Levels of Escher

   by Jessica Goldstein for Re-Invent a Work of Art (2013)

Inspiration Piece: Hand with Reflecting Sphere

Inspiration Artist: M.C. Escher

Well at first glance of the materials and with the theme this year, my mind immediately went into overdrive, but I focused on the clay and knew that I had to sculpt a hand. Hand with Reflecting sphere is what inspired me when I was a little kid to pick up a pencil and start drawing hands. There is something so unique about a hand in a simple relaxed position. Each has a personality just under the stillness.
So with this in mind I pulled out the flower foam stuff and stuck the four dowel rods into the shaped base at the angles of the skeleton inside Escher's hand in the picture. Then taking a length of the wire I wrapped that around and around to hollow out a basic frame for the clay to stick to.Taking the wax clay and a hair dryer I, not easily I might add, began to mold the clay into a rough hand shape. After the hand was completed I blew up a balloon, and with the Elmer's Glue I made a kind of water mix to paper mache the newspaper strips into a half globe. Then, hand completed, I moved on to....well what? I had epic battles in my head about where to go next and don't try that, you'll waste the materials! But after about a week I said enough and just dove back in.
Taking inspiration from some of Escher's other works, I completed the ribbon head, as I like to call her, using the Elmer's Glue and newspaper strips to create a 3-D sculpture. I would figure out where to use her later in the final piece. I also used the baking clay to make a mini sculpture of Escher as he appears in the sphere. I chose black paint to keep that classic idea of his pencil sketches. After this I moved onto the intriguing re-moldable plastic. I had saved the chunks of flower foam that I removed shaping the wrist base, gluing those down onto the large piece of wood I formed the basic shape of a lizard. Then after heating and playing with the plastic for a while ( I even tried to blow a bubble with it, that failed.) I thought I know I'll make an exoskeleton for my foam lizard. Using the hairdryer again I melted a shell of plastic in sections over my lizard.
After painting the inside of the globe with reflective gold paint, the background of my two boards, and my individual pieces, I went to arranging the piece on a black background. I realized it was placed best with depth in between the boards and hand in front. The levels were just there, and I said they need to be connected! Taking some of the remaining wire I wanted to utilize some of Escher's most recognized pieces involving impossible stair cases that connected the three dimensions together.
I had so much fun creating my piece, I cannot wait until next year! Thank you!

I have always loved art and creative projects. It is what I excelled at in school, anytime papers were due, meh yeah ok, give me a creative project that I have to build and I will give you a working Christopher Columbus Round the World Game (3rd grade) a working wig and barber shop from the Revolutionary War era at our 4th grade fair, or a life size bust and pair of hands of the Melting Wicked Witch of the West complete with hat (high school pottery class). If it involves using my hands and sculpting or building things I dive in with all my might and love every minuet of it.