Wednesday, October 31, 2012
This morning as I was looking at images of the storm on the east coast, I thought of the Statue of Liberty, my favorite American sculpture. Two weeks ago my friend Mary Ann and I were in NYC and went out to see her. In 1987 I climbed all the way up into her crown for the fee of $1.00. Because I am a metalsmith I am always blown away by how she was constructed. The sculpture, designed by French artist Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi, was hammered out of solid copper sheets by French craftsmen. The giant sheets are riveted together and hung from steel springs that are attached to the iron infrastructure designed by Eiffel, one of the best structural engineers who ever lived. In the two closeup images below you can see the individual giant copper plates on her arm and the bottom of her foot and even some of the copper rivets.
The photograph below was taken at the French workshop of Gaget, Gauthier et Cie, the craftsmen who actually made the colossal statue. Note the size of the torch compared to the men in the shop.
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
A Fancy Word For Stealing
Recently I saw the movie, The Words. The movie addresses plagiarism, which is the word for appropriating or copying the work of another. Plagiarism doesn't just happen in the arts, but it is considered a very serious offense for an artist or writer. The practice of plagiarism is unfortunately common because it is a very difficult offense to prove. I know several artists who have been knocked off by another artist but the only artist I know of who had the resources to legally pursue an offender (a former employee) is Dale Chihuly. He took the offender to court and won.
A few years back one of my collectors called me and drew my attention to an image in a book of a piece of jewelry obviously influenced by my work. In the late 1990s, I did a series of necklaces using small copper arms. The arms were made by pulling a mold off of a plastic doll, casting the mold in wax and electro forming over the wax. One of my necklaces that used the little arms, below left, was published on the cover of American Craft Magazine, a periodical with a large, national readership. For two months, the cropped image of my necklace was seen on thousands of magazine racks around the country. The image on the right below shows the entire necklace entitled, Casting Pearls Before Swine.