Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Handle With Care Part II: The 400 Piece Puzzle

No rest for the wicked.

Here's a shot from above taken from the scaffolding to give a sense of the different 'curtains' of glass we installed to create the final piece.  As with nearly every piece we install, there is a fair amount of discussion about the location of the current piece in relation to the previously installed pieces and the locations of future pieces as well.

Even though we have a long way to go before Landscape is completely installed, it is encouraging to see the artwork start to take shape.  It has gone from a hypothetical piece into something we, the installers, can start to visualize.  Being able to understand and visualize what the final piece might look like and how it needs to come together is a huge help when you're installing something as complex as this piece.

A few more shots of the river as it gets unpacked, installed, and then 'accessorized'.

In addition to mountains and waterfalls, we also hung several 'grass', 'bush', and 'boulder' elements.

Looking up through the glass towards the waterfall.

Dana, Lynette, and Regan are brainstorming to determine the location of a piece of glass based on one of dozens of photographs that accompanied the exhibition.

This shot provides a good insight into how the various curtains of glass build together to form the final piece.

The other half of the 'One, Two Punch' of 'Justin and Ben' was Ben Upchurch.  Ceramicists tend to be pretty darn strong.  Lugging massive chunks of clay, buckets of slop, and chopping a cord of wood to fuel a wood-fired kiln tends to build up the ole muscles.  I think Lou Ferrigno might wear Ben Upchurch pajamas.  Check out Ben's website to see some amazing work! (

*Please note that from whatever planet Ben hails, blue tape on the shirt is quite fashionable.

Time to for a quick 'bicep expo' brought to us by Ben, Robin, and Dana.

O.K. Back to the installation....

A close up of the different panels of 'grass'.

Boulders along the edge of the river.

And a couple shots of the mist.

To the left side of the river is a large spruce/fir tree element that took us two days to install.  At this point, we split into two teams.  Andrew, Dana, Lynette, and I worked on the big spruce/fir tree to the left of the river, and Regan, Robin, Ben, and Justin installed a whole forest of trees to the right side of the river.

For the fir/spruce tree, we located where the two trunk sections would go based on the template, and once they were hanging in place, we started to build the tree from the top down.  Each piece needed to be scrutinized for height, direction, and location in relation to all of the tree sections.

Lynette slide your wire South......down one inch......looks good.....CRIMP IT!

As the tree and the forest were starting to materialize from the vapor, I captured a couple quick images of grass, bushes, and boulders.

Robin holding a trunk section for one of the many trees in the forest area.

Robin and Regan starting to install one of many tree trunks that make up the forest.

The forest section.

The spruce/fir tree is simply beautiful as it takes shape.

Removing the Masonite, Tyvek and plastic allows the glass to interact more properly with the white base.  Those protective layers were visually too busy and nearly squelched the ethereal and nuanced interactions between the glass elements.

The image above has all those distractions removed and you can start to develop a sense of how the image advances and retreats within the 'vapor' of the glass.  In the image below, the visual distractions are still present and they rob Landscape of its luminescence and presence.

Regan is putting the finishing touches on the river section while carefully removing/extracting the plastic template and the protective layer of Tyvek.

A group photo in the forest.  From left-to-right: Lynette, Dana, Regan, Me, Robin, and Justin.  Not shown: Andrew and Ben.  Andrew was busy cleaning up from an eight day install while the rest of us slackers took a photo op, and Ben had to leave early for a 'date night'/belated Valentines dinner.

I've included a quick shot of Ben 'Safety is no accident with us' Upchurch so he doesn't feel left out of the group photo.

Another challenge when putting up an exhibition of this nature is resisting getting slap-happy/loopy/giddy/ whatever you want to call it.  Once you start getting fatigued, that's when accidents happen.  A huge thanks to Lynette, Regan, and Andrew for keep us focused and safe.

Landscape is up and Justin is excited!

Landscape: Ingalena Klenell and Beth Lipman is on display from now through May 25th 2014 at the Figge Art Museum.


Ingalena Klenell (

Beth Lipman (

Museum of Glass (

Figge Art Museum (

*One final note.  On the fourth floor of The Figge, from now until May 4th, is another show from the Museum Of Glass called Kids Design Glass.  Basically, professional glass artists worked with kids of the the ages of 12 and younger to translate the kids' drawings into glass sculptures.  I've included a quick link HERE for a fuller description of the show/project.

One of the pieces is a Venus Flytrap with a Lightsaber!  That's as cool as Fonzi, Marcel DuChamp, Han Solo, and Liz Phair sitting around a table in a cafe arguing about whether Lovedrive or Fly To The Rainbow is the best Scorpions album!