September 16, 2007

The Tale of the Harvard Turtle

I have presented in some of my blogs a number of curiosities from my sketchbooks. Like the sketch of the strange creature from the Han bronze, my sketches are often used as resource material. They can be sketches of other artworks, items from every day life, or something as unassuming as a turtle skeleton. At the Harvard museum of natural history, there is a fine collection of minerals, bones, and fossils. In addition to a few sketches of fossil fish, I made a simple line drawing of a fossilized turtle skeleton. As usual with my sketchbook items, the sketch lay untouched as the image simmered in my brain for about a year. It then emerged fleshed out with green paint as a detail in the aptly named paper mosaic, "The Dream of the Green Turtle." This was exhibited as part of my one-woman show, "Reflections on an Imagined Archeology," which opened in spring, 2005 at the Rabold Gallery, and once again in the exhibition, "Stones, Bones, and Fibers:Excavating Civilizations of the Mind," at Pinckney Simons gallery in January of this year. I used the image once again this past spring in Kim Wozniak's seminar on making mosaic installations in Mesa Arizona. I simplified and squared the design to make it suitable for vitreous glass tesserae. The finished mosaic just barely is discernable as a turtle skeleton. I gave it a final resting place embedded in a garden bench. After these two interpretations, painting and mosaic, I 've returned to the sketch and touched it up as - coming back full circle to the original inspiration. A lot of mileage for a turtle. I've picutured his various permutations here...

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