Install

There is no shortage of things to get done with a project of this size I am realizing.  Once the work was crated up and safely on its way back to Dallas, I spent a few extra days in California with my husband, a brief bit of down time.  Once back, everything was unpacked, inspected, and plans were made for the installation.  Scott Shubin , a fellow Dallas artist and very capable art installer, designed and fabricated mounts for the panels.  We needed them to secure to the brick and be tamper resistant just in case.

 The wall I had chosen for the site had been in transition over the last couple months.  A mural had been painted over the existing graffiti, which had set off a bit of a conflict between the previous and current occupier of the wall space.  The result was an odd mix of explicit tags and some efforts to paint over them.  Due to this rather less than appealing surface to mount my work, I got permission from the mural artist and collaborated with artist Angela Faz to do a temporary transformation of the wall.  The use of old Dallas maps, wheatpasting,  dripping paint, and the previous wall work made a perfect backdrop for my piece. 

The install was a smooth and easy process under Scott’s guidance and a little extra help from our friend Bobby Flatt.  The final touch was a short chain link fence around the bottom.  A common sight in this neighborhood, the chain both helped to frame the piece and detour any overly close encounters viewers might try.  

Many months of planning and work later, and many, many words written about it, Project: Crossroads will officially open this Saturday August 27th and will stay up through the end of 2016.  If you are in the area I hope you will come join me at 1720 S. Akard St to celebrate, and if not, I thank you for reading along!

KVO Industries Part 3

The process of enameling at KVO was a bit of a fast, slow, slow pace.  I would have windows of time that I would have my spray gun ready to hop into the spray booth and get coat on during the workers’ breaks.  Their workday would usually begin at 6 am and go until 3pm.  I got into the habit of getting there around 7am, enjoying the time just being in the space and listening to the guys chat.  They were all helpful and knowledgeable about the various processes.   I would get most of my work done in the later afternoon once they had gone and I had most of the enamel areas to myself.  Steve, the owner, would work with me helping to hang the panels and fire.  He would also share various finishing techniques, stories about some of his favorite projects, and the hopes that this facility would long-term become more of resource for artists such as myself.    

The opportunity to work in this environment gave me a renewed appreciation for the industrial enamel objects that surrounds us and the technical skill required to produce them.  Each of my panels has 3-5 firings and was finished over two and a half days.  By Friday morning, I had only finishing touches.  They helped me re-pack the work, doing a far better and more secure job than I would have.  Once the work was crated back up, and the whirlwind of an experience done, I was relieved and invigorated. 

KVO Industries Part 2

 Grey panels

Grey panels

 The memorial panels in process

The memorial panels in process

By the end of my first day at KVO my crate had still not arrived and I was beginning to panic.  My time was limited to this one week in Santa Rosa, and if the crate did not arrive and I did not get the work done, I would have no option but to pack it back up and send it back home to Dallas unfinished.  Additionally, while I was renting time and space at KVO, I still had to be courteous of the workers spaying and firing schedule.  The week I was there was a busy one.  They had just begun on a big order for a large number of blank grey panels that would be used for changeable vinyl signage at a university.  Also that week they were working on a series of prototype photo collage panels for a funeral home that would be mounted on headstones.  The use of durable enamel signage for grave makers was not a use that had occurred to be before, but turns out to be a growing market.

I began my second day at KVO with still no crate, and spent the morning calling the freight company and working on samples.  I would be using a combination of Thompson and their in-house mixed enamels.  I had worked with this combo at home, but knew you could never do too many samples, and something new always comes up working in a new space. 

 To clean the surface of small parts, they taught me to take old liquid enamel and rubbed it all over the piece, allow it to dry then brushed it off.  Worked like a charm, all oils and dirt removed.

To clean the surface of small parts, they taught me to take old liquid enamel and rubbed it all over the piece, allow it to dry then brushed it off.  Worked like a charm, all oils and dirt removed.

 Panels going into the parts washer for a good cleaning.

Panels going into the parts washer for a good cleaning.

Finally midday my crate arrived and work would really begin.  The panels would need to be sanded in the areas where rust had begun to form and a few needed additional tabs added for hanging.  The interior of the KVO kiln is 8 ft long and 7 ft high and 3 ft deep.  There are hanging tracks on both sides so during high production they do not have to wait for a load to cool and be unloaded before doing the next firing.  By the end of my second day the panels were washed and ready to begin work.