Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Helping Judi

Seize the moment many say, a slogan that at times comes and goes from my life. But lately I've been keeping my eyes and ears open for special opportunities that will help me grow as an artists and hope that it will take me to the next level in achieving my goals. That day came recently when artist Judi Harvest walked into my store looking for an assistant. I didn't know who she was or what her work was about, but I got a good feeling from her and I jumped in her site saying "I can do it."
She explained that this was her first time getting an assistant, she has never had the need for one since she likes to make her work all by herself. But after being invited to show in Art Miami on a very short notice she needed all the help she could get. The project at hand is to create one large scale "bee hive" and a 20 foot painting to accompany it in an installation. Judi has been working on a series of paintings dedicated to bees, creatures facing extinction. From the paintings she has moved on to creating mixed media sculptures of bee hives, a process involving chicken wire, porcelain, bees wax, resin, and gold leaf among other materials.
As I walk in her studio Monday morning a chicken wire structure hung low at the end of the entrance hall. After some brain storming we decided that we should stick with the structure she had already begun. Creating another structure out of heavier metal hardware was out of the question, and so we proceeded to hang the naked bones for the bee hive to the middle of the studio. After we decided on the right height we tweaked with the shape some more, and by the end of day one we had the final shape for the large bee hive.
Day two begun with admiring some of the porcelain work that had been done a few nights before. It was time to keep covering the structure with the play dough like porcelain, a job we already knew would take days.
Like busy working bees we moved along adding porcelain here and there, leaving open areas that will serve as peek holes for elements inside the sculpture. The holes will also be a good way for viewers to look out from inside the bee hive while they stay inside listening to soundtracks of bees and bee related music.
Moving right along we keep covering the wire, stopping only for air here and there and for the occasional bath room break.
By the end of day two we had gone through eleven packages of porcelain, more than enough to cover one of her regular size sculptures. Judi has estimated we will need about eighty to eighty five of these containers, but as I left her studio we were both thinking we might need more. By the end of the week we will have a better idea about this.

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