Thursday, December 24, 2009

Collaborative artists’ book

Sometimes I carry ‘good stuff’ around with me for years knowing that it will be used but only for the right purpose. About 25 years ago I procured a decommissioned tabernacle because I was interested in the outer brass skins of the doors. I was attracted to the Gothic style; the simple and somewhat worn nature of the doors; and the fact that they had served a life as a tool in a spiritual ritual.

Initially I thought the doors could be used on a special drinks cabinet or something with a bit of a quirky modern offbeat design – different type of spiritual?? But when Fiona’s folks were turning 70, and because they are better in tune with things spiritual than I am, I thought the door skins could gain a new life as a key element of a spiritual celebratory artists’ book. Having discussed this with Fiona we decided to collaborate on an artists’ book that blended aspects of our art work. Fiona would bring words, paper and calligraphy whereas I would bring wood, recycled metal and found objects (the doors). On her post about the piece Fiona has described the Iona connection and words etc.

The rose gum wedge was cut from one of the logs in my stash with the chainsaw, sanded and then bolted – rose gum is prone to split - so one bolt has gone right through the piece with two 125mm batten screws stabilising the bottom of the wedge. It was necessary to trim the door skins to create a more regular door shape and highlight the Gothic form. Various screw holes where sacred symbols had been removed as part of decommissioning were filled with copper rivets. Two corner ornaments had been removed so I replaced these with patina copper and brass triangles. I riveted new brass flat hinges to the doors. Getting the doors fixed in place so they just touch but also lined up was a two person trial and error effort.

Fiona and I discussed whether I would fully polish the doors but decided we liked the aged and worn look – so whilst some areas were cleaned and given a bit of a polish the doors still carry much of the history of the hands that opened and closed them over many years in their ritual use.

So the ‘good stuff’ has a new life after 25 years; and has found the connection with the spiritual once again.

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