have found this interesting and that, if you are in this area, you will come to visit all the artists at Before the Rush 2018.

Thank you for your interest.

The Artful Dragon Studio