Friday, April 12, 2013

The Seven Deadly Sins: Gluttony - Part 4

It was time to "put it all together". I had everything done (except the door pulls, which were being glaze fired) so I decided to go ahead and assemble what I could. First I laid everything out - the cabinet and its doors and hardware, the mask and the nameplate and three drywall screws.

When I first started working on The Seven Deadly Sins concept, I had made some name-plates for the seven cabinets, rolling out a slab of clay, using my Poetry Stones Kit letters to stamp out the seven sins and punching holes for screws to affix them to the cabinets when the time came. I had finished these by reserving out the letters and glazing the rest with crackle white glaze and raku firing them; they had been in storage for over ten years, waiting for me to finally get back to the project.

I had also thrown a doorpull master all those years ago, of which I finally made a bi-valve mold this Spring. After making two casts from the mold and letting them harden a bit, I incised them with what I hoped might look like a rotting apple (if you really used your imagination) and made holes to take threaded inserts for screws to affix to the doors. I bisque fired them to Cone 06. After firing (and determining that they would work with the inserts), I applied black glaze to the tops, pulling off the excess so the glaze only remained in the incised areas; then I glazed all but the bottoms with my Pearl White glaze - tying them back to the nameplates I had made all those years ago.

My first step was to attach the doors to the rest of the cabinet using the tiny little hinges my handyman/friend Keith had given me. Then, using black drywall screws (which looked perfect with its raku finish), I attached the nameplate at the top center inside the cabinet. I had to do this very carefully because the plaque was not perfectly flat and if I screwed it down too tightly on both sides, it could easily crack; so, using a small cordless screw driver, I worked very slowly and checked frequently to make sure it was tight but not too tight. The screws were much too long, of course, so I marked them after I drilled them in, then took them out and cut them off using a pair of bolt cutters. This way, they firmly held the nameplate in place without extending beyond the back of the cabinet, which would have created considerable problems when installing the piece.

With the cabinet sitting up, I figured out where I wanted the mask to sit, then measured how far down from the top of the mask the wire would stretch when the piece was hung inside the cabinet. Measuring to the center and then three inches down from where I wanted the top of the mask to rest (the distance between the top of the mask and the wire), I drove another drywall screw in at an angle. After making sure I liked how the mask was oriented, I took out the mask, removed the screw, cut it down so it would not extend beyond the back of the cabinet, then replaced it.

When the doorpulls were fired and cooled, I placed them on the outside of the doors. I marked and drilled holes, then put the screws through and put the threaded inserts on them. After making sure that the doorpulls were going to look right and work correctly, I filled both with epoxy and put the over the inserts and screws, making sure the "rotten apples" were correctly oriented.

I thought the piece was "done". I was actually pretty happy with it - the contrast between the innocuous exterior and the excess of the interior was working for me. My best friend, Catherine, came over to go out to lunch (she had generously offered to treat me to celebrate the successful refinancing of my house here in Detroit) and she was the first person to see the finished piece. Despite the fact that she protests that she lacks any creativity, Catherine made the suggestion that I put a knife and fork at the bottom of the piece to balance the nameplate at the top, further suggesting that they be crossed so as to be reminiscent of the crossed bones indicating "Poison". Since we were going to the local diner to eat, I asked our waitress (and friend) if we could buy a knife and fork. Although it isn't in any of the pictures here - we dropped the piece off for jurying for the Grosse Pointe Art Center's "Food for Thought" show right after we finished eating, it really finished off the piece.

Keep your fingers crossed that the piece gets in the show. I actually feel it's one of the best pieces I've ever submitted. The description of the show refers to our "ambivalent relationship with food" and I think this piece does a decent job of capturing just that.

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