V is for Violet,
a violinist so mod,
froze her skates into ice
and played till it thawed!
Some of you may have perked up your ears when you read that ditty....it's an homage to one of my favorite musicians, Laurie Anderson, a violin-wielding performance artist. One of her early performances was titled Duet on Ice, where she froze her ice skate blades into a block of ice and then played until they thawed. Here's a video of her performing the piece a few years ago:
I guess my Vireo is in for a very long performance, since her skates are fully encased in the giant ice block! I really set myself up for a challenge with this piece--first by having to figure out how to shape the wings so they can believably play a violin in an anthropomorphic way, but also learning about casting resins that will yield a crystal clear "ice block."
I found a polyester resin and set to testing before I put my precious Violet into the mix. One risk is that the resin will cloud or bubble up, especially when you're casting natural materials like wood. I felt that my piece had so many paint layers that it would be fine, but just in case, I did a tiny test with a painted wood piece leftover from my playing card set--a peacock feather I made from wood, wire and paint:
Well, that looks pretty good, I thought.....so I embarked on my larger mold. The biggest challenge was how to pour the resin into the mold, not spilling it on my bird. The tail I made was really getting in the way, so I removed it and added it back on after the cube was done. I was so nervous this morning taking the mold walls off, since the violin bow is quite delicate, but fortunately, it worked. Here's the process shots I took along the way so you can vicariously bite your nails along with me!
So happy to be done with the birds and move onto the photo shoot a week from today!
Thanks again to everyone for their encouragement along the way. Once the book is done and off to the printer, I will be contacting the Kickstarter supporters who pledged for original artwork as your rewards to figure out how I can make you happy! For anyone who missed the Kickstarter but wants a bird or a book now that you've seen them all, you'll have to wait until November when the book launches at the Portland Audubon Wild Arts Festival in late November! Sign up for my email list and you'll get a friendly reminder closer to the date.