HOT AND STICKY It was the oddest feeling in the world to leave our lovely home on a frosty morning and a few handfuls of hours later, find ourselves sitting on the porch in Maryland (pronounced more like Maralyn), sipping ice-cold drink, swatting off mosquitos, and sweating like we'd run a marathon in an aran sweater.
Fortnight one of our dual-facility residency at Red Dirt and Flux Studios has seen temperatures up to the high 80sF - that's in the 30sC to us metric folk, with a humidity of 70% today. So much for fall and all those winter woollies we packed!
Although we gave ourselves a few days to start spinning the right way and stop falling asleep at random hours; to orientate ourselves, buy bikes and stop being eaten alive (yeah - like there's any chance of that last one, this is a swamp you know!); we have dived headfirst into the art world of the Greater DC area.
HOT AND SMOKEY. Mount Rainier, Hyattsville and Riverdale Park, which are the areas surrounding the studios and our house, are awash with artists. We've visited painters, sculptors, woodworkers, glass artists, metalworkers, ceramicists, installation artists, and many many other creatives - in fact so many that our heads are spinning. Each and every one brings a new influence to the mediums that we are using, opening up new avenues for us to explore.
Amazing projects such as Community Forklift, where renovators and contractors drop off unused building supplies and reclamation salvage to be sold on to artists and members of the public, are providing a bounty of items for our work. A fairy godmother dumpster outside a stage and prop warehouse provided the wood for Andy to make us a work table and also some amazing flexi mirror off cuts. Resting in the corner of our studio space after a hard day collecting antique plaster work and humping wood, lazily watching the evening sun filter through our open loading bay doors, we marvelled at the creative light effects as they bounced off the flexi glass, we were enchanted by the dust dancing in the air on a nearby chair..... until we realised that it wasn't dust.... the sun was bouncing off the mirror, hitting the chrome arm of a swivel chair, intensifying its beam and setting light to the upholstery of said chair. Only a few days into our residency, we were just a few seconds away from burning the studios down!
SO HOT IT BURNS! So you might think that in all this heat, we are taking it easy, hanging out in a/c cooled buildings with our hands in cool clay, but that would be too easy! You're forgetting that kilns are involved. And visits to glass studios where the a/c is turned off, the 7 glass furnaces are open and people are running as fast as they can to get shows up and ready.
But most of all, we haven't told you about our welding course arranged through the Washington Sculptors Group. Yep, in this heat, we've been learning to plasma cut, use oxycetelene torches and stick weld at a delicate 2800 degrees in order to make armatures and larger sculptures. Oh, and then there's getting sunburn from the high UV levels given off by MIG and arc welding whilst sparks of molten steel blister the backs of our necks as they spatter in the darkened world beyond our visors.
All in the name of art.....