Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Inspiration and possibilities

Labor day weekend was a wonderful time for me.  I was fortunate to spend some quality time with an old friend, Andrew Raftery, whom I went to college with at Boston University.  Andrew and I were both painting majors and although I went on the fashion design, Andrew perfected his skills and went on to study at Yale.  He is now a master engraver and Professor at Rhode Island School of Design.  There are many things that I love about Andrew, but what I admire about him is that he is always true to his heart and passions. Watch Andrew create a master engraving of a 16th Century drawing.

Having time with an artist and print maker like Andrew gave me the opportunity to discuss process like I haven't done in a long while.  It was so inspiring to me.  He really encouraged me to explore making more of my own texture plates.  I have been carving textures in the past, but the possibilities of making textures with photo polymer was intriguing to me.  And Andrew explained to me the process and connected me with some high quality suppliers. 

But for my first attempt I decided to go low tech.  There is no point in investing in a technique if it will not work for me.  I purchased a basic photo polymer kit from Cool tools, which allowed me to expose the polymer with an ordinary 60 watt bulb.  The hardest thing for me was creating the artwork.  I wanted to create a Moorish tile pattern that utilized a six pointed or Jewish star.  I could find the pattern I wanted anywhere so I had to draw it out and then copy a repeat the pattern (if I only knew how the use my graphic software).  I then scanned the pattern into the computer, made it into a negative and printed it (twice) on a transparency.  The process of making the plate this way was fairly easy, although I did tear the plate once while scrubbing out the polymer.  I think my second attempt will me even better.

With the texture finished, I moved on to creating a mezuzuah in silver metal clay.  Unfortunately the polymer packs that come in the kit were not quite long enough for the whole mezuzah.  I do think the texture came out pretty nice, although I would love to try this pattern on a plate that was not so deep.

Now that I have begun to construct the mezuzah I realize I have absolutely no plan of design.  The texture is very nice,  but different then I expected so I have to think about this for a while and decide what to do next. 
I made a funky shin for the piece which I think may be a nice contrast to the geometric pattern, but I'm not sure yet. 

I will post the finished mezuzah for the September mezuzah project.

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