Final blog post of the Wedding Gift. It's been interesting going through all the pictures and remembering the extremely late nights and totally unknown outcomes. Ahh good times. But the plan finally came together, to a sigh of relief. Here's installment 2 of 2, Making the leaf relief picture. From the start of this project I wanted to combine the wedding seating plan with a wedding gift for the newly weds. The seating blocks came first, then the idea to set them in framed picture. It was tricky trying to think of an image that wouldn't be over bearing to the whole scheme, as well as being considered ugly by the bride and groom. It had to be subtle; white would be the colour, with detail pulled out with shadows - a relief in plaster! The subject for the image varied from shared personal interests of the couple to toally abstract forms. Neither seemed visually appropriate. Instead I looked for symbolism of all that I wish for the happy couple's future.
"The Oak is the mightiest of trees and symbolizes strength and courage. The ancient Romans thought oak trees attracted lightening and thereby connected the oak tree to the sky god, Jupiter and his wife, Juno, the goddess of marriage. Thus, the oak is a symbol of conjugal fidelity and fulfillment. The oak tree was regarded by Socrates as an oracle tree. The Druids likewise ate acorns in preparation for prophesying. In addition, the Druids believed the leaves of the oak tree had the power to heal and renew strength." Living Arts Original
"The Sycamore is one of the oldest species of trees on the planet. Given its age, the Sycamore is often referenced in the pages of history:
- In the Bible, the Sycamore is considered a symbol of strength, divinity, and eternity.
- In American history, a 168-year-old Sycamore tree is credited with sheltering large groups of soldiers during the Battle of Brandywine in Pennsylvania. Since then the tree has become a symbol of protection in the United States." 20-20 site
For ease of display during the wedding I worked out how many blocks would fit comfortably and clearly, evenly spread out and easy to navagate. Rounding up the number of blocks to 180 created two frames measuring 800 x 410 mm each internally. One Oak, one Sycamore. The rest of the scheme was built on from here.
Retreating into the clay studio I'm fortunate to have in our garage at home, thanks again Jan! It had been a good 11 years since I worked with clay, boy I have missed it. Memories of Carly Simon singing during A-Level Art classes came flooding back.
Working with plaster and solid wood was going to be heavy. To reduce the weight I had to make individual tiles so the plaster can be thinner and easier to handle without a risk of damage.
Music was set up and coffee brewed...
They were going to be individual tiles but I wanted to keep the image as a whole so the composition ignored the tile seams and the leaves overlapped them as much as possible. When I made a test of casting leaves from clay I was amazing by the incredible detail that is picked up. What I found was, if the clay remains moist, the leaves can be imprinted with a sense of movement and form.
Steve Younger, the furnitiure maker at DF Furniture kindly made the frames for me. Here, he is working on the finishing touches of the Sycamore frame, cutting away the excess veneer of the kerf joint. The tactile finish of Steve's work is always remarkable, certainly his particular trademark. Feeling is believing. (Louie the dog, I love him really)
There was one very hairy moment right at the end when the plaster was still considerably wet. Luckily a slow cook oven setting sorted it out just in the nick of time. Clay has been a joy to use again, plaster is exciting however it maybe a while until the next time I use it.
The scheme was amibious and a lot of enjoyable hardwork. It was fun designing for an event, a one off moment involving a number of people. I am eternally grateful to my parents for humouring me and my plans. For Oliver and Emma for asking me to be a part of their special day. A special thank you to everyone at DF Timber, Kim Butler, Jan Walker and those at the Square Orange that helped through the ups... and the downs. Couldn't have pulled it off without you. x