Friday, November 13, 2009

Mixed media...

The medium which forms a large percentage of my work has for the longest time been wood, both of the domestic and exotic type. Over the past few months I have begun to explore alternative media such as metal and glass. You can see a few pieces in my portfolio which incorporate metal or both glass and metal. What do I attribute this radical shift to? For the most part, I have entered an exploratory stage in my art. The challenge of working with new media and the associated techniques I need to develop and acquire to be able to use these alternative media excite me. I also like to develop and create a new aesthetic which will be predominately wood but include metal and glass elements to enhance the design. The beauty and curiosity attached to mixed media work is another factor.

I've faced some new challenges with this new mixed media aesthetic and for the most part overcome them, although I continue to learn and develop. Technical considerations such as how to attach metal to wood and how to attach glass to metal have come up, the issue of expansion and contraction is somewhat different with extremely stable material such as metal and glass. Metal and glass don't noticeably expand or contract with environmental changes such as wood does. Another interesting technical issue that has arisen is the lack of compression characteristic of metal. The slots or holes which I use to insert metal components need to be created very precisely for precision fitting. Working with metal also involves slightly different tools and processes, I don't even prepare the metal components in the space I work with wood to not contaminate wood with metal filings.

Once these issues have been overcome, the design possibilities open to me are unlimited. The choice of media I previously created my designs with was somewhat limited to different types of wood; domestic, exotic and figured. Today I can incorporate metal, glass and possibly stone in my work, along with my predominant medium of wood. Throughout history, much art and craft has been designed using mixed media so I am by no means a trend setter here. Artists and artisans of earlier eras had probably also sought to challenge themselves with the addition of different medium to their main material and to appreciate the beauty of mixing wood, metal, glass, stone in a piece of art.

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