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The Spiteful Wordtree with Fruit

May 4, 2010


History, Materials and method

This vessel originally started out as a practice piece used to experiment with colors, images and engraving techniques for other vessel designs.  After repeatedly covering the previous practice palettes to prepare the surface for the next one, I decided its shape had grown into a story of its own.

 There is no transcript for this vessel.  The letters are simply brush strokes, rough, unpolished brush strokes.  My stream of consciousness filling up space – – I thought and I wrote. There are no profound ideas, memories, or insights (or lewd thoughts).  I did manage to come up with several impressive lists, including the names of most women I’ve date or had crushes on (the latter being far more extensive).  Accounts of all my past visits to the hospital.  A catalog of things I designed that didn’t or shouldn’t work (most recently, the ventilated dunce cap).  I also discovered – – I suppose I knew this already, so it was more of an illustration than a discovery – – that my tolerance to focus on a single line of thought for any significant amount of time was very low (It took me two weeks to complete this sentence).  While I was writing , I might start out explaining how I built something,  ten seconds later, jump to explaining how frustrated I was because I couldn’t find my bendy ruler (Imagine a ruler that wraps around things and holds it shape), I’d start listing the places I’ve looked. I switch into some gibberish language I couldn’t understand, then admonish myself with whatever was the most convenient admonishment – – I often call myself lazy.   Sometimes fat, stupid, idiot, weak…. I don’t pay much attention to my self-admonishments, I hope you don’t ether.  Next, I start signing along with the song on the stereo, making up lyrics to replace the ones I couldn’t remember. 

It’s not a good read, but hell, I was conscious, that should count for something?   With some self–reflection, advice from others, re-tooling and a good editor, I can probably salvage something out of it.

The Spiteful Wordtree with Fruit’s form is made from a discarded stoneware vessel which had exploded during the kiln firing.  I used a tin can to replace its missing bottom half (Heck, it started as practice vessel).  Over the course of several months the surface is built up with layers of modeling paste and other polymers mixed with, red oak, walnut and ebony dust, dry pigments, acrylic inks and elephant dung paper. Between applications the form is grinded and sanded. The final layer is sanded to a shiny hue and a temporary coat of gloss varnish is applied.  Then the surface is engraved, inked then wiped – – Sometimes many times (this vessel in particular has several layers history of other works underneath its outer skin.)  Afterwards, the surface is sanded again and an isolation coat of varnish is added to the engraved areas.  Painted effects and details are added to the vessels using water colors, acrylics and oils. Next, it is topped with several layers of tented glazing, washed, sanded and sealed with two layers of MSA Matte varnish.


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