Artworks ready to go….Hop hornbeam

The Hop Hornbeam Tree artwork ready to be installed. It will be viewable to the public from Friday the 29th of September 2017.

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Materials – Fluorescent orange light neoprene fabric, wire, electric blue sticky fabric, fastenings and elastic.

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The finished artwork will be stretched like a corset covering the lumpy protuberance on the lower trunk of the hop hornbeam tree opposite the Berkeley Library.

Making the artworks – the plane tree

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The Plane tree nodule collected and ready to begin moulding

 

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The finished plaster backed silicone two piece mould of the nodule

 

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Wax samples testing how much red colourant to add to the microcrystalline wax to get the desired colour.

 

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Partial wax for colour and surface texture texting

 

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Resultant partial wax test

 

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Two wax copies from both parts of the mould

 

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Both halves of the wax mould brought together to create a working 3d model.

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Two working wax works ready to be properly adhered together.

The drilling of the holes to represent the imagery from the microscope will be added at a later stage.

I will post images of the final wax works when they have been installed in the trees after the official opening on September 29th.

Behind the artworks – The Oregon Maple

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The Oregon Maple, location: Main square.

The main point of interest for our team and key inspiration for the artwork was the bracing system. This is a very precise system of high tensile stainless steel cables that have been stretched between the heavy limbs and the main trunk thus spreading the load of the heavier branches throughout the tree.

An interesting piece of information is that when the tree surgeon has drilled the correct size holes to insert the support rods he has only a 30 second time frame before the tree will start to repair itself and begin closing the holes.

Large yellow tendon-line artworks have been created by the artist in response to this tree.  These swathes of fabric will be stretched between the limbs and the trunk of the tree on the left mirroring some of the steel cables in the bracing system.

The material used for the artwork is a large continuous length of elasticated lycra. The imagery printed onto the fabric is inspired by the microscopic photographs taken from a cross section of a small branch highlighting the linear cellular pattern of the maple.  

The team will post some images of this art work after the exhibition opens to the public on Friday 29th of September 2017. 

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Image 1: the scanning electron microscope image that inspired the artwork for the Oregon Maple.  

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Image 2: the in-between image. The artist worked with various photoshop filters and touchup techniques to arrive at the final result.  

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Image 3: is the final artwork that was transferred onto a printing screen. 

The art works in progress – Hop Hornbeam

Before undertaking the making of the artwork for the Hop Hornbeam tree I had to figure out how to make it. I could not work directly on the tree while shaping and making the ‘corset’. I also realised that it would be virtually impossible to measure accurately all the curves and bends of the 3D shape. I would therefore need to create a rough mould to work with and on. Normally I would have done this using plaster bandage/ silicone etc, materials that were definitely not suitable for working with a crumbly bark surface. After some thought and a chat with my fellow artist and super mould maker Ayelet Lalor we decided that the malleable and un intrusive properties of tinfoil would work best.

So one fine morning about a month ago Ayelet, Clodagh Dooley and I set about making a temporary tinfoil mould of the selected area. We used copious amounts of tinfoil, selotape and support sticks. See image below of Clodagh and Ayelet busy helping me with the large task. Thanks again to both of them. It was quite a fun task to do and of course we got some interesting looks and comments from passers by.

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As the piece to be moulded was so large we created it in three more manageable sections, which I transferred by car to my studio. I quickly backed the reverse of the mould with plaster bandage to preserve the shape and add strength. See image below.

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The next step in the process was somehow to get the mould into a similar set up to the real life tree in my studio. Using a mannequin as a central support and substructure I covered it with chicken to roughly simulate the tree trunk. The mould was gently re-attached and adhered to the substructure.  I set to work trying out various ideas on how I would segment the artwork. See images below.

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After deciding which option to go for I made paper patterns for the corset. This was a quite a tricky process as you can see bellow.

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Finally I placed the pattern sections on the fabric and cut out the individual pieces. Each section was then carefully sewn together. See images below.

The time had come to see how the artwork looked and functioned. I pegged the work onto the mould. At this stage I lightly stuck on some of the blue fabric strips onto the lines delineating the different sections. See images below.

Happy with the progress of the piece so far I now had to remove the blue strips and sew an extra channel into each section to allow the support wire to be inserted. At this stage I felt it was important to bring the piece into Trinity to test it’s fit. Before doing this I reattached the piece to the mould to work out some of the kinks with the wiring and fit before doing this.

On a Saturday the 24th of June I brought the work in progress into Trinity and spent many hours stretching and temporarily tying it into place. It was during this time that I had to make some final decisions on where the tying points should be on the corset. Seeing the piece in place also helped me decide on the need to wire and cover all the edges of the corset with the blue fabric. See a selection of images from the installation.

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Lots more work needs to be done to the surface of the corset. I won’t post any more images of it until it has been finally installed in late September 2017.

The exhibition will officially open to the public on Friday 29th of September. The opening will coincide with the Trinity College European Researchers Night 2017 events. During the evening Olivia Hassett will perform alongside the Oregon Maple in the main square twice and there will be also be a guided walk of the eight artworks spread throughout the Trinity College Campus. I will post the eventbrite details to sign up for the guided walk at a later stage.