This Saturday night: Farm to Fork (to Fabulous!)

Opening reception Saturday, March 16, 7-10pm.

Showing with my friend and fellow artist Alicia Rheal in our From Farm to Fork (to Fabulous!) exhibit. The opening reception is a gala celebration and benefit for the Walls of Wittenberg. More info, and the poster, below. Highlight? Why Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Meats of course.

Poster for 'Farm to Fork (to Fabulous)' show, featuring artwork of S.V. Medaris and Alicia Rheal

This is going to be a really fun (and delicious) opening reception! (Click on poster to enlarge) And, if you drive up early, you can visit Nueske’s Company Store in Wittenberg (Sat. hours: 8-4).

The WowSpace is located at 114 Vinal St – Wittenberg, WI. Easy to find…Just look for the 8ft hanging hog carcasses and the giant pull-toy pig (cuts) in the front windows along the main street of downtown Wittenberg!

And here’s more info about the Walls of Wittenberg ongoing mural project.

One section of the wall installed for now….

Installing…. That’s an 18ft long Hampshire stud boar on right (the model, Pioneer is owned by Monson Show Pigs in Richland Center). And that’s an 8ft pull-toy pig in front window.

The Tunnel of Mortality

The Tunnel of Mortality, a life-size tunnel-book installation at Artisan Gallery, has been extended to September 9th, 2012! The next reception is Friday, July 27, 2012, 5-9pm at Artisan Gallery.

Here’s some shots (click any image to enlarge):

Door's entrance to old cheese cooler with show title: S.V. Medaris, The Tunnel of Mortality, inside reveals dark, wallpapered room.

“Come in.” said the spider to the fly….

Once you step in the door, you are in a floor-to-ceiling, darkly wallpapered, little anteroom, about 8ft x 8ft.

fancy-framed portraits on dark wallpapered walls

Back wall and right corner of anteroom

ornate wallpaper, fancy-framed portraits

Chairs are upholstered in the same, matching, printed fabric as the walls.

The richly detailed wallpaper is actually a 10in x 10in linocut pattern printed black onto burgundy duckcloth. About 480 times. If you look closely at one of the “tiles” you will see the underlying theme of the show:
plucked chicken, intestines, bones, axes, chicken foot...

If you look behind you to your right, the outside light looks blinding compared to the dramatic low lighting surrounding you.

taxidermied chicken on low table next to portrait hung on densely patterned wallpapered wall

Taxidermy chicken NOT for sale.

As you step through the door, into the anteroom, The Tunnel of Mortality is that big framed piece on the right-hand wall. It looks like any other of the framed woodcuts, except as you walk towards or by it, it changes (since it’s a 3-dimensional space, not a flat piece). If you’re not paying attention though, it doesn’t “read” as an interior space, but rather a mirror…or something. A number of visitors were looking behind and above them to figure out where the projector was. Most think it’s a mirror, but can’t figure out how come they don’t see their reflection.

Fancy framed portraits on dark wallpapered walls, and low table covered in matching tablecloth

Matching tablecloth and upholstery! This is really the only time I’ve gotten into “interior decorating” (in our real house, nothing matches. I mean, who has time when it takes this long to make pretend rooms?).

Walk into the center of the room, turn to your right, and there’s the tunnel.

fancy frame contains busy collage of farm animals and farm life

The Tunnel of Mortality, framed.

I’m not going to try to explain how this looks in real life, since you really have to go experience it to get it. Suffice it to say, that it’s confusing at first since you can’t quite tell what you’re looking at. Some have said it feels like a mirror.

And here’s a cropped panorama of the center section:

scene filled with relief-printed farm animals, carcasses and scenes of farm life

All woodcut or linocut prints on fabric or Tyvek.

Reception is this Friday, 5-9pm at Artisan Gallery (directions).
And the show is up through September 9th.

So, come check it out!
Experience the tunnel!
Sign the camouflaged guestbook!
Read some of the entries in the guestbook here.

cloth-covered book matches pattern of tablecloth

Making 4th Century Books

wooden covered bookTook a fantastic bookbinding course at Valley Ridge Studio last weekend with instructor Daniel Essig! I love his work, and showcased his books in the book arts class when talking about contemporary book artists this past semester. He’s so inspiring. So, I was thrilled to be able to take his class and learn how to make his wooden book covers and Ethiopian binding.

Click on any image to enlarge it.

Closeup of mica window with corn insideThe book is about 5 inches tall, the cover wood is cherry–cut, filed, sanded, drilled, then stained with Kiwi shoe polish, then buffed to a shine.That window on the front encases some field corn and a small chicken feather (from a Black Laced Polish), sealed in with sheets of mica. Mica, or muscovite was originally used as windows in horse-drawn carriages as well as windows for early 20th century cars [more…]. Daniel uses it in many of his books and taught us how to cut, drill, peel and manipulate it for use in our books.Those are tiny little nails holding down the mica.

The thread is 4-ply and heavily waxed. the pages are a mixture of cotton rag paper sections alternating with mica sheets–all sewn in with the coptic stitch using 4 needles.

top view of Ethiopian bound book

It’s a coptic (or chain) stitched book, but there’s a lot of detailed intricacies to drilling and sewing on the covers that I never would have learned by reading a book (that is, I wouldn’t have had the patience to figure it out from written diagrams all by myself). Daniel says that the Coptic-stitched book combined with the wooden covers is what makes this an Ethiopian binding, a style of bookbinding from the 4th century. More information about the history of this book form is here.

rooster spur on left, page from old book on right

(click on photo to enlarge)

The Standard of Perfection (cover)

This spread (in progress) features one of my rooster’s spurs (cut in half with a jeweller’s saw)–you see the back of the spur here, encased in mica (click on the image to see the awesome growth rings exposed when it was sawed in half!). And on the right, some pages from a 19th century version of The American Standard of Perfection (a chicken breed book), sandwiched in-between sheets of mica.

Anyway, just wanted to share the experience here. To see much better made, polished, gorgeous books by Daniel Essig, as well as his amazing wooden sculptures and more, please visit his website. You’ll find his schedule of workshops there too, as well as information about his private workshops in his studio in Asheville, N.C., so you can learn how to make these too!

More linos…

Listening to rebroadcast of the Cluck: From Jungle Fowl to City Chicks interview on Larry Meiller’s show (archives) that Susan Troller and I did earlier in the year, meanwhile drawing carcass for segment of Tunnel of Mortality that is upcoming solo show in June atArtisan Gallery.

Oh yeah, and my first reduction tees! (hint to you tee printing folks: if the lino is cut out in a shape, you can just line up color #2 by matching the outside contours of the block shape to the outside edges of the print shape) Just did 2 prototypes (pink thermal shown) to see if it would work…. It did!

plucked chicken drawing in foreground, reduction prints, etc in background

Plucked lino measures about 30in. high. “Wallpaper” in background is lino on canvas duck cloth about 8ft wide, pigs are reductions on drill cloth, included in panels for ‘Tunnel’ installation