Friday, November 6, 2009


It's the most random thing in the world, but I've gotten into designing this topiary. Well, I shouldn't say it's random. I'm obsessed with two things in my art: plants and people. So I'm making a living, technically breathing (in reverse) human being her arms up in exuberant ecstasy. It's made from chicken wire, sphagnum moss, ficus repens (creeping fig), a 14" garden bowl, and some other stuff. I need to get a steel rod and some cheese cloth before I can go any further than where I am.

I've molded the head, shoulders, torso (I'm placing a plant in her chest so the ficus can branch out from there, so it's open for now), and molded and stuffed the lower half of the torso and both legs. It looks really cool, I'm very excited for it, but I need to balance it carefully and find a good practical way to keep it supported. Maybe drill into the terra cotta pot (I just wrote terra cotta potta..) and secure it with bolts, but that runs a big risk of breaking the pot, especially if it tips over or there's pressure put on the sculpture. It's a dilemma.

I think I just need to balance it especially well with the arms reaching back more than I intended so it has a well-centered center of gravity. I'd like it off center but unless I... oh, I could use concrete. That's an idea. A very, very heavy one though. Not ideal. I need to bring this back with me to MA and use the sculpture studio / metal working tools at UMass to do what I want, I think. I'll see what I can improvise here, in any case.

This is very stream of consciousness, but sometimes it's nice to write, it helps me think things through and if anyone is curious about how my brain works when I'm making art this is a good example.

Counterweights! I could use a counterweight if I want it off center. But a well centered gravity might look good now that I've settled in to the idea. I like off-center because it gives it direction and motion, but if it's centered maybe the motion will be more upward, straight up. I just want it exploding up, vibrant, like a shining beacon, like an emmy statue or something. Except not holding anything, and no wings, and no awful gold. Living plants, it needs to be alive.

I need to sleep, I took my sleeping meds half an hour ago and they're doing their thing. Hope this post wasn't too scattered.


  1. Could you maybe weight it by placing something heavy, but not as cumbersome as concrete, at the bottom of the flower pot?

  2. it's so interesting to me that the kind of art you do often involves these challenging technical problems in the physical world. Using lots of parts of your intelligence...

  3. Brad, it's a matter of finding something that I can be sure to put a hole in for drainage but can do in my dorm room without a drill. I'm really limited. I think the major challenge on this work is going to be balancing it. I saw something at Home Depot yesterday that would be perfect but it's a part of a $45 double tier plant potter, and that's just too expensive. I could shoplift the part I need, maybe, but it's a bit clunky so that'd be hard and this home depot is hardcore with checking every bag.

    Cathy, thanks, but it's a pain in my ass :)

  4. Doy. I'll just get some terra cotta. Thanks Brad, you helped me out.

  5. Oh!! Even better. If I get some bondo I don't have to weld and I can structure a steel support that spreads out the weight. Bending the steel rods will be a huge pain but I have some pretty heavy drawers here that might do the trick.

  6. I stand by my observation from years ago, that you've rarely done anything the "easy" way...