I had hoped to take another Continuing Studies bronze course at Maine College of Art this Fall, but it wasn't offered so I had to reset my project plans. Sometimes an unexpected change of direction leads to an "aha" moment and an alternate destination. In this case, the combination of the unoffered class and my recent work on the bronze pod birds led me full circle back to an earlier project that I did involving bronze pod bugs titled "The Guardian" (see blog entries for 9/1/12 and 9/16/12). When I first came up with the concept for the piece, I had toyed with the idea of adding a third bronze pod bug either emerging from or disappearing into the hole in the wood, but then decided the composition would become too "busy". I also liked the mystery surrounding the question of which bug was actually acting as the guardian and - what was being guarded? As I revisited the sculpture, I decided that the hole represented "home" and that nothing was more closely guarded than the "family"...and what better represented the vulnerability of family than an egg?
I knew I wanted to use Apoxie clay to make the egg - it molds like clay and can be sanded when hardened. I am also a thrifty Yankee so I decided to minimize the amount of Apoxie clay needed by molding it around a piece of wooden dowel. I rough shaped a 1 1/2" long piece of 1/2" dowel. After drilling a hole in one side of the rough form, I inserted a short piece of a wooden skewer in it so that the piece could eventually be set up for painting. I then finished off the egg shape with the apoxie clay and let it harden. (Tip: I have found that you can get an extremely smooth surface on the apoxie clay by using a little water on your fingers. The manufacturer suggests olive oil, but I feel that the oil might affect the application of any potential surface finishes.) I finished the egg by first coating it with Navajo white gloss spray paint and then "spritzing" it with Oregano satin finish spray paint to give it a slightly speckled
appearance. The next step to completing the re-conceived Guardian piece was to drill a hole in the opening of the base and glue in a short wooden skewer rod. The final step was to glue the painted egg onto the rod. I like the result. I think it adds another dimension to the visual story that the sculpture can offer to the viewer...a drama? a comedy? You choose!
Cynthia Smith, Maine artist, originally from Connecticut. Taught art at secondary level for 35 years, retired in 2004. Sculpts in bronze, wood, stone, clay & plaster. Her work can be seen at several mid-coast Maine galleries and shows.