A Day Spent With Laura Vickerson

The Esker Foundation opened its doors for a sculpture workshop on Saturday. Working with concepts and cardboard, the day was a celebration of invention.  Laura Vickerson met with us, first, in the darkened theater where our eyes feasted on a collection of images; sculptures created by former students.  I have never thought in three dimensions and signed up for this workshop as a way of moving out of my comfort zone and into space and form.

(I also forgot my camera.)

I wish that I had photographs of the cyclone of cardboard pieces!  The Esker had all materials and tools nicely laid out upon our arrival…caddies filled with straight edges and X-Acto knives, saws and such….stacks of cardboard boxes of every sort…a glue gun section with generous loads of glue sticks.  It was a dream come true for a creative!  WHOOT!

As preparation, on Friday evening, I perused Laura Vickerson’s website and thought a little about paper.  I’ve been working extensively on genealogy and knew that I would be dealing with memory, nostalgia and family some how…blood lines, as inspired by several authors I’ve been reading, memoir.  I just didn’t know what would be happening.

I also read snippetts on line from a context that Laura would be using as motivation for the work, Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino.

“Arriving at each new city, the traveler finds again a past of his that he did not know he had: the foreignness of what you no longer are or no longer possess lies in wait for you in foreign, unpossessed places.”
Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

“You reach a moment in life when, among the people you have known, the dead outnumber the living. And the mind refuses to accept more faces, more expressions: on every new face you encounter, it prints the old forms, for each one it finds the most suitable mask.”
Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

“The city, however, does not tell its past, but contains it like the lines of a hand, written in the corners of the streets, the gratings of the windows, the banisters of the steps, the antennae of the lightning rods, the poles of the flags, every segment marked in turn with scratches, indentations, scrolls.”
Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

As I went about the house harvesting my own collection of boxes, I knew that the labels were very distracting to me and wanted, already, to minimize the messages that were so dominant AND irritating.  I knew in the morning that I would bring along my bucket of gesso...and even applied a first layer to some boxes before eating my breakfast and while drinking my first coffee.

In the dark theater, I liked the topographical handling of foam core in a few of the student works we saw.  Given more time, I really wanted to build a model of land forms in just that way, but knew that it would be a monumental task for a single day.

The sort of impact I would like to create...given more time.

The sort of impact I would like to create…given more time.

Laura was very supportive.  In her first go-round she seemed to be most interested in observing whether or not we would be using the tools safely.  I know that I would be nervous in a room surrounded by artists carrying knives.  Gradually we all hit our groove…once the anxiety around ‘an idea’ filtered out and we tore into the experience.

Thanks to Doug Haslam and Esker Foundation for taking photographs of my sculpture.

Sculpture Kath 3

Photo Credit: Doug Haslam and Esker Foundation

Sculpture Kath 4

Photo Credit: Doug Haslam and Esker Foundation

Sculpture - Kath

Photo Credit: Doug Haslam and Esker Foundation

Sculpture Kath 2

Photo Credit: Doug Haslam and Esker Foundation.

I could not help but look around me and marvel at the huge variety of approaches that were taken.  I was so impressed with some folk and their ability to manipulate the materials to create crisp, balanced forms.  While my piece feels unfinished, I am delighted with the direction it was taking and with the sorts of things that I learned about myself through the process.

Thanks to Laura Vickerson for her inspiring session and for listening to me as I muddled my way along.  So generous!

One thought on “A Day Spent With Laura Vickerson

  1. hope you will come see our Bentham show at C2very elegant! cheers Jeffrey

    Jeffrey Spalding C.M., R.C.A.

    Artistic Director and Chief Curator Contemporary Calgary C- Stephen Avenue Mall117- 8 Avenue SWCalgary, Alberta, Canada T2P 1B4 C2 at City Hall Suite 104, 800 Macleod Trail SE

    Calgary, Alberta, Canada, T2G 2M3

    Tel. (403) 262-1737; Fax. (403) 262-1764

    Date: Fri, 21 Mar 2014 02:20:27 +0000 To: jeffrey.spalding@hotmail.com

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