Building FALLING HIVE
Hi! I'm Monica Vidal and I'm an artist in Houston, Texas. I need your support to build FALLING HIVE, the third in my series of room-sized, portable sculptures of fabric and wood. On Saturday, May 18, 2013 FALLING HIVE will open at Women and Their Work in Austin, Texas. I am in the homestretch of completing this epic sculpture and I have reached a crucial point.
When complete, FALLING HIVE will be approximately 8 feet tall, 15 feet long and 11 feet wide. It will have a wood base, metal armature and a fabric form of over 165 square feet.
Creating FALLING HIVE
All of my sculptures begin with a sketch. I spend an extensive length of time (for FALLING HIVE it was six months) drawing, painting and planning. I experiment with form, color and texture till I have hit upon the perfect balance.
The last phase of each sculpture's design is the creation of scale models. The first model for FALLING HIVE was created in white muslin to focus on form. The second version of the model was created with assortment of fabrics, to study how variations in color and texture changed the character of the piece.
Ultimately, I chose to focus on a “strip” pattern and to eliminate the sides, making the piece more accessible and lightening the overall feel. To create the fabric form of the sculpture the model pieces were scanned and enlarged 450%. Then came months of ironing, cutting and sewing (check out the video to see some of the process images).
Just recently the last of the 47 fabric panels was completed and sewn into place. Please imagine cascading stripes of cerulean, ultramarine, turquoise and phthalo blue in an array of intensities and textures.
THE HIVE SCULPTURES
I have built two of these room-sized sculptures since 2009, TUMOR HIVE and TEMPLE HIVE. I have had the happy experience to install them in multiple venues in Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma.
TUMOR HIVE began as an idea to bring a drawing to life. The HIVE series became a way of bringing people together to experience sculpture in a fun and interactive way. I brought together many of the things that provide me with inspiration and joy, like stupas, gold brocade, valentines, calico and honeycombs, and fused them into single forms.
A COLLABORATIVE BRAINSTORM
The first sculpture, TUMOR HIVE, was designed as a closed form but as I worked on it and as it was shown in different spaces a lot of visitors wanted to see it from the inside. So when I created the next piece, TEMPLE HIVE, I made it as much about the interior as the exterior.
When TUMOR HIVE was first exhibited I didn't initiate any photos with viewers, but at a show in Lubbock, TX people started taking fun and silly pictures with the work and it became part of the openings and of documenting the work. Check out the video for some great images of people with TEMPLE HIVE!
Why FALLING HIVE
FALLING HIVE was conceived as the third member of a sculptural trilogy of primary colors. Tumor Hive is red, Temple Hive is yellow and the first decision I made about Falling Hive was that it would be blue. I researched and contemplated the symbolism, history and cultural connotations of blue but my thoughts landed in a dream I’d had as a child of a world saturated in blue. I walk through an arctic wasteland and come to the edge of any icy pit where shades of blue descend in jagged, parallel lines. I try to climb down and end up falling through an azure prism.
The vividness of this memory, in its beauty and darkness, was the inspiration for the pattern and palette of FALLING HIVE. In contrast to the somber story of its palette, the form of FALLING HIVE is an expression of energy and joy. The spiky shape of it fabric membrane and the vertical thrust of its armature reference traveling circus tents. Circus tents are, to me, the ultimate in portable happiness but with an uncanny edge.
The Hive sculpture series began as way to express the energy of my thoughts and the stories behind them in a way that was both personal and portable. Tumor Hive symbolized an experience, Tumor Hive invited viewers into my thoughts and now, with FALLING HIVE, I am asking people to suspend themselves in a layered dream.
TUMOR HIVE and TEMPLE HIVE each took two years to build, from the first sketch to final test installation. FALLING HIVE has been on the fast track, taking less than a year. This "fast track" is part of the reason I am asking for your support. In the past I gathered funding gradually but this is one of those wonderful "problems" that require creative solutions, like Kickstarter.
All rewards are inspired by FALLING HIVE or the other sculptures in the HIVE series.
Pledges of $5 or more. The FALLING HIVE blue-on-blue emblem sticker, inspired by the base of the sculpture. Each die-cut sticker is 5” long on white vinyl. Also comes with a thank you note.
Pledges of $10 or more. The HIVE TRIO, a set of postcards featuring an installation image from each HIVE. TUMOR HIVE in Houston, the interior of TEMPLE HIVE, and the forthcoming FALLING HIVE. Each postcard is 4 x 6 inches. Also includes an emblem sticker and a thank you note.
Pledges of $25 or more. The FALLING HIVE STUDY silkscreen print. This is a 2-color silkscreen print on paper, measures 8 x 10 inches and is a hand-pulled print. This view is of the original drawing used in the creation of the print, but the print image will be released soon. Comes with the postcard trio, an emblem sticker and a thank you note.
Pledges of $30 or more. The FALLING HIVE tote bag featuring the blue emblem on a 100% cotton tote, measuring 15 x 22 inches. This emblem tote comes with the postcard trio, an emblem sticker and a thank you note.
Pledges of $35 or more. The FALLING HIVE SQUARE. Each fabric square measures 12 x 12 inches, was created from the same fabric and in the "strip quilt" piecing style of the sculpture's surface. Due to the process I employ, each square is guaranteed to be unique. Done by yours truly, a FALLING HIVE SQUARE will look great framed as art or put into a project of your own. Comes with the postcard trio, an emblem sticker and a thank you note.
