Roots- Thank you Soul Cycle


These two dead plants were in pots outside of Soul Cycle. The roots were exposed and beautiful. This summer every week I would ask the staff if I could have them for my art. Every week I received the same response, that they would have to get approval from the locations manager to remove the dead plants. They are mine now. 😊 thank you, everyone at Soul Cycle for not getting irritated with my constant persuit of these roots. 

My interest in roots has to do with my interest in regenerative agricultural. I will explain in the next roots blog post

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The art of conversation -football, father’s and daughters.

When I moved away from El Paso in 1998 and I called my Dad, we did not have a lot to talk about. Although, I had lots to say about Curtis, the kids, the dogs and my various women's tennis sports thrillers, but he didn’t have a lot to share with me. I felt like our conversations were one sided since we didn’t converse. My dad l o v ed football, so, like a good daughter, I took up watching college and pro football. I cheer for the Aggies (unless they were playing the TT Raiders. If they played the Raiders, I was pistols up) and the Texans. My Dad rooted for UT and the Cowboys. He watched every game. We had some great conversations after the games, reliving the great plays, tragic fumbles, amazing long artful passes, the player’s impressive athletic abilities, and crazy interceptions together. The Texans play tonight, and I am pretty sure my Dad is pumped. I am having a strange urge to smoke a brisket or maybe some ribs. Tonight we watch together, however, he has a better view than I do. 

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my Dad’s senior year book. 

Hurricane Harvey Project - confronted with humanity #3

 I wanted to finish this series before the anniversary of Harvey. Unfortunately I do not have a press available to use. The images are 30” X 22”, and they would be difficult to press by hand. I have decided to go ahead and post the pieces I was able to finish this spring.  I will post close ups of the other pieces over the summer. 

 The guy in the Astros cap 

The guy in the Astros cap 

 Ghost print.  

Ghost print.  

 

The plan is to combine a collection of the images with a sculpture of a Red Cross cot. 

 

 

 I am still fine tuning the artist statement. 

 

(working) artist statement- 

When you witness or experience a horrific event there are images that hold onto you, images that will forever be conjoined to the experience.

Weathering Houston’s hurricane Harvey I was glued to the TV and Houston’s social media postings.  My eyes soaked up videos of contaminated waters creeping in the homes of nearby neighborhoods. I witnessed daring rescues of families as they were evacuated. In amazement I watched mothers and children pile into garbage trucks, elderly folks in wheel chairs airlifted by helicopters. Through social media calls for help it became obvious our cities first responders could not get to every home in need. Proudly I saw brave Texans convert their flat bottom fishing boats, and jacked up pickup trucks into liferafts and search for those who called for help.  No man would be left behind.

When our street drained, turning off the news, and putting my social media in my pocket I packed up my dry survivors guilt and headed down to the George R. Brown convention center to volunteer and treat my pain and my conscience. The Red Cross  had turned 1/3 of the GRB into a families with pets section. Entering the building with dielated pupils I wove my way through the walk ways created by the clusters of family occupied cots and pet kennels spread throughout the space. It struck me that even in the midst of a disaster we humans create neighborhoods and small communities, we are pack animals.  I  headed towards the pop up pet supply store well stocked from donations made by citizens  and the volunteer veterinary clinic where I would be helping out. Careful not to disturb the sleeping citizens of the newly formed families with pets city,  I was confronted by a single cot. It was freshly dressed in a crisp white sheet accessorized with a fluffy white pillow and tucked in by a cozy, white flannel blanket decorated with tiny Red Cross logos all over. It was isolated from the others waiting for the next victim of Harvey to tuck themselves in and comfort them with safety.  With all the rescue images of people trudging through unsanitary water, homes floating in floodwater fresh in my memory bank that cot was shockingly - humanity. 30,000 GRB citizens would be relieved to make it their new homestead.  It was heart breaking - and beautiful all at the same time. I could imagine if I had been rescued that that cot would have been a along awaited relief. That I would not have asked the sheet thread count or if the cotton was grown pesticide free. My heart hurt for all those who were grateful to have such a cot. That cot, that crystal clear image of stripped down humanity is the Harvey image that holds onto me.

