The next big project for the installations was to doccument them in video. I have long wanted to get my work out to the world using video, and this project, because of its scale and complete non portability was a perfect place to start. It also helped that there was a clear start and it finished within a super reasonable amount of time. The down side of course was not having decided to make a video until the project was nearly complete. Fortunately we take tons of pictures and video as a regular practice in our art making so there was more than enough material for the twelve minute piece Gabe and I put together.
As I said the video was decided on after the piece was finished so while there was more than enough documentation there were things that I just didn’t have. For some of that we staged shots, for the rest it was left out. A process that wont be repeated since we now know that video production will be an integral part of our work form here out.
The film was make entirely with iPhones and my mac book. The computer worked great but the limit with the phones is one that will have to be overcome, especially mine which has a very limited memory which required uploading all the pics and videos once a day to clear the memory to take more. Despite all the difficulty we put together a great video.
Since the production of this video I’ve made one myself so that I might learn the program and participate fully in the production of future projects. This video documents the erosion of the images on the panels over the last couple weeks
Finishing the Horse began with research, as usual. What we wanted was a stucco recipe that had both clay and concrete. I know this is a sound practice because I used to mix stucco for my professor Vicky Hansen and she used both, but I could neither remember that recipe or find one on line. We wound up making our own from a recipe I found online that was intended for restoration of historical buildings. While we wanted portland cement in the mix,we were looking for very little. Enough to increase durability on a difficult surface but little enough to avoid the surface becoming brittle and hard to repair. We used these two web pages primarily in our investigations.
We based our recipe off this recipe from the about.com page:
“Materials for Soft Brick Mortar and for Soft Stucco“
5 gallons hydrated lime
10 gallons sand
1 quart white, nonstaining portland cement (1 cup only for pointing)
Water to form a workable mix.
(Koch and Wilson, Architects, New Orleans, Louisiana, February, 1980
To incorporate the clay we replaced half the aggregate (sand) with the unrefined brick clay we acquired for the project.
Refining the mixing process was difficult, eventually we decided to mix half batches because we needed the mix to be rather heavy so it would stick to the underside of the sculpture, also applying the stucco wire was super difficult on such a complex surface so there were spots that were nearly impossible to get the material to adhere. We used straw to help fill in those spots which helped considerably.
Once we had the mix right it was just a whole lot of work to get the piece finished. We applied a second coat to the surface to fill gaps and smooth it a bit a couple days after the first. It was on this second day of stuccoing that we hatched the plan for the video.
Some ponies are bigger than others and this one is a baby clydesdale. Also, completely fantastic, so fantastic in fact that we decided it would be a horrible tragedy to cover it entirely with actual horsiness, so we have opted to cover the strauture with the adobe material and not fill it out with straw muscles. Its is a great decision for art but the added work in applying the stucco wire is a big deal. We got about half way through it today. Im still hoping to finish this piece and install it tomorrow but I am also teaching a bit this week. Fantastic for my life but difficult for all that must be done in the studio. You can see here that it also got a thin coat of paint. This was applied to slow the rot of the wood inside the clay.
The Insurance agency also moved a bit in the last couple days. I should have the structure finished inside and out tomorrow or Saturday. Ill post pics then.
Sometimes great art depends on great partnerships. Gabe Wolff pushed this project into the realm of greatness today with his design and build of the internal skeleton of the life size free standing horse we are building in the coral outside our studio. In my mind I imagined some lashed together twig construction as I have very little wood working skill and was thinking that the clay would provide most of the structure of the piece. Realizing I was out of my depth with the project I asked for help. The best move all day for sure. Gabe spent most of the morning designing and then piecing the structure together and all of the afternoon on the build.
Here he is testing the designs ability to bear weight. This is half of the structure. The other half is mostly built and will be tied together tomorrow and then I will use my twig idea to build a rib cage and hips to hold the volume of the body, it will then be covered in chicken wire and then covered with the brick clay.
The play set also got some play. I am leaning toward an insurance agency play set. It seems the most absurd choice.
Today was all about preparing the corral for the work. The last horses moved out of the barn late last week so the spaces need much attention to be people ready. For the out door spaces we level, spread lime, then cover that with sand then wet the whole thing down to keep down the dust and seal the lime in a bit. The lime can burn skin and eyes but is important in killing bacteria and virus in the soil that may be living on the the horse poops. This has the added benefit of keeping the smell in check. After just 8 days on the barn makeover, the horse smell is barely detectable.
The other part of today was to begin to prepare the images for the installation. My plan is to paint horses on the iron panels of our corral in porcelain slip. The horse pictured here are in mare motel further east on the farm. All the enclosures were made in the same style of welded iron panels, that enclose the studio as well. My intention is to leave the heavy shadows created by the bars in the images of the horses on the panels. This will serve to abstract the images further and connect the current and previous uses of the space, threading the space together further.