Shiny Beets and Showcards

If you ever get a chance to paint slightly fermented beet juice on a slipcast beet form, I think you won’t be disappointed. It really brings the beet back to life. The fermentation was a happy accident. I had juiced the beets a couple of weeks ago and stuck the jar in the studio fridge to keep it from molding until I could get back to it. By the time I got back to my jar it had thickened up a bit, but I went ahead and tried brushing it on anyway. Something about the concentration of sugars in the juice over time made the surface appear almost burnished. Who knew?

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I liked it so much I used up the rest of the jar, taking note to let that happen again.003 004

As I get closer to my thesis install day (27 days to go!) I have been trying out some different pile formats and thinking about my showcard. Fortunately, I have a dear friend who is willing to help me out in the graphic design realm. We came up with a compilation of material images from my process for the front of the card:

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I See Vegetables in My Sleep

You are probably thinking.. what, you are 37 days away from installing your MFA thesis show and you still have time to sleep? Well, when I do, trust me, after slip casting like a madwoman everyday it’s hard not to see veggies with my eyes closed too. I set up a test pile today to get a feel for things and see what works and doesn’t work so great. Here’s a glimpse of a couple hundred or so (a partial amount of what I actually have cast and filled so far) set up on a sheet of black landscaping fabric.

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You might have noticed the lonely looking orange potato in the lower left hand corner. Since I got all excited about my new carrot juice orange, I went to Houston for NCECA. When I returned four days later I noticed that the veggies I had painted with the carrot juice had oxidized and faded away, back to the pale brown color of the Walkill clay. The color seems to stick around for about a week.. so my new plan is to wait until a day or so before my installation day and paint them fresh, so I can get my color palette back on track. The beet juice so far has stayed pretty strong, though I do notice slight variations from one batch of juice to another, which is just fine with me. I enjoy the range of purples and some appear to be more shiny than others, as well.

Since my last post I also made a few more molds: a carrot, beet and an eggplant. I’d like to think that those will be the final molds for this project. This makes 16 now. On an average I am casting 6 days a week and get as many veggies as possible, not forgetting daily time in front of the fan for my overworked and oversaturated molds. Even molds deserve a day off, right?

Here’s what my eggplant and beet molds in process look like:

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and you know I didn’t think twice about juicing that nice fat beet for surface color! The eggplant didn’t go to waste either..