The Mystery of Motion

Bashert

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Bashert
1′ 1″ h, 1′ 1″ w, 1′ 1″ d

Bashert unfolds as “built-up” sculpture with no such intent…Bashert shifts from reduction art to built-up technique.

Through the last 50 years, all of my sculptural works have been wholly or mostly created via reduction art technique. By definition, that means starting with a large, solid chunk of material and basically removing “what should not be there.” In my art, the solid has been either wood (the final material) or wax (as the design “canvass” for my glass sculptures). Bashert changed all that.

Before going further, I need to explain the genesis of the name Bashert. It may help dramatize the chain of “goings on” that brought this piece into being.

Bashert, the word.

Bashert is Yiddish. Colloquial Jewish vernacular. It’s not easy to explain, especially for a Gentile, like me. But I believe that it usually involves consequences, and thus implies a series of events. Some events involve improbable circumstances. Others might involve the invisible, creative Hand. The consequence is usually a highly unlikely, unplanned outcome. In romantic relationships, bashaert explains “meant to be.”

Creating this piece

Wax sculpture, glass from foundry, finished work

The wax built-up and “fused together.” Scary, huh?

Bashart, my sculpture.

For Bashart, my sculpture, please refer to all of the previous explanation, because my Bashert unexpectedly unfolded as a “built-up” sculpture – the complete opposite of reduction art.

Instead of a wax cylinder sized to fit an intended design concept, I started with a very small scrap of wax, 2 ½” diameter, 6” tall that had served as canvas to an unexciting, discarded design months earlier.

Got a bit twisted here!

I took no photos. I just turned on the electric skillet and added salvaged wax. Once warmed up, it flatten out. After it cooled, I cut strips ¼” x ¾” and fused them together, building up as the work progressed and sculpting as I went. (Does “wax on, wax off” sound familiar to you? From the movie The Karate Kid?)

Anyway, I had induced a real brain scream, working opposite to what I have always done. It was freeing on one hand. And highly distracting. Now that I could go in any direction (structural engineering permitting), I mentally took the design in all kinds of directions. Take a look. The progression was not linear — to say the least!

And then…in the kiln…

Then the ultimate unplanned event took place somewhere between casting and annealing — unbeknownst to the foundry or me until the piece was divested from the plaster.

A hood ornament for an old Pontiac?

I had intended the “wings” be joined and slightly overlapped. During the kiln process, however, a crack developed through that joint. I had to cut out the crack (talk about nerve racking!!!) and reshape the wings. They now expand, independent and free (sort of like wings are “meant to be”?)

Art, like life, goes its own course despite our intentions or will. Bashert.

The intriguing result of this entire exercise? I’ve given myself an avenue – and, more dangerously. given myself permission – to pursue more of the sweet curves that dominate my brain. I moved dramatically away from the confines of the original solid chunk reduction process to create a more fluid, loose and dynamic sculpture.

I see more of this in my future. What do you think?

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Contacting Harry

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