Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Relative Size and Technical Notes on Coffee Filters

Ben asked me for a photo that showed the scale of this piece.

He also asked about treatment/ preservation. At the moment I'm spraying the inside of the filters (#2, cone, white) with hairspray, since the coffee grounds are very fine, and tend to fall off easily. Which is mostly desired - a full coffee filter wouldn't be translucent - but not entirely - the patterns left in the grounds are what originally attracted me to this as a sculptural material. You can see from this photo that in some places the grounds have fallen off more than in others. This is partly because the middle - which is most bare - was the starting point, and has therefore been handled and moved around the most. But different quality grounds adhere differently - the super-fine espresso grind Cafe Bustello, which I drink at home, seems to stick much better than the great Giant brand that we drink at work.

The piece does smell like coffee, just a bit. I'd forgotten until Ben asked, because I'm so used to it. He also asked if the piece feels like autumn, the way my orange peel pieces do. I'm not sure about that - to me this currently resembles an empty seed pod, which is an end of autumn/beginning of winter kind of thing. But this doesn't have the movement of the orange peel pieces, which is part of what gives them their fall/autumn feeling. The filters are sewn together at the upper edges, so they don't move independentsly. This is - so far - a thing, as opposed to a gathering. And as such it's relatively dead. Is that good or bad?

For comparison, here is an orange peel piece, as seen from below:

Lynda asked me about lighting the piece, and resting it on plexi glass. Ironically, I've been trying to avoid doing so, because so much of my work has used light boxes. But when I showed it at the library this spring it was on a lit-from-below case, which helped to bring the shape and the texture to life. So maybe I should think on that further? The fact that I've done it before doesn't necessarily make it a bad idea...
<-- This is a photo of a wrong-direction attempt to deal with lighting the filters (currently Leon's night light). In this case, the peels are coated in a mixture of Golden Acrylic heavy gloss and Gack 400, because I was trying to make them stiffer, as well as to fix the grounds. Unfortunately, painting the filters destroyed the coffee ground patterns. And since that's one of the things I'm most interested in here, I stopped doing that. However, I am thinking of revisiting the sphere, probably with #4 filters (larger).

The thinking I've done in posting this today has been really good. Thanks for the feedback.

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