Once I had started on one piece (HPV Deconstructed), the others flowed more easily. I wanted to do a piece about blood, and blood cells in particular. I also wanted to work more extensively with non-paper materials.
Mesh – In college, I had taken a course called Projects in 3 Dimensions, in which we explored many media, including wire window screening, playing with its bias and springy quality, the difficulty of finishing the edges and the connective possibilities of those spiky edges, as well as the shadow and moire effects of its distorted grid. A couple of years ago, I took a class with Dennis Nahabetian, learning to distort the grid pattern and electroform bronze mesh. So, I came up with a form reminiscent of a blood cell in its springy, doughnut-like shape, but also, it turned out, connected to other more symbolic references to blood. One of the symbols for the Norse god Odin is a triangular shape made of three interlocking horns, drawn from the three horns full of mead made from the blood of Kvasir (another Norse god) that Odin drank.
I was thrilled that I could make a form similar to that out of wire mesh, and so began experimenting with the shape in both aluminum and bronze wire mesh. First runs of the three-sided form included extra folds in the segments, making the “cells” puffy and textured.
This effect was pleasing, but the surface seemed too busy, so I backed off and made slightly simpler forms, with stiffened stripey edges and no central folds. I concentrated more on combining the two colors of the mesh and creating a composition of stacked (clotted) cells within a steel frame. In addition to the beautiful effect of the translucent mesh and the shadows it creates, I liked the additional reference to the mesh-like material (niobium webbing) used to make stents used to prevent clots in medical procedures.
In the end, I made quite a few extra cells so that I had maximum flexibility, and they each took up to two hours to make! I pinched the edge pattern in each piece, three pieces per cell, and then folded over all of the edges (one wire at a time) to help them catch less on each other and look more finished. I like the way that the mesh still catches some, a reminder of how clots form.
The frames (made by Elle Brand – thank you!!) were welded 1/4″ steel and I covered them with high-shrinkage charcoal-colored paper to create a matte finish. I wanted the frame to be a shadow element that contained the forms, but didn’t compete with their shiny surfaces.
In the end, I made three clots, choosing to use only one bronze cell per piece to highlight the cell form and give a dramatic focus to each piece. When lit close to a wall, the shadows are quite dramatic. The image below is of the installation before final lighting at Strathmore, and I will update this post when I have final photos. The shadows should be higher on the wall.