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Time after Time

   by Molly Van Nice for Re-Invent a Work of Art (2013)

Inspiration Piece: One Hundred Years of Solitude

Inspiration Artist: Gabriel García Márquez

This is a pretty simple construction, I think. If it were a house, it would be post and lintel.

I started with the face of the clock. I cut a circle out of the canvas panel, cut some scratches and holes in it, and sanded and gessoed until I got a surface I thought would take a pen nib. I used a Rotring pen and ink for the "writing", India ink for the numerals and concentric circles. I flipped some water on it so the ink would run; brushed chalk dust onto it several times to scuff and dirty it up; sprayed with workable fixative.

The chain was made by wrapping single pieces of the shredded news print painted with medium viscosity acrylic color (light Hansa yellow because that's what I happened to have) around a dowel. Two or three shreds to a link. When they were dry, I sliced them off the dowel, linked them, then ran another single shred around each link to close them. I began mixing matte medium into the color; it speeded up drying time and was slightly less messy than the paint. Eventually I stopped bothering with the paint at all. I gessoed the links, then painted them with Liquitex alizarine crimson acrylic, then Winsor Newton gold acrylic. The ring connecting the chain to the clock is cut from the plywood panel, shaped, sanded, gessoed, and painted. It connects* to a dowel that goes into a hole in the side of the clock.

I cut the back and the front frame of the clock from the top and bottom of the mystery box. Two sides of both the top and bottom of the box had vertical corrugations; I saved these for the sides of the clock thinking they would take the curve more smoothly. The box parts with horizontal corrugations I used for support and bracing between the face and the back. I used the glue gun for initial tacking of the face to the supports, but was afraid I'd use too much of it, (I thought, rightly as it happened, I might need some at the end of the project) so switched to pouring great globs of Elmer's into the structure, taped it together with masking tape, and let it dry for several days. I then used single shreds of the newsprint with matte medium, one at a time, to bind the whole thing together. Then sanded, gessoed, painted with alizarin crimson acrylic, and painted with gold acrylic. The bezel (is that a word? the word?) the thin rim around the frame of the clock was made from separating one layer of the cardboard from its corrugations, cutting a thin strip, painting it, and gluing it in place with Elmer's.

The clock hands, foliage, and some of the clock wheels are made of the Sculpey. I also used some of the veneer to cut clock wheels; these didn't work very well--the teeth split off. Foliage and wheels were painted with acrylic; hands were dusted with black chalk and fixed. Some of the leaves are attached to wire and some to strands of unwound, painted rope.

I made a "puddle" (a thing that looked a bit like a cow pie) of the Chavant and fitted it to the bottom of the clock; then set the whole thing in an electric frying pan for about 20 minutes at somewhere below 200 to see if and how it would melt. I embedded the wheels and a piece of the rim--the bezel--into the melted clay, then, when it cooled, painted the clay to look like melted face and clock.

I used: A couple of pieces of the veneer, canvas board, Chavant, Elmer's, glue stick, plywood, rope, newsprint, wire, Sculpey, and a couple of dowel parts.
I did not use: Blocks of wood, canvas cloth, plastic pellets (I didn't think there was enough of them to do anything with), and my dog ate the floral foam block.
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*I don't know how detailed this account is supposed to be, nor do I have the vocabulary to even talk about mechanical joints. That being said, this is how that T joint was made. The plywood ring is not closed; there's a 3/16" gap at the bottom. I separated the top sheet of a piece of the corrugated cardboard box from the rest of the section, and wound it around the two ends of the plywood ring making a kind of tube, joining the two ends but not actually affixed to the ring. Then I put a few more wraps around the middle of the tube, cut a quarter inch hole in one side of it (for the dowel), and glued the top of the dowel to the inside of the tube. The ring, then, turns in a forward/backward motion, and the whole thing turns on the dowel axis. So what? you might ask.

At the calamitous end of One Hundred Years of Solitude, Aureliano finally deciphers the prophecies written a century before by the gypsy Melquiades. It is a true revelation: He understands that he is reading the precise stories of both Macondo and the now spent Buendia bloodline as they occurred. He reads about the rapacious winds now swirling about him destroying what little is left. He reads about himself reading about himself reading about himself reading. The present has become the past's foretelling of it. It is not only the clock that lies in ruins, it is time itself.

 


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