Installing in the Oregon Maple, part 2

We decided to install and leave the highest ‘tendon’ in place even though the exhibition is not due to open to the public until Friday the 29th. It would have been too difficult to get back to the same height again. I had decided on mirroring two metal wires, which ran more or less parallel to each other near the topmost branches of the tree.

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See image of the end points of the chosen pair of cables where they are fixed to the tree.

David positioned us and we began cutting, stretching and cable tying the beginning of the length of fabric between the two wires. We continued cable tying the fabric along the length of the wires until the distance between them became impossible to cover. At this point I needed to ‘carve’ the tendon shape into the fabric attaching it’s end points securely to the wires.

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Slide show of different of the piece in situ from various positions as we descended from the heights of the top branches of the Oregon Maple to the ground level.

Having finished finessing this tendon we dropped down to the lower levels of the branches to measure up for the final two tendons. Both of these tendons will run more or less parallel to each other with variations on their angles and will be nearly perpendicular to the highest tendon. David and I again moved into position and began to temporarily tie the other two tendons nearer the base of the trunk and cut the fabric length to size. These sections were taken away to allow the artist to further cut into the fabric, shape it, sew the edges and afix the eyelets.

Images of the final two ‘tendons’ and the complete installation in the Oregon Maple will be available to view after the exhibition opens to the public.

Installing in the Oregon Maple, part 1

The next stage in the artwork process was to decide where in the tree to install and how long each section of fabric needed to be. David Hackett kindly booked and organised getting the large and cumbersome scissors lift to the Oregon Maple on the morning of the 14th of September.

It would have been great if it were possible to continue using the scissors lift that day and finally install all the ‘tendons’ but unfortunately I had so much cutting of fabric to get the desired shape, sewing of the edges and inserting the eyelet fixing points that David will have to roll out all the equipment again for the final stage.

So on a windy sunny morning and on the same day that American Vice President Mike Pence visited Trinity College Dublin David Hackett and his team maneuvered the large scissors lift into position. Ironically we were up in the scissors lift when the Vice President visited the main square nearby.

See images from top of the tree looking down on the main square.

Before we could begin large boards had to be laid down on the grass to protect it from being damaged by the wheels of the lift.

See images of scissors lift preparation

As soon as all the preparation was completed David promptly buckled me into a harness system and up we went! I am not afraid of heights but it was still a nerve wrecking experience all the same. It takes a lot of skill and experience to get the cherry picker to the highest parts of the huge Oregon Maple, thankfully David is a great driver!

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See images of the tree as I was looking down at it from the topmost branches.  

For what happened next see the blog entitled Installing in the Oregon Maple, part 2. 

Artworks ready to go…Cherry Blossom

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The Cherry Blossom artwork ready for some final finessing before transporting to Trinity College Dublin. A hole must be cut and securely sewn to allow the artwork to fit snugly around the Cherry Blossom Tree. This can not be done until the installation stage where the artist will be working with the actual tree rather than measurements. This artwork will be installed in the Cherry Blossom tree located on the Physic Lawn.

To follow some initial images of the artwork, which is currently installed in my studio.

Materials: Neon pink and green lycra netting, plastic netting and wire.

Many thanks to ReCreate for the recycled plastic netting. I will post again telling you more about ReCreate, a fantastic warehouse run by really friendly staff filled to the brim with large quantities of inspiring materials.

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.

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.