Within weeks I made two watercolor monotype pieces of the cot one as I saw it and one with a pet waiting for it’s owner. I was pleased with their crispness and the delicate watery shapes seen when closely inspected. It occurs to me that the cot was so symbolic to me because of the constant eyewitness news reporting and abundance of social media post. From my dry den  I too experienced Harvey. 

I have collected screen shots of these images and will use them as inspiration for additional works to go with the cot. It will be interesting to see it is interesting to anyone but me.

Harvey project #1

October 6, 2017

I am starting a new project inspired by the experiences I witnessed on social media during hurricane Harvey as well as broadcasted  by traditional media, and my experience at George R.Brown as a volunteer in the families with pets area. 

There were so many images of people rescuing perfect strangers, big guys with boated who just could not sit at home and watch people suffer on TV. When the rain finally stopped I found that I had a bad case of survivors guilt. The only thing you can do about survivors guilt is to volunteer. So  that I did; I went down to the George R. Brown Cinvention Center and as fate would have it I was assigned the families with pets section. I was the only non trained volunteer the put in the families with pets section. The other volunteers were trained by pets4life one of the local pet rescue associations. In the families with pets section the families are allowed to bring their pets. The have to be seen by the volunteer vet. They were given any vaccines or medication they needed. 

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water color monotype. 

30” X 22” 

Sapling #1

I have had a request to make a faux bois sapling tree complete with bronze abstract leaves. 

 

Arnature -  

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The Steel armature is complete. 

The question is what do I make the leaves out of to make the leaf molds. I do not have an answer - yet. 

Faux bois Wedding gift ❤️❤️ #5


For Griffin and Alex- 

Today is overcast and drizzly, my favorite weather. As I work on the kid's bench, I take a picture every hour, then every thirty minutes, then every fifteen minutes of our night blooming water Lillie. It is normally closed up and underwater by mid-morning. Due to the overcast sky, it is lingering exceptionally long and gives me time to absorb every stage of its closing. I know that Griffin and Alex will enjoy knowing the Lillie as well. The dogs are hanging out with me while I secure lath to their gift.  

 

 
Today’s lesson number one for a happy marriage and life is always have a dog or two in your family. Man/woman + animal + plant = A sustainable life 

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Goose and Tobi my faithful helpers. 

 


The last time I worked on the bench, I covered a limb from the right side foot clear across to the other side of the bench.

Lesson number two is about looking at both sides. Take the time to step out of your preset opinions and listen to your partner’s thoughts and opinions. To stay balanced, seek out each other’s unique views. See life through your partner’s eyes. :) 

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Lesson number three is to give each other flowers. They don’t have to be store-bought or delivered. They can be beautiful weeds hand-picked, or in a photograph texted.

Here are the lillies.  

Faux bois Wedding gift ❤️❤️ Keeping the bench from rusting


Keeping your marriage/bench from rusting-
It is a fact that concrete will get hairline cracks, water will penetrate hairline cracks and water will rust steel and rusted steel breaks. During the lifetime of a marriage you will have differences, the surface of your bond will crack. If you plan ahead, if your relationship is strong and you talk your differences out, your marriage will not rust. It will be restored and stronger after you work through your problems.


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In order to keep Griffin and Alex’s bench from rusting, I am painting a coat of Restore, a rust retardant on the the armature. 

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The restore is a bluish color. 

Both their marriage and bench should last forever.

 

What does sound look like? installation problem solving #3

Before I can dive deep into this installation, I need to work out a few problems.

1. How to hang the wire elements from a concrete ceiling. Drilling holes for anchoring would be very difficult and nasty, and would ruin the ceiling- not an option. 

