Non-flat Earth (#2)

Non-flat Earth, papier-mâché, approx 50 x 50 x 50 cm

Myths and legends tell the story of a flat earth traveling through the heavens supported on the backs of elephants and a turtle. Same here, but with a roundish earth.

There are some conspiracy theories floating around suggesting that the Earth is flat. I have traveled around the world and observed that it is in fact round. Well, roundish.

Hindu mythology has the earth supported by elephants or a tortoise/turtle or both or a snake. North America has a legend of a ‘Great Turtle’, which upholds the Earth.

Combining the facts with the legends, I have recreated this model of the Earth. A Non-flat Earth is based on Non-flat Earth Unpainted, but with a hand made globe, in a different medium – papier-mâché, and painted this time.

The book of Job in the Bible says the Earth is suspended over nothing.

He spreads out the northern skies over empty space;
    he suspends the earth over nothing.

Job 26:7. NIV

While this lines up with the science, my globe has to rely on the backs of elephants and a turtle for support.

Non-flat Earth has been entered in the Ashburton Society of Arts 58th Annual Exhibition and can be viewed (and purchased $900) at the Ashburton Art Gallery from 5-29 July 2022.

Small Worlds

Small Worlds, Acrylic, aluminum foil, wood, air dried clay on reconstructed canvases, 13x13cm

Small World North

Small World North, Acrylic, aluminum foil, wood, air dried clay on reconstructed canvas, 13x13cm

Small World South

Small World South, Acrylic, aluminum foil, wood, air dried clay on reconstructed canvas, 13x13cm

Small World Stewart

Small World Stewart, Acrylic, aluminum foil, wood, air dried clay on reconstructed canvas, 13x13cm

With the recent pandemic and lockdowns travel globally has been limited. This has been hard on Kiwis who love to travel the globe and occasionally bump someone they know from home. They establish their common connections and exclaim “Small World!”.

And also during some of the travels of my life, I have met people who have not travelled very far from where they were born. Sometimes you hear of people who spent their entire lives living and working on a bridge in a European or Asian city, or had never left the small village they were born in. Their worldview is often small.

These globes are for the travel-challenged.

Small World North, Small World South and Small World Stewart have been entered in the Ashburton Society of Arts 58th Annual Exhibition and can be viewed (and purchased) at the Ashburton Art Gallery from 5-29 July 2022.

Tinfoil Hats : Fashionable headwear for the conspiracy theorists

With the plethora of conspiracy theories floating around, perhaps you need a tinfoil hat to prevent mind control by governments, spies, or paranormal beings that employ ESP or the microwave auditory effect. While these hats might or might not offer this kind of protection, they at least are more fashionable than the proverbial tin foil hat which resembles a dunce cap.

More photos on Flickr

I tested the hats ability to block electromagnetic signals to my phone but they failed, mainly because the phone was larger than the hats, but it is likely that the thickness of the aluminium was not sufficient.

Don’t Fly With Scissors

I had many scissors left over from my acquisition of relinquished scissors from the New Zealand Aviation Security Service for my Rock, Paper, Scissors sculptures and so I was experimenting with shapes I could form with scissors and stumbled upon an avian shape.

With many forgetful passengers relinquishing scissors and other hazardous items at airport security gates, creating sculptures that reminded people to be careful when flying seemed obvious. Four harmonious pairs of scissors are wired together for each sculpture.

Don’t Fly With Scissors #1, Red and black scissors/wire, 27 x 33 x 7 cm
Don’t Fly With Scissors #2, Blue, red and black scissors/wire, 30 x 30 x 6 cm

Due to size, comfort and safety issues, it is not recommended to fly with scissors. With their aerodynamics, they would most likely fly like sheep and rather plummet. If the scissors could fly, I imagine they would soar similar to this video:

Don’t Fly With Scissors Flying, video 1:48 (no audio)

Don’t Run With Scissors

Like most of my work, Don’t Run With Scissors is a visual pun and pokes fun at both the art world and luxury sneaker consumers with a single impractical but wearable shoe sculpture made from scissors.

I had acquired a large number of relinquished scissors from the New Zealand Aviation Security Service for my Rock, Paper, Scissors sculptures. With the remaining scissors I started to create some other sculptures, the most obvious ones being the aircraft/bird shaped Don’t Fly With Scissors. While constructing these, my thoughts progressed to the childhood warning “Don’t Run With Scissors” and thus formed the idea of creating an impractical running shoe made with scissors.

Don’t Run With Scissors, scissors/paper/thread sculpture approx 22 x 33 x 25 cm

Creating the shoe

Using my own foot as a model for the proportions, I wired together scissors to get the basic shape and then at the Ashburton MenzShed, I bent and welded the scissors into place. I then used waxed thread and the plastic handles of a pair of scissors to form the laces. After this I created a tongue/upper of the shoe from layers of paper which I glued and then hand stitched a waxed thread edging. I hand embroidered the logo onto more layered paper and attached this to the shoe. I wrapped thread around any wires connecting the scissors to hide them and make the shoe slightly more comfortable.

Creating the branding and shoebox

I checked the translation of scissors in as many languages as I could and the Hungarian word for scissors, olló, was the word that I thought most resembled a pair of scissors and had the potential for a shoe brand.

