Last month I shared a series of six pieces that depict a visual narrative focussed on a fictitious Yugoslavian girl named Natasa. You can read about that here. At that point I questioned whether this series could continue past these original works. Well, here’s the story about how it did in fact continue, and in a big way…
At first, I thought of making another piece that was a similar scale. As the picture below will demonstrate, it was going to be a wee bit larger:
About 3 times taller in fact. About the time of that picture, my main thought was, “What am I getting myself into?” But with the support of the my canine assistant as well as the internet community, I plodded on. In fact, I posted the above picture on my facebook page, and got some great feedback. One poster suggested replacing the flower thing, and I agreed.
So the flower was the first thing to go. It was replaced with a decorative wooden semi-circle piece. It started having the feel of an old jumbled Victorian house, so decided to go with that. Eventually another clock face would go into the space at the top.
Much like the smaller pieces, this piece contains photos and letters from Yugoslavia. The two photos are of winter scenes, so started picturing this as the house of Natasa on a cold winter day. At first I had the photos without the mailbox glass window, but they felt too stark, so put the windows back in. In one case I had to scrub it so the photo could be scene at all, and the second had to dirty it up because it was too pristine. The third window was completely dingy, with only the number 647 showing through. Was quite pleased with that, so left it as is!
The hard part about such a complex piece is that I really had to know what was going on in the background before cutting things to size and nailing it down. For that reason, at least a week must have been spent just arranging and rearranging the many diverse parts until it took shape. But finally the moment of truth…
This was when it became a 3d jigsaw, except a jigsaw that involve power tools. The boxes were cut, recut, shaved and persuaded to all fit together in jumbled harmony.
By the time the photo below was taken, the piece had attained the basic look and feel I wanted.
There were still several issues to resolve, a big one being attaching the very heavy mailboxes, and having them look like they fit into the overall piece. That would basically involve some framing, a side panel for the two in the foreground, and very long screws.
The very last issue was what to put in the long side panel on the far left. I tried several things, but finally decided upon forks, spoons and a big bottle. You can see these in some of the final images.
The name of this work is “The Winter House.” It contains such things as post office mailbox doors, photos and handwritten letters from the 30’s and 40’s Yugoslavia, clock faces, candle holders, a kerosene lamp, and many many boxes. It is approximately 18 x 30 x 8 inches and hangs on the wall.
This was the last piece I finished in 2014 and is my favorite. And while it is already several weeks in, have a very happy 2015!