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2. In addition, the ceilings have 8 double concrete beams that run across the room. The space between the beams varies.

 the space between the beams varies from 1/4”-3/4” . 

the space between the beams varies from 1/4”-3/4” . 

Small tension rods would be optimal. After a few hours at a hardware store, I have decided that a small wedge of PC-Crete between the cracks will work best and will be the easiest to remove when the project is finished.

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 I am 5’4” 12’ is a stretch even on a ladder. 

I am 5’4” 12’ is a stretch even on a ladder. 

 3. How can I safely reach the 12’ ceiling. My current ladder is not tall enough. I was lucky to find a little Giant ladder on sale at Lowes. 

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The little giant is a LOT of ladder, and I am not going to step on it until I watch a YouTube video and thoroughly and read the instructions.

 

 It is a LOT of ladder, and I am not going to step on it until I watch a YouTube video and thoroughly read the instructions.

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The ladder is back a Lowes and Aztec has rented me this small scaffold for 2days. Onward! 

Faux bois Wedding gift ❤️❤️ #3

For Griffin and Alex-

I have added more vines to create a stronger back to the bench. The back of the bench is the metaphor for the strength of their marriage.  Curtis has always been there for me and I know Griffin and Alex will always be able to lean on each other.

 

Supporting the seat and the back of the bench are the legs. If the legs are wobbly and weak, the whole thing will collapse. Respect for each other is what gives our marriage strength. To make this a respectable bench, I am going to add more support to the legs.

 There are many ways to strengthen the legs and all are equally good. In our home I do things one way and Curtis often does things another way. What is important is that we both help out, we both try to carry our own weight. With this in mind I will build the support for the right legs and the left legs differently. 

 

 right legs

right legs

The right front and right back legs have a vine that runs between them for additional support. The leg on the left back will be supported with a branch from the seat and the front left leg will have several vines running down it, making a double leg anchoring it to the seat.

 The double left front leg supported by extra vines. 

The double left front leg supported by extra vines. 

  I think that the most important change I added was a branch that reaches across from one side of the back of the bench to the other side of the bench. I suggest throughout your marriage you reach across and hold hands as often as you can.

 I think that the most important change I added was a branch that reaches across from one side of the back of the bench to the other side of the bench. I suggest throughout your marriage you reach across and hold hands as often as you can.

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Curtis testing the leg strength and back stability. He said it was a respectable bench. 

 I have decide to double up on the front piece of rebar. Above I am tacking it to the first piece of rebar. (Thank you Sage for taking the pic.) 

I have decide to double up on the front piece of rebar. Above I am tacking it to the first piece of rebar. (Thank you Sage for taking the pic.) 

 Where should the birds sit? It is always good to consult with your partner. I checked with my whole family and this is the winning location. Alex suggested this spot. I wired it on just to make sure it is the right place. I added a little piece of rebar set back a bit so the birds will not poke anyone in the back.

Where should the birds sit? It is always good to consult with your partner. I checked with my whole family and this is the winning location. Alex suggested this spot. I wired it on just to make sure it is the right place. I added a little piece of rebar set back a bit so the birds will not poke anyone in the back.

 welding the birds on. 

welding the birds on. 

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Close up of me welding the birds to the branch. 

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Wahoo! the bench is structurally sound,

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and the love birds are very comfy. 

I am always looking ahead and already thinking about the texture of the concrete for this piece. 

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Here is a chair I did several years ago. The Concrete the lovebird bench will have a similar narliness with a much lighter patina. 

Faux bois Wedding gift ❤️❤️ #2

To build a strong bench, you have to build into the structure reinforcement. I have welded (connected) numerous small pieces, of rebar, to the legs for stability. To build a strong marriage, you will have to work at staying connected, have date nights, hold hands when ever possible. Talk to each other about your connections and how you can build more. You can’t have too many.

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legs reinforced (connected) with small pieces of rebar. 

 

The top of the seat will be covered with pig wire. Pig wire is super strong  

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Picking a piece of pig wire big enough to cover the seat.  

