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Journal

News from Dowd House Studios: places to find our pottery, exhibitions, classes & workshops, new forms and exciting projects.

Filtering by Tag: thaumatropes

Sketch to Life

Jenny Dowd

My sketching process is really messy, sketchbooks get torn up and little scraps of paper usually hold the best ideas. Often I can’t figure out how to define the idea on paper and the sketch becomes 3D - clay or wire, and then gets recycled.

The past few weeks I’ve been cleaning and organizing my studio space as well as attempting to wrangle art images into files and onto my websites. This is a good way to find odd things and reminders of past projects. Here are 2 of the most vague sketches I found and their resulting sculptures…

Believe it or not this was the final sketch for a ceramic and steel chandelier made for a project in 2016. It was just enough information on paper for me to move on to clay. I remember showing this drawing to a few people who seemed to understand it and were really excited… maybe my verbal description was more coherent, or maybe they were just being polite. Either way, this is what the sketch turned into:

Wyoming Sky Lantern was commissioned by Agnes Bourne for the foyer of the Designer Show House at the 2016 Western Design Conference. Read all about this project in this past Journal entry. The chandelier is now permanently living in a private home, the owner shared these images and I absolutely love them. I never would have guessed how the porcelain would change color with the lighting and environment. Maybe that is why my sketches are so vague?

This sketch was from a project last summer, I collaborated with Matt Daly to make 12 thaumatropes that were installed around Emily Steven’s Pond. This project was part of FoundSpace, a project designed by Jackson Hole Public Art and the Jackson Hole Land Trust. Once again, a very simple sketch became something quite complicated.

Read more about this project and see images of all the thaumatropes on my website.

FoundSpace: Update

Jenny Dowd

I'm used to projects offering more challenges than initially expected. Most things are not as simple as they seem, and making working thaumatropes proved that statement true over and over this summer.

Despite, or perhaps because of the difficulties, these are the projects I love the most. In frustration I'll leave my studio to take a walk, returning with another idea that I'm eager to try. I'll turn a difficult project around in my mind while working on something that makes sense- then when that project turns on me I'll go back to the other one.

To read about the first installment check out this past post and to read about the whole FoundSpace project check out this past post.

Thanks to installation by Matt Daly all 12 thaumatropes are now on display until the middle of August at Emily Steven's Park!

I got really serious about making the thaumatropes sturdy and functional, so for this final version each disk spins on an axle. The wood disks are glued and screwed together (learned from another early mistake.) The screws are counter-sunk on the last 4 disks so the drawing surface is smoother.

Each illustration was completed on paper, then transferred to the wooden disk using carbon paper and drawn/painted with acrylic paint pens. The illustration for the mottled sculpin was made on paper as well as vellum so I could check the overlap. When the disk spins both images are visible at once- for this image the mottled sculpin needed to look like he was under water- or more precisely, in a riffle.

After the logistics of creating spinning thaumatropes was figured out, the illustrations came easily as accompaniments to Matt's poems. 

One of the coolest things about working with Matt on this project was learning about these little critters. When I looked up images of the Bushy-tailed Woodrat I also learned that they will drop whatever edible thing they are carrying back to their stash in favor of a shiny object- like a spoon or coins!

I had no idea what a Mottled Sculpin was- and that they are tiny- end of a finger tiny! 

Plus the humor- while it may seem funny and light-hearted to authropormophise animals, it might also be serious. They might actually find each other obnoxious.

And cicadas might actually be pretty excited to graduate from nymph-hood!

The best part is that this project has made me look differently at this area I've lived in for over 10 years... there is always something to learn and something to see.

Stop by Emily Steven's Park to see all 12 before August 20th!

FoundSpace 2018: Part 2

Jenny Dowd

This week FoundSpace 2018 was unveiled at Emily Steven's Park! This art will be on display until August 8, and there is plenty to explore. I'm one of 5 artists invited by the JH Land Trust and JH Public art to create a temporary installation that will bring awareness to our public wild spaces. At FoundSpace, the challenge is to create something that will help visitors see the space in a different way- and hopefully discover something new every time they visit.

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This awesome map, designed by Cal Brackin, was screen printed onto bandanas by Walt Gerald

FoundPrints by the Sun

Brittany Hill took inspiration from the organic material found in this location to create naturally dyed flags. Each represent a species that has been transferred to the fabric through printmaking processes that rely on the sun.

Looksees

Bronwyn Minton invites viewers to come over and take a looksee. Her large sculptures are hard to resist and each offer spyglass holes- look through and you might just see something.

The Small Village of Treepoli

Bland Hoke enticed the small occupants of Treeopoli to construct a tiny village of hanging houses and rope ladders. Look closely, many details are hidden within the village.

Chronicles of the Introverted Minifauna

Matt Daly and I have created thaumatropes (check out last week's blog post for details) that tell stories about the little critters that are easily overlooked. So far we have installed 4... but keep an eye out, we will be installing more around the park over the next month!

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FoundSpace 2018: Part 1

Jenny Dowd

FoundSpace 2018 is ready to be explored! 

Now in its Fourth year, this project is a collaboration between the JH Land Trust and JH Public Art. FoundSpace offers the opportunity and challenge of interpreting conserved public land in creative and interactive ways. This year FoundSpace is at Emily Steven's Park just outside of Wilson, WY.

Last year I collaborated with Matt Daly, (see our project here) we had such fun that we decided to work together again. Inspired by the optical combination of words and images in thaumatropes, Matt wrote 12 short poems, one for each month, that highlight the overlooked (and often introverted) mini-fauna found in this area. 

I illustrated each poem, which has been challenging since the magic behind the thaumatrope is 3 drawings- one on each side, plus a combination of the 2 when the disk spins.

The image had to be clear enough to read, yet the multiple parts allowed for slightly more information. I was so excited about telling the stories that I missed an important step- the image has to be perfectly registered on each side so that when the disk flips the image is not blurry. Oops.

I drew the image on paper, transferred it to plywood with carbon paper, then registered the image using holes in the side of the disk. (As seen by the highly technical use of drill bits...) 

Each little critter has such personality and imagery created through Matt's words, it was easy to imagine the story and what I wanted to visualize. I am so excited to be part of this project and to work in collaboration with another creative who sees the world from a different angle. I'm already learning a lot about some of the mini-fauna that I was not aware of! 

The thaumatrope is made cut disks from plywood in a diameter to fit discarded bike wheels that Matt scavenged. I drew and painted on the primed surfaces and made cranks so they can be turned by hand. The stands were made by Matt from discarded fence posts, and all stand at different heights.

We've started with 4 thaumatropes, and will install all 12 within the next month. So stay tuned for updates, and if Emily Steven's Park is part of your normal routine be sure to check back periodically.

There are 3 more artists who have installed artwork in the park: Bronwyn Minton, Bland Hoke, and Brittany Hill. Check back for my post on Saturday June 9th for a full update!

And if you are in the area, stop by Thursday June 7th from 5-8pm for the opening event. (You'll be able to make your very own small thaumatrope!)