Aspen Leaf Fetish Foot Stool, 2006
Metal Collage on carved and painted wooden stool:
This unique art piece was produced specifically for the benefit of the north Lake Tahoe community through a special event fundraiser. The project was born through the desire of north Lake Tahoe wood worker and cabinet maker, Charlie Shunk. Shunk’s “Artist in Action” idea was to provide identical, sturdy wooden stools to various artists in his community. He invited them to use their particular skills and vision to enhance, modify and artistically transform the stool to an art piece, a unique object of value. He produced 24 stools that were used to provide funds for various worthy organizations. Charlie Shunk created something that grew and benefited beyond his expectations. I received a stool to do something with.
As an artist I have been producing art with printmaking since 1980 and complex collage since 1987. The metal collage was an extension of those two processes and an artistic challenge. I began with the thought of how many ways could I manipulate and affect the surface and material of the wood stool. I carved into the wood an aspen leaf shape in several areas and sides of the wooden stool. Some of these carvings ended being covered up with metal collage. As with all of my printmaking and mixed-media collage art there is a lot of layering. Often there are really nice and precious things covered up by additional layers of thought and image. Though you may not actually see them, you might feel them. I chose to not use my typical use of rag printmaking paper adhered to the wood surface with acrylic medium. I had an idea about using various metal nails, tacks, staples, some screws and other pins designed to be hammered into wood or other such materials.
Maybe I could use them to attach other things to the wooden surface. What if I started to manipulate various sheets of metal and transformed them by cutting them into sheets, hammering them, texturing them and using basic cold (without heat) blacksmithing skills and techniques. This was a natural for me because my father was a blacksmith and farrier. I tried to mostly use metal tins from several different kinds of tin-cans. The subtle colors and different surfaces were an interesting starting point and reminded me of some of the metallic paints I use in my mixed-media.
The aspen leaf motif is a reoccurring theme in my art. It is a symbol of nature, of growing and dying. It is a metaphor for the seasons and cycles of life. The aspen leaf, for me, is a symbol of the American west, the country from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. The quaking aspen and its cousin the cottonwood tree thrive along streams and spring run- off areas. Rivers and streams have their own metaphors; one idea flows into another.”
The stool measures 18 inches long, 10.75 inches wide and 9.75 inches high.
This stool was purchased twice! to benefit THE ARTS FOR THE SCHOOLS PROGRAM. It was originally purchased at an exhibit at Vista Gallery and re-donated to the program and sold again at a fund raising event. It was a very powerful experience to create something to benefit the program, knowing I was donating it, and then for it to sell for $1,000, re-donated and to sell again!
Click this link for information about the ARTS FOR THE SCHOOLS program