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The pig wire fits.  

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In order to protect the feet of the legs I weld a stainless steel washer underneath the rebar. Every marriage needs a strong footing as does every bench. 

What does sound look like?

Using the Schlieren Flow Visualization method of photography, scientists photograph sound vibrations (even with them moving at 761.2 miles per hour.) NPR does a beautiful job of explaining this complicated process that scientists use to see sound. See link below-

https://www.npr.org/2014/04/09/300563606/what-does-sound-look-like

 

It is amazing and inspiring to see photographs/videos of sound. With this additional visual inspiration and  conversations with art critic Laura Wellen and curator Kimberley Davenport, I have decided to create an installation in my new studio. 


 

 I have moved my “score” (working title) sculpture to my new studio.

I have moved my “score” (working title) sculpture to my new studio.

 Everything else is in a temporary storage facility 

Everything else is in a temporary storage facility 

 I will miss my dogs 😒

I will miss my dogs 😒

 

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With some luck by the end of the summer  my new studio will be filled with a 4D installation of the voice of the violin. 

New project - Faux bois Wedding gift ❤️❤️

January 3, 2018, our son Griffin married his soulmate, Alexandra Groome.

 After the wedding at the Houston Arboretum.  

After the wedding at the Houston Arboretum.  

As a wedding gift, Curtis and I gave them one of my early bronze sculptures “lovebirds”.

 Bronze lovebirds welded to rebar.  

Bronze lovebirds welded to rebar.  


The lovebirds are inspired by my grandparents Imogene Young Travis and Robert Francis Travis, (Granny Gene and Bob-pa). They were married in high school and remained married for 70 plus years. In their El Paso High School yearbook, their senior pictures faced each other and lovebirds were placed in the corners of each of their pictures.

 photo of copies of the yearbook pages framed in my house. 

photo of copies of the yearbook pages framed in my house. 

The second part of the gift is to make them a faux bois bench for the love birds to sit on.

I am going to make each piece of the bench thinking about the two of them and the lessons I want to pass down from my grandparents and from my own marriage. It will be a reflection of the qualities of the love Griffin and Alex committed to each other that day on January 3rd, and will be a symbol of the characteristics needed to maintain a marriage for a lifetime. My plan is to have it completed by their first anniversary. 


Design Considerations: 
1. Griffin and Alex are both environmentalists, so I will recycle as much rebar from other projects as possible.

2. No marriage is ever perfectly balanced, so I will make the bench asymmetrical.

3. It will have arm rests for support - symbols of both of their families. 

4. When things don’t work out exactly as planned, I will keep an open mind and make the best of the situation. The beauty will be in the imperfections as is life.   

5. I will listen to their wedding playlist on Spotify as I work. 

6. Griffin and Alex are very playful. The piece will reflect the joy they embrace life with. 

I started on Thursday, June 15th. Griffin and Alex are both people-people. They are always reaching out to others and welcoming them into their home and world, they love to entertain. So I decided to make the seat of the bench the shape of open arms.

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rebar welded into the shape of open arms that will eventually be the seat. 

 

Next I need to set the seat on jack’s the correct height for comfortable seating. Every couple needs a good support group. 

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Marriage should be comfortable -  The front is slightly higher than the back for comfort. 

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 equality - I use a level to make sure the seat is level from side to side.  

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Grinding the tip of a piece of rebar cut for a leg. 

 With small taps I  use a sledgehammer to make a gentle curve to a leg. 

With small taps I  use a sledgehammer to make a gentle curve to a leg. 

Next is to creat the armrest and back of the bench. 

 Four legs and two arm rest are welded to the seat.

Four legs and two arm rest are welded to the seat.

Griffin and Alex are very fun loving and not inhibited at all to have a good time. The vines/branches that make up the back will embrace this side of them. 

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A little sketch of the armature and how it will look with concrete on it so far. 

I might need to prune the crazy branch on the left side.