by Michael D'Anton for Re-Invent a Work of Art (2013)
Inspiration Piece: The Book
Inspiration Artist: H.P. Lovecraft
My piece is an interpretation of a short H.P. Lovecraft story entitled 'The Book'. I also found the landscape paintings of Max Ernst inspirational to the aesthetic of the architectural components of this sculpture. I started with the 8" x 10" wood board as the base, round-cornering the material and finishing with a gunstock stain. The construction of the actual book began with scoring the canvas board for the cover. I then cut two separate panels of corrugated cardboard to size from the actual Mystery Build box, scoring them as well. Next, I cut the kit's directions sheet to size and scored that. The board, corrugated and directions were stacked one on top of the other so that an estimated opening could be cut through all of them to allow the architectural elements to pass through. I then painted, bent and burned (with a lighter) the book's cover and pages. Next, I fabricated the book's center pages from the canvas cloth. The cloth was initially stained with coffee and paint. I used acrylic paint to letter the Latin phrases. Again, I took a lighter and burned some of the canvas. A hole was torn through the center of the cloth to create an opening for the architectural portion of the sculpture. I used a sanding block on the corners and tears of the canvas for a frayed, worn effect. Finally, I used the Elmer's Glue-All and a few spots of the glue stick (from a glue gun) to attach the cover and all pages together. The candle began with the floral foam block being carved into a cylinder with a hobby knife and smoothed with sandpaper. The candle's base and 'drips' were shaped using the Sculpey clay. I set the foam into the base and used the Chavant clay as a gap filler and a material to hold the elements in place. The candle's wick was made from a piece of the rope; I used a lighter to burn and tint the material. For the candle's flame, the Friendly Plastic pellets were melted in a pot of boiling water and twisted by hand to create a spiraling shape. Chavant was used as a gap filler and fastening material to join the wick with the flame and a spot of Elmer's was used to keep the rope from unravelling. All of the Chavant was smoothed out by gently brushing the surface with Turpenoid. The candle and flame were then painted with acrylics. I decided to use the three hardwood blocks for the basic forms of the bio-organic architecture bursting through the book. I drilled pilot holes into the blocks so they could be attached with the wooden dowels. Elmer's Glue-All was used to attach the base block to the wooden base of the sculpture. Wooden dowels were cut to size and the Elmer's was used to affix them into the top blocks. All three blocks have a facade hand-sculpted from Chavant. I unravelled the rope and pressed it into various portions of the clay to create 'veins' in the forms. The Chavant was then smoothed using a paintbrush and Turpenoid. I used a combination of an acrylic paint base coat and successive toned washes, blown and spattered with an air duster can, to create the transparent, mottled texture. Elmer's was used to then attach the top blocks into the base block. Chavant was used again as a gap filler, smoothed with Turpenoid and then painted. The 'tentacles' began using the steel wire as armature for the forms. I used the Chavant to model the three 'tentacles', smoothed with Turpenoid and then painted. Three Pilot holes were drilled into the architecture's base block and the 'tentacle's' steel wire ends fit snuggly into them without the need for any adhesive. I sculpted the bookworm maggots from Sculpey and stained them with an acrylic wash for texture. Next, I sank the book down over the architectural forms, using the square cut through the pages as an opening for the 'building'. No adhesive was required; the 'tentacles' act as a base to hold the book in place. Finally, I used a hot glue gun to spot-glue the maggots and candle to the piece and a few scraps of canvas cloth to the 'building'.