Finding True North

2012 Finding True North beforeFrom the moment I saw the derelict heater at Island Recycling, I knew what I wanted to make from it. I saw the parts rearranged, painted and repurposed into an altar. The details did not become apparent until I began the actual work on it months later.

I started my search for the background image by Googling “night sky” and the delicious image of the moon and planets resonated immediately. After that, the issues were logistics: how to support the back using the existing metalwork; how to make a platform and trim it; how to frame the image. Then back to interpretation: another image for under the curved top; some words to stamp into the strip around the base; what to hang to give the piece some movement.

2012 Finding True North after
The finished assemblage

The process of making art excites and intrigues me. My original visions take unexpected turns as I move back and forth between problem solving and presentation. I take numerous breaks to let ideas idle. Out of the chaos of first thoughts come refinements and repetitions as I unconsciously work design principles and though I have some book learning on these, I don’t name them as I go. Rather, they assert themselves. In this project, the second image needed to build on the first and be color consistent; the use of copper needed to be repeated; the brass screws served both a practical purpose and a unifying element.

When I was done and took the before and after pictures, I saw the metaphor for the new year: how we take our old, rather beat up selves and build hope and possibilities. The process is messy at times, surprising, and requires plenty of contemplation. The stamped words on the altar say “For every movement outward, let there be a pause inward”. What emerges is transformation. It might be art or it might be life or it might be life as art. You get to choose.

2 Thoughts

  1. I choose life as art, and I am so grateful this amazing piece of life as art is mine! I loved reading about how it came together…you are inspiring!

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