Another artist collaboration to keep me on my toes: making a stained glass plank (yes, that’s a length-wise cross-sectional slab of tree) for Jason Middlebrook. He’s been working on a series of very lovely, abstract, painted wood planks for several years, and recently started to work in different media, including concrete, bronze and now, stained glass.
As a test, I cut up an old stained glass window to see if I could give it some depth and texture to look like tree bark. Crumpled, soldered copper foil over a sturdy mosaic of mirror eventually did the job quite well.
Jason loved the sample, and turned up at my studio soon after with a beautiful cottonwood plank almost 9ft tall that was to be our model, the specific plank I would be re-creating.
My first drawing shows the place where the cross-section of the inner bark meets the wood proper. It’s a smooth darker area that’s flush with the surface of the plank. A welded steel armature will follow the bumps and curves of this line.
Then I made a wax rubbing of the edge of the plank where the bark begins to slope away.
I set Jason up with some narrow strips of black masking tape and he started drawing out the major breaks.
Here’s the partially completed cartoon (there will be a lot more linework) and the cutlines. Jason Middlebrook’s exhibition at MASS MoCA is up for another week (’til April 6th) and well worth a visit.