A New Sauna

May 27th, 2020

Many of us are confined to our home turf these days.  Though I miss working my regular job at COVER leading crews of volunteers on repair projects, it’s been a great time to focus on home projects. For me, this unexpected extra time has meant that I could finish building the sauna I had started last summer. I had been unfortunately interrupted in October when I had a table saw accident that caused injury to my right hand and put me out of commission for two months. I was glad to get back to work at COVER starting in early January. Then in March the pandemic hit…

So, with social distancing dictating that I stay at home, I turned back to my sauna. I built the sauna with lots of recycled material from the COVER store. The materials came from all over the place. For example, the siding is discarded metal from a roof we redid on a mobile home in Ascutney. While the doors come from the COVER store, I transformed the interior door by sanding and adding discarded knotty cedar to both sides. The door handles are driftwood. The door hinges come from the store as do the two windows, one of which was formerly a skylight. The tile floor and heat shield (cement board) came from the store, as did the clear cedar and discarded redwood. The pan and candelabra on the woodstove came from the store. Those soap stone shards came from the free pile at the store.

The wood stove and stovepipe came from a shed at my mother’s house. The aspen came from a sauna-building friend in Massachusetts who no longer had a need for it. The cedar posts and oak beam were from my home wood stash. The branch hooks come from the woods. The framing, sheathing, insulation, shiplap pine, and roofing were all bought at Fogg’s, our local lumberyard.
Needless to say, this sauna has been a wonderful project to focus on while staying socially distant on account of this COVID-19 pandemic. It’s also a wonderful experience to get steaming hot, and sit out in the cold rain and not even feel it, while the frogs try to sing and spring is in the air.

For the past month I have been back to working full time at COVER, continuing on with repair and construction projects. PPE and social distancing are just part of the job now.

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Paul’s House of Art

February 20th, 2019

IMG_1718I thought I would share with you some photos of a job I was on recently for COVER, photos of Paul’s house. Paul is a guy in Hartland (in his 70s-80s?) who has no car and has lived in this trailer his whole life. He walks weekly from his place on the Jenneville road 7 miles to BGs general store for red duct tape and groceries and then 7 miles back. COVER was called in by the Aging in Hartland group to assist in trying to make this place a little warmer. I had to take apart a couple small sections of the collage interior to squeeze in some reflective bubble wrap to protect his water pipes from freezing. Taking apart these sections was like taking a part a beaver dam!  Paul weaves clothing, garbage, newspaper, wire, old calendars, magazine images and of course red duct tape into the walls of his home. This is his art and insulation. Unfortunately when you dig beneath the surface everything is damp from condensation, this seems to be this a ripe environment for mold and mice. While I face lots of sad stories derived from various states of desperate poverty, I do catch moments of wonder and beauty; I’m in awe of people like Paul who survive through so much adversity. It’s also nice to see grass roots organizations like Aging in Hartland and COVER working together to help folks out. And yes,
it’s not everyday I encounter such art projects on COVER jobs.

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A Moonlit Opening of LandArtLab

October 25th, 2018

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The annual LandARTLab kicked off a few weeks ago at King Farm, in Woodstock, VT. Sculptures were scattered across acres of old farmland with magnificent views of the green mountains in the distance. Thirteen different artists contributed to the show, with sculptures ranging in media and content from tiemless abstract forms to current day political statements about mass school shootings.

It was a beautiful evening and visitors to the exhibit walked the land, taking in the art, while many set up for picnics as the steamy afternoon gave way to a proverbial August evening. Several groups of people stayed to watch the harvest moon rise over the works of art, and the picturesque King Farm landscape.
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It was wonderful to have a chance to see many friends, old and new, and to have the chance to enjoy work from other artists. Edie, Cedar, Silas and I (and Leo of course) thoroughly enjoyed the evening. I felt especially blessed to share this opening with my dear Venezuelan friend, Sandro Oramas and his daughter, Alejandra who I have not seen for twenty years.  Sandro is a gifted photographer; we collaborated on various projects when we lived in San Francisco. I am hoping a peaceful transition will take place in his troubled country and a sustainable path forward will be pursued.

Currently, my stack of ancient roofing metal is beginning to dwindle. There may be enough material left for one or two more pieces, at most. The waste stream of pressure treated wood seems endless so I am sure I will be continuing to find ways to re-purpose materials. Hopefully soon I will be installing “Dormant” in the community garden of Hartland, thanks to the generosity of Todd Alexander, who purchased it in memory of his late father.fullsizeoutput_406b

Reflections on “RePurposed”

May 25th, 2018

     My show at the AVA Gallery is coming to a close, and I have to say, I am very pleased with how it went. From putting the show together, to the opening reception, to the artist’s talk, I feel that the show has been a success.

     The opening reception was well attended, with several dozen people, both friends of mine and members of the local community, present. These particular sculptures are very interactive, and it was a pleasure to watch people enjoying them. People can touch them, walk under them, and a few people were even sitting on them. There was a musician present at the opening who immediately saw the sculptures as instruments and asked me if he could ‘play’ them. It is wonderful to see people interact with the sculptures in ways for which they were not initially intended. And it turned out, when the sculptures were banged on in different ways, that they did, in fact, produce very interesting tones.

I was also pleased with the turnout for my artist’s talk. About 20 people were present, some friends of mine and some who I had never met. I enjoyed getting to share with the audience about the process I have gone through putting this show together as well as a little bit of history in where I am coming from and what has sparked my interest in this kind of sculpture. It was a great opportunity to put my work in a little bit more context, and it was great to hear some questions and to be able to respond.

All four sculptures are for sale. However, any of them that don’t sell will be going to live at Sculpture Fest and King Farm, where they will continue their lives gracing the hills of Woodstock.

In the meantime, I will be continuing my explorations of art from repurposed materials. I have some new ideas that I would like to pursue, and, as the new work develops, I will continue sharing photos in my newsletter and here on my blog.

 

If you missed my artist’s talk, you can watch it here.

“Repurposed:” A Show at the AVA Gallery

April 10th, 2018

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    The AVA gallery in Lebanon, NH, will be home to some of my work from April 27th through May 30th. An opening reception will be held on April 27th from 5-7 pm. The show will be a continuation of my exploration of art using repurposed materials. As part of my work for COVER, a White River Junction-based nonprofit that helps repair homes of vulnerable residents, I find myself making frequent trips to the dump, to dispose of excess materials. Seeing this as a waste, I have begun setting aside materials that could still have some utility as materials for sculpture and art.

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I have been intrigued by these materials, not only because I don’t like watching them go to waste, but also because of the interesting effects that time and the elements have on them. The roofing that I am currently working with, for example, is worn in a way that makes it continually interesting to look at. The galvanized metal develops interesting patterns and marks over years of exposure to the elements, giving it nuance. Each unique piece brings its history with it to the sculpture.

    For the upcoming show, I have been experimenting with large forms, as the show will fill two rooms at the AVA gallery. While these pieces are made from repurposed wood and discarded metal roofing, my primary interest is exploring how these forms can be expressed and how they engage with the spaces they are set in.