Pledge of $50 or more. The FALLING HIVE print & tote set. This pledge level includes the 8 x 10 FALLING HIVE STUDY silkscreen print and a 15 x 22 inch emblem tote bag. I will also add two emblem stickers, a postcard set and a thank you note.
Pledges of $50 or more. The FALLING HIVE EMBLEM t-shirt. The dark blue emblem will be printed 10" wide across the front of a light blue, %100 cotton t-shirt. The FALLING HIVE EMBLEM t-shirt will be available in S, M, L, XL, the size of the emblem will be the same on every shirt. Comes with the postcard trio, an emblem sticker and a thank you note. Thanks to my friends for showing off the shirt!
Pledges of $150 or more. FALLING HIVE DREAMS, a four-color, limited edition lithograph print, envisioning the sculpture 30 feet high and basking in the sun at the park. What else would a sculpture dream of? The print will be 11 x 14 inches and this reward level also includes the postcard set, an emblem sticker and a thank you note. Lithographs take time, especially color prints, because each color has to dry between runs. This is the color study for the print, which gives you an idea of the final work.
Pledges of $250 or more. This reward level is the full FALLING HIVE swag bundle! One four-color lithograph FALLING HIVE DREAMS, an emblem t-shirt, one unique fabric square, one silkscreen-print, two postcard trios, five emblem stickers and, to top it all off, a thank you note, of course!
Pledge $500 or more. I will give you and 3 friends the VIP TREATMENT at my studio in Houston. A private viewing of the FALLING HIVE sculpture, lots of hospitality and some serious swag: one full-color lithograph FALLING HIVE DREAMS, one silkscreen print FALLING HIVE STUDY, one emblem t-shirt, one fabric square, four postcard sets, five stickers and copious amounts of in person thanks and I promise to be a wonderful hostess. The fine print: the VIP TREATMENT visit must take place after July 2013 on an evening or weekend.
Building a sculpture on this scale has been an expensive endeavor and I have put a considerable amount of time and money into building FALLING HIVE. I don't have a commercial gallery and the sculptures have always been shown at non-profit art spaces. Also, I have two more hurdles before the project is done, the creation of the armature and a test installation.
Due to the precise nature of the form I have had to outsource the production of the base and support poles. I gave the plans to a very knowledgeable and capable individual and it will come back as a fully realized FALLING HIVE armature [update-- picture shown above]. I'll then have to pay for more capable people to assist me in fitting the fabric to the form in my studio, which can be an intensive process.
The overall costs of FALLING HIVE
- Fabric $500
- Enlargement of model pattern pieces at graphic company $500
- Sewing miscellaneous, like thread, rotary blades, etc. $150
- Armature materials $700
- Test installation $300
- Armature production $800
- Kickstarter rewards cost $1500
An additional note about funding. I am raising funds only for materials and any outsourced labor. I'm not asking for money for my labor or for costs associated with the exhibition. I love to make and show these works. I just need some support to do what I do!
Any money which exceeds the goal will go towards the production of the next piece in the series, which will be an outdoor HIVE.
FALLING HIVE OPENS MAY 18TH, AUSTIN, TX
FALLING HIVE WILL be built but the HIVE series has grown in complications and expense with each sculpture. I'm not asking for something for nothing, though. I have applied the array of my skills (and collaborated with some wonderful people) to create some great rewards in exchange for your support.
CREDITS AND THANKS
Video done by Chad Loucks of Loucks Pictures. Filming assistance provided by Mark Masterson. chadloucks.com
Graphics created by Mary Beth Labuda.
Thanks to Pat Masterson of Burning Bones Press for helping with the silkscreens www.burningbonespress.com/
Lithograph created under the guidance of and printed by Mark Masterson. markmasterson.com
Many, many thanks to the stars of the Kickstarter video: Dennis Nance, Elaine Bradford, Kennan Vidal, Pete Walker, Debra Berrara, Jonathan Hopson, Kevin Curry, John Obsta and some wonderful strangers who really got into the spirit of the pieces and the moment!
You’re all awesome!
Thanks to all the non-profit art organizations who gave the HIVE sculptures some floor space: Lawndale Art Center, Houston, TX, Box 13 ArtSpace, Houston, TX, Lawrence Art Center, KS, and Living Arts of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Thanks to curator Ryder Richards who put TUMOR HIVE in his exhibition “Construct” where it got to visit the Art Depot in Lubbock and Brazos Gallery in Richland.
Risks and challenges
The whole process of building FALLING HIVE and the first two HIVE sculptures has been a constant challenge, physically and mentally. I’ll work on something for months and have no way of telling if it’s actually going to work. In addition, making large work is always a financial investment. It requires a large working space, a lot of materials and some outside assistance. My greatest challenge is time. I work full time and must balance the demands of a full time job as a registrar at a local museum with those of the studio. The greatest risk in not making my Kickstarter goal is that if I can’t find a way for the smaller works to support the larger work I’ll have to drastically slow the rate at which I make the sculptures or cease it altogether for a time, while I weigh other options. I don’t want to slow down or stop! Please support FALLING HIVE.
There's no risk that I won't finish the sculpture. It's very close and the armature production has been ordered and quoted. There are possible delays in reward production because to keep costs low I am doing as much of it myself as possible and asking friends for help. I will do my best to avoid any and all delays and to produce quality rewards. I hope you can tell from the images that I am a hard worker and I will get the job done!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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