Sunday, April 29, 2007

Happy WPP Day!

Memory Number 436, taken with my Memocam on Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day. Exposure: 6 minutes, you can see my setup here. Black and white photo paper used as film, scanned into the computer. The subjects are a combination of photos and toys. The paper film is 1.5 x 3.5 inches. The ends are cropped off a bit because the circle of the image is more like 3 inches wide. Larger version here.

Today is Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day. Anyone in the world can take a pinhole photo on the last Sunday in April and upload it to the WPPD website. In the gallery you can search on country, province or city to view photos taken every year since 2001. There is also a Flickr group here.

I love the idea of all these pinhole photos. They come together on the web and connect us with people all over the world. We're all the same aren't we? We all take photos of our families, our homes, our dreams and memories.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Dream Focusing Device, done at last!

Dream Focusing Device, Judith Hoffman, brass and sterling silver, 5.75 x 8 x 6.25 inches, fabricated. How to use the DFD: Exposing the Dream Focusing Device to moonlight during the full moon activates the metallic priciples in the instrument. It will focus dreams for 28 days after a 2 to 3 hour exposure, but will lose power slowly over that period of time. Short exposures to moonlight throughout the month will recharge the metallic principles. Recharging can occur on cloudy nights, although the time needed will increase with the amount of cloud cover.

Dream Focusing Device, back, Judith Hoffman, brass and sterling silver, 5.75 x 8 x 6.25 inches, fabricated. See a larger version of both images on Flickr.

At last it's done. I love the way things go together quickly in the end. I often feel I'm plodding along, not making much progress in the middle of a project. Then suddenly, all the parts are ready to be riveted together, and the last stage goes quickly.

What's next? Maybe a little box that is a kind of cabinet of curiosities. Or a tooth icon. Or another brass camera. I also have a James Castle blog entry close to being ready to publish, and I am working on a riveting tutorial for my web site. This one will be on making rivets with brass or copper wire.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Working on the DFD

More progress on the Dream Focusing Device. Here I have the parts ready to be assembled. I am ready to rivet the hinge in place. To do that I need to temporarily hold all the parts together. I drill small holes where I intend to put rivets, then put temporary rivets in place, using ear posts. The blue painter's tape holds the rivets until I remove it. The clamps are my "third hands," holding everything securely while I mark and drill the holes. Tonight I am tired and getting clumsy, so I had to stop.

There is a larger image at Flickr. (Click on the "all sizes" button above this image to see the largest version.)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Zero Sum Art Project

Most art seems very mysterious. You don't really know how people arrive at their prices, what their materials and techniques are, or where their ideas come from. "Mixed media" or "found objects" isn't really information to my detail-oriented Teutonic mind. Marc Snyder's Zero Sum Art Project isn't like most art. In his ZSAP blog, Marc says "One thing I'm striving for is to make the whole studio process, along with my attempts to follow this set of rules that I invented for myself, as visible to the viewer as possible." This includes lists of his expenses, the materials purchased for the project and even some hints at his creative process.

His rules:
*Artwork can be made only with free/found materials or materials purchased with proceeds from the sale of Zero Sum artworks.

*Zero Sum artwork will be sold on eBay, with the opening bid based solely on the costs of the materials and the auction fees related to the artwork being sold.

*If the artwork sells for a greater amount than the opening bid, any "profit" must go directly back in to the Zero Sum studio.

*If the Zero Sum Art Project is in the red with a balance of negative $5.00 for longer than 2 weeks, the studio collapses and the project is over.

The first artwork was made with free materials: "Heart of Georgia Technical Institute pencil and Radisson Hotel pen on Anti-Defamation League notepad paper." The opening ebay price was $1.77, exactly the cost of the listing. It sold for $22.72.

Zero sum #12 is up for auction on ebay until April 15.

I find this all fascinating. So much that normally remains hidden is revealed for the viewer's scrutiny. Reading over Marc's list of materials, I wonder what he used white spray paint for? Most artists start out by learning techniques, in school, from books or from friends. Over time they probably accumulate a store of invented or adapted processes. What do other people do in the privacy of their studios? Is there an "art secret" that I need to know, to make better work myself? Can I find it in Marc's list of materials?

And no, he's not paying me to say this, he's not my brother-in-law. It's a coincidence that I have mentioned Marc in two recent blog entries.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Pop quiz: What does gardening have to do with art??

What does the picture above have to do with the one below?

I have been spending a lot of time in the garden for the last month. Because of that, progress is slow on the Dream Focusing Device. But I feel so alive and connected to the natural world when I garden. The content of my work mostly is about death or some kind of loss. And nature can teach us a lot about death. I feel comforted to see that the old vegetable plants I throw in the compost bin in October become mulch that nourishes new plants the following spring. Life flows in a cycle that is both sad, because we lose those we love, and reassuring, because life does go on.

Here are the details, if you are also a gardener: In the foreground at the right are raspberries and some perennials. The next bed contains poppies on the left, a tiny tomato plant, and snow peas to the right of the tomato. Further back are two parsley plants, the remnants of our winter garden. And, of course, a lovely orange tree in the background.

Oh, and the other details: The Dream Focusing Device is getting close to being done. I have the hinge ready to attach. Because the Device folds for storage, I had a leg that holds up the back part. But it wasn't working well, so I will have to re-engineer that. And I need a little decorative part for the front. I can see it done in my mind, so I am very excited to work on it.