This past week, I opened a show in Oakland, CA for First Fridays. It was so much fun and my first exhibit on the West Coast! I had a bit of help with some of the bigger installation, and for the first time went on scaffolding. Since I’m a short little lady, I was terrified of being so high off the ground. But I did it and everything turned out so perfect. Really, I don’t think I’ve ever had an easier install and it’s all thanks to the awesome, generous people from the gallery. There’s an espresso bar connected, so I suggest to anyone from the area to stop by! The show is at Hat Rac Gallery up from June 6- July 25.
Boys setting up the scaffolding.
Gold and black cutouts going up on the wall. Yes, they’re all handcut!
These photos are from the week before my show in Oakalnd at Hat Rac Gallery. There are always last minute things to get ready, and I was still making work up until the end. Some pieces shown didn’t make it into the show, but instead just stayed home being beautiful.
Today I experienced what some people call the Bone Yard. If you know me or my work, you know that I’m obsessed with bones and all sorts of dark things. My goal while in Wyoming was to find some more bones for sculptures. Needless to say, I found bones. This place was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It’s a dumping ground for taxidermists and hunters, so there was a whole lot to choose from. A lot of pieces weren’t too clean, but I tried to grab some skeletons that were cleaner. I wasn’t even mentally prepared for what followed. First of all, I’m used to cleaning off bones in smaller quantities. These were from cattle, and were as big as me. They weren’t the cleanest, but I thought I could take the bones apart with a saw and then rebuild later. WRONG. The cartilage was so tough that I had to kick, stand on, and pull apart some of the bones. I even ran into a few in tact spinal cords which was far too much for me to handle in one day. I’m never grossed out by these types of things, but the spinal cord gave me an icky feeling. So I kept cleaning what I could, and ended up getting a whole lot of material out of these guys. Unfortunately, I had to throw out a lot of them, too. There was one spine I couldn’t bring myself to throw out, and so to save it from the ranch dogs and other critters, I hung it from a tree. Doesn’t it look like some sort of offering? Things got weird today, as you can see.
How I cleaned my bones: Try to get the cleanest bones possible. No blood, no flesh on it. And as little cartilage as possible. I made a hydrogen peroxide and water mix. Soak for 24 hours (I’m a clean freak) and then a second soak after that in a new mix. No bleach, that messes everything up. No boiling either!
I want to make a note here: I don’t hunt animals. I’m not killing anything to make my sculptures. The bones I use are all FOUND in the environment. I don’t spend money on buying the bones. This is solely a found object deal.