During my residency I worked on a collaboration project with Mark Toncray, a metal sculpture artist. He suggested working together on a project, so I started brainstorming right away on ideas.
My initial thought was to have only the ribbons of the present constructed in steel. I made this example above using a sculpting product called Paper Clay to see what it might look like. I made a framework out of wire first, then wrapped with the paper clay. I wanted the metal inside not only for support, but so I could suspend the piece off the wall (with nails and magnets) for interesting shadows.
I liked the way the clay piece looked but I felt there was something else I wanted to say with the steel. Journaling and doing tiny thumbnail sketches helps me sort through ideas, it's like thinking out loud. I realized I should incorporate the meaning of the material in some way - steel as a barrier, strong, safeguarding - so the idea for the steel box with chains as ribbon and several padlocks piled on top for a 'bow' hit me! This pic above shows the original idea of how I thought it might look.
Then Mark went to work, and appeared with the real thing! This is a picture taken during the reception. I hung the box on the wall along with the drawing and painting of piece.
The drawing is graphite on Yupo. I loved drawing and painting my chain ribbons! Working on transparent papers during the residency was a way to experiment with ideas about losing the box. And suddenly it felt like the box was saying, "oh no you don't, I'm here to stay!"
And finally the painting, "Secure" which is oil on Yupo.
I love Mark's box, it's a more subtle idea of a present, not as obvious as the multiple locks. But being the obsessive person that I am, and being really excited about potentially a strong visual statement, I made a trip to Home Depot last night for more chains, metal flashing, and 8 padlocks. :) Who knows if it will work out, I'll let you know.