A week and a half ago I installed my two newest pieces for the show “Circus Lives”, which celebrates the lives and spirit of circus performers. Taking place upon a barge built in 1914, at the Waterfront Museum in Red Hook, Brooklyn, this show coincides with live performances of a big top nature on various Sundays throughout June. An artist’s reception is being held on the barge, June 17, from 6-8pm, at 290 Conover Street, Pier 44. If you’re in the five boroughs, come by and say hi!
“The Juggler” and “Keeping the Balance” have been the most time-consuming and sweat-inducing pieces since I began creating dolls. Because these dolls had to be hung upon the barge walls, some sort of display/shelf system had to be developed. So, not only were dolls created, but two 30″ high “stages” had to be designed, cut, assembled and painted. These two pieces wouldn’t have come to life if it hadn’t been for my beau, Peter, who is skilled in both architecture and construction. After discussing potential viewing heights and the dolls themselves, I sketched out a rough design for the stages, incorporating somewhat of an early 1900’s feel. Peter then took the design, finessed the lines and created a cardboard template, with which I could play with when figuring out the final proportions of the two dolls. Once I was satisfied with the feel and size of the stage, Peter then proceeded to create the final wooden pieces.
As the stages were being worked on, I was busy sculpting, painting and sewing together the two dolls who would be performing within these spaces.
Once the wooden stages were assembled, painted red, and distressed, curtain fabric was decided upon. Though I had found what I thought was the perfect material for a stage curtain, it seemed too shiny and bright. Desiring a bit of “dirt”, wood stain was lightly rubbed onto the fabric, blotted off, and the fabric was then left alone to dry before attaching to stage and background. While the fabric was drying, I set about adding the star and stripe details around the frame of the stage.
Once stage, dolls and a their accessories were completed, it was time to put everything together. This was probabl the most difficult (and hair-raising) part of putting together these pieces. Each doll was built with wire protruding from their backs so that they could be attached via a lock washer and pan head sheet metal screw. However….this meant first drilling a hole through the finished curtain, then into chipboard (which the curtain was attached to) and finally, into the back of the wood stage itself. The potential to catch the curtain fabric and ruin it was incredibly high. With some painters tape and patience, clean holes were drilled, and the dolls finally attached. Whew!
Now that these two pieces have been finished, and the obligatory week-long break has been taken, I am back to sculpting some new wands for the store, with numerous bunicorns, jackalopes, foxes and other critters in the works. I’m hoping to have these available for purchase by mid to late June, and will announce their arrival in the store on this blog.