by Amy Di Piazza for Re-Invent a Work of Art (2013)

Inspiration Piece: A Macintosh Apple

Inspiration Artist: Nature

Apple: Newsprint stips, wire for armature, glue, acrylics to paint
Apple Slices: foam floral block, exacto knife, acrylics to paint
Hardwood block for a base
Apple Tree: wire for armature, Chavant clay, exacto knife and a lot of patience,acrylics to paint.
Grass: Chavant clay, exacto knife, acrylics to paint
Basket: wire for armature, Chavant clay, acrylics to paint

Being an illustrator, I spend a lot of time with paints, colored pencils and oil pastels. When I opened the MysteryBuild box, I was kind of flabbergasted... I think the last time I used clay or played with papier mache was when I was six and made Christmas ornaments for my mom. Every idea that I had envisioned creating for this contest was scrapped and the box was shelved on my piano to collect dust for a few months while I thought about what I really wanted to convey. I've never been good at creating some thing based on someone else's art and by the looks of the items in the box (and my lack of experience with them) I needed to keep it pretty simple. I had decided I was going to do something in Nature, mostly because Nature, like art is always changing and growing. I chose an apple because apples have been entwined in mankind's existence for thousands of years.
I made an armature out of the wire, but it was totally lopsided because I couldn't keep it round without stuffing something in the center. When I put the first gazillion layers of glue and newsprint on it, it was shaped more like a pear than an apple and it became lovingly referred to as the "Papple" by my family. After another gazillion layers of papier mache, I had a sort of roundish thing with a slice taken out of it. It would have to work simply because I ran out of glue. I painted it with acrylics and much to my relief it kind of really looks like a Macintosh apple. To make the apple slices, I cut the floral foam block and painted them with acrylics to resemble slices. Luckily for me, art is pretty subjective, and since it looks kinda like an apple, well obviously those funny foam things are the missing slices! After awhile of staring at my apple sitting by itself, I was thinking it was looking lonely, so I decided to make a tree. The whole tree adventure really was a lesson in patience.
I made another armature, and covered it with clay. Being meticulous by nature, I thought nothing of cutting out individual little leaves and carving them with veins and then attaching them to my branches one by one. Pretty good, I thought, until it caved under its own weight. And then the second tree toppled over and crushed half of the leaves. At this point I was pretty irritated, so I tore the whole tree apart, added more wire to stabilize it and then recoated it with the clay. I added the leaves, and then a bunch of little branches and all of my little apples. Looked great! Until the little branches fell off one by one, kinda like leaves in autumn. Not one to give up, I got smart and put little pieces of wire into the tiny branches, re attached the annoying leaves and then the not necessarily still round apples. Awesome! Then I had to paint it all which proved to me that sculpture is probably more difficult of a pastime than I would choose to follow. The end result made me pretty happy, but it still looked lonely once I stuck the tree to the hardwood base, so I got the brilliant idea of making grass (yes, out of clay, what was a little more punishment at this point?) by flattening the some pieces of clay, cutting it into strips with my trusty exacto knife and then bending, twisting and painting them so they gave the general idea of grass. Ever a glutton for torture, I made a little lopsided wire armature, covered it with clay and made a pretty convincing basket that I stuffed with the last of my not so round apples, and Voila! One of Natures finest works of art, the Macintosh apple!

I now know more about apples than any one person should, like there are over 7500 kinds (who knew? My grocery only carries 5!) and that if I plant an apple seed, the resulting tree will not bear the same type of apple that it came from. How weird is that? Oh, and the "Forbidden fruit" in the bible isn't really an apple: the term apple was used for many types of fruits back then... but the apple is one of the most recognized and eaten fruits in the world, one of the healthiest and pretty darn yummy.