Propping up the cells

I am falling a little behind on posting these here, so I will put this blog post from the SciArt Residency program in quotes.

Last week, Darcy, Kate and I had a very productive Skype call, where I expressed my concern about the technical challenges of attaching the beaded cells to the canvas in a way to would make them stand.  Kate suggested using acrylic rods.  It was a good start, but honestly, I was not thrilled with the idea. I felt that the width of the rods, despite being hidden behind cells, would take away from the delicate nature of the image.  But it got me thinking…

The next day, I went back to the bead store and found long, thin black beads.  I created the cells with a long and sturdy wire stem in the back.  The stem was threaded through the black beads and then the wire was pierced through the canvas.  But now what?…

I was really tempted to stick small pieces of Styrofoam to the back ends of the wires, but again, that would prevent me from doing any further sewing.  So for the time being, I just put small blobs of modeling clay onto the tips to keep them from falling.  Now imagine doing that several times, flipping the canvas back and forth and hoping that nothing would fall out.  Slowly, I was able to create and attach nine purple cells. As with the yellow beads in the background, I need to find a compromise with myself on which cells to include and which to leave out.  I was particularly concerned about the relatively uneven distribution of the purple cells across the image giving a sense of imbalance.  

Propping the cells
Propping up the cells
The purple cell layer
The purple cell layer

This is where I’ve hit a wall.  The process of creating each cell was so slow and intricate that I decided to take a break from the actual artwork and think about the logistics of creating the next layer – the light blue cells.  When I bought the black cylindrical beads, I got them in 2 lengths with about a 1.5-fold difference.  

    • Question # 1:  Do I create all cells at the same level, or should the blue cells be a bit higher than the purple?  And if I make them taller, will they be able to hold?
    • Question # 2:  If I make them taller, will I be able to put on a 3rd layer that I have been thinking of?
    • Question # 3:  What materials do I use for creating the super dense net of the thin blue processes?  This will definitely take some experimentation…


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