FIRST COLD: its effects on hands and materials
First cold is coming here in Milwaukee--cold air--means that working with
things outdoors as i do, the objects and surfaces i am making rubBEings and
clay impressions of are also cold--cold to the touch. The hands feel cold,
the materials cold.
I usually carry along varying amounts of clay to make impressions
of raised letterings and of various objects too large to cart back home or
lug to sites whre i can work without dmaging property or plant life. I
spray piant the clay one or many colors and then press paper down onto the
painted clay--then pull the paper of fand see the letters/words/forms in all
thier painted glory.
(I also do them in black when want a good dirty or a very
clean effect on the page--dirty meaning that the areas around the letterings
are smudged and torn and non-liinear--that is, the letters and forms are
more intensely apprehended as shapes, forms in themselves and not words
only. The clean effects are made by using clay strips that are not much
wider or longer than the letters/words/froms. When painted and pressed onto
paper they have a relatively neat look to them and the letter/word/form is
(I use the terms "dirty" and "clean" as this distinction has
been made for some time regarding two differing ways of presenting the
materials. I'm not sure i particularly care for the terms, but they are the
ones in common usuage.)
In the cold, the clay is less malleable and i have to press and
pull much harder on it to get it into the right lengths for the word or
objects i wish to cover and make the impressions of.
Banging with my fist on a siirp of clay to lengthen and widen it,
brought back memories of working in summer. When warm, the clay begins to
stick to surfaces, like chewing gum does. One hot day i was so excited
about a certain plaque i wanted to make impressions from, that i didn't take
proper note of the heat. The plaque was a black metal--and was like a Black
Hole in space, absorbing all the light and heat it possibly could. I applied
the clay and watched it begin to smear and slide and slither about my
fingers and palm as i pressed down. I went to pull the clay off and it was
like pulling taffy. It just stretched and stretched into colorful bands.
Some children playing nearby came over and watched with laughter.
The first cold also brings back memories which will be used to
plan ahead for the winter. How long can one stand it, making rubBEings in
ice, cold and snow? It varies with all sorts of factors--if one is working
in shaodw or sunlight, which direction and speed the wind is coming, what
sorts ofmaterials one is working on. Metal of course gets the coldest--next
comes rock, cement, etc--wood is quite cold and hard also.
Usually i work until my hands start to get numb or burn, the
burn before they plunge into an icy pain. I don't mind it as long as i was
able to get some good rubBEings or clay impressions.
For now, the air is only a bit nippy at night--but since i
often work well past sunset i notice it already. It's a good feeling
actually--i'm happy to be working away outdoors feeling these changes come.
Every change brings a joy because one's attention with the
hands and the materials is being continually developed. I love working
outdoors because the physical awareness i feel is teaching continually the
hands and eyes and ears esp an ever greater sensitivity with small changes,
small shifts of light, wind, heat/cold, hardness or melt of materials. This
joy & awareness i hope in some small ways finds its way into the works made.
They are thanks for being participant in al this that is happening,
continually. Notations of the continually changing . . .
"The basis of art is change in the universe."--Basho
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