Don’t Run With Scissors shoebox lid, paper/inkjet print/acrylic paint, approx 22 x 33 x 3 cm

Using papier-mâché I recycled and exaggerated a shoebox to fit the shoe and serve as a plinth for the sculpture. Acrylic paint and inkjet prints of the logos and labels give the box the look of an authentic product. The QR code on the price label can be decoded to a link to this article about the sculpture on the artist’s website. The pricing is that of the sculpture and is deliberately ridiculous in fitting with the range of luxury sneakers – shoes that are ridiculously expensive and designed to look like running shoes, but not intended for running in.

Wearing the shoe

The shoe is a tight fit for my left foot and so the sizing is equivalent to 46 EU / 12 UK / 13 US / 29.5 CM. During the sculpting of the shoe, it has also fitted my right foot but is currently too difficult to put on. Walking with the shoe is possible, but slightly uncomfortable. It has the feeling of a heavy boot. Running while wearing the shoe has not been attempted and is not recommended as it may damage the shoe or the surroundings.

Wearing the Don’t Run With Scissors sculpture

Exhibiting the shoe

This sculpture has been entered into the Ashburton Society of the Arts 2021 Annual Exhibition at the Ashburton Art Gallery. The exhibition runs from the opening on Monday 5 July 2021 to Friday 30 July 2021.

Knitting Needles

One of the ladies at the Ashburton Society of the Arts Monday Art and Craft group gave me some unwanted knitting needles for recycling.

What do you do when someone gives you knitting needles? You knit with them. So I started knitting them into a sculpture.

Knitting Needles, metal and plastic knitting needles, 36x10x22 cm
Knitting Needles, metal and plastic knitting needles, 36x10x22 cm

The knitting needles were a mix of individual plastic and metal needles with different colors and sizes. The metal needles were quite pliable and relatively easy to knit with.

Knitting Needles (rear view), metal and plastic knitting needles, 36x10x22 cm
Knitting Needles (rear view), metal and plastic knitting needles, 36x10x22 cm

Some of the plastic knitting needles were brittle and so they snapped into multiple pieces and flew around the room when I tried to knit them and so I have threaded them into the weave. Softening the rest of the plastic and metal knitting needles in boiling water helped for coiling them into a ball.

Hand me the money

Hand me the money, shredded paper, 10 x 6 x 12 cm + 10 x 22 x 5 cm

I recently shredded years of old bank statements and recycled some of them into these statements of the different hands in economics, trade and giving.

Open handed (right)

Using an outline of my right hand traced onto cardboard, I built up the sculpture, gluing individual strips of shredded bank statements. The right hand is light weight, but firm.

Depending on your politics, you might see those on the political right as tight fisted and money grabbing, but instead I have portrayed the right as open handed, giving and receiving, serving each other. Not a hand out begging, but lending a hand to mutually help each other.

Tight fisted (left)

I pasted individual strips of shredded bank statements on my closed left fist and then carefully removed the sculpture and filled the hollow fist with more shredded bank statements before applying further strips to the outside. The left hand is heavier but softer than the right.

Again, depending on your politics, you might see those on the political left with an open hand sharing the wealth and giving to those in need. Instead I have portrayed the left as a fist, raised in angry defiance. Grabbing for money and power at the expense of others.

The invisible hand

Between the two hand sculptures is an invisible hand. In economics, the invisible hand is a metaphor for unseen forces that move the free market economy. We cannot see what the invisible hand is doing. Perhaps it is open handed, perhaps a closed fist, perhaps something in between giving a rude gesture.

Hands apart
Hands together
Hand in hand

The Bible has a lot to say about money. This verse is apt.

‘But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. ‘

Matthew 6:3 NLT

Cork Screws

Cork screws, hand carved cork, 50 x 20 x 20 mm
Cork Screws, hand carved cork, 50 x 20 x 20 mm

This visual pun came to mind as I was contemplating what to do with my collection of corks.

Cork Screws (close up), cork 50 x 20 x 20 mm
My collection of Cork Screws, photograph.

Cork is difficult to carve, creating chunky shavings and so it is a delicate and time consuming process. I attempted to carve one cork which claimed to be recyclable and seemed to be made from a kind of rubberized paper material. It was very difficult to effectively work with and so if you want to carve your own cork screws, stick to the natural corks.

Cork Screw #3, recyclable cork (50 x 20 x 30 mm)

More photos on Flickr.

The world is falling apart

Just over a year ago, I created Non-flat earth (unpainted), a sculpture of a model of the earth that combined facts and legends of how the earth is supported.

The world is falling apart, photograph of a sculpture previously known as Non-flat earth (unpainted).

The foundations are crumbling and decaying which is kind of appropriate with the laws of thermodynamics and the current global pandemic.

However, there is hope.

‘They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. ‘

Isaiah 61:4 https://my.bible.com/bible/111/ISA.61.4

‘Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. ‘

Revelation 21:1 https://my.bible.com/bible/111/REV.21.1

I could repair the sculpture. Or leave it to decay further. Or build a new one.

As the (unpainted) title of the original sculpture suggests the work is not finished. It was a prototype for further work and could have been painted to fit more with the ancient legends. My procrastination has given this sculpture an opportunity to express itself its own way.


Post about the creation of the original sculpture:

Duct tape banana

Duct tape banana, politape, 145x80mm
Duct tape banana, politape, 145x80mm

In response to media surrounding Maurizio Cattelan’s work, “Comedian”, I have created this expression of a banana. Some media reports are incorrectly labelling Maurizio’s work as a duct tape banana when, in fact, it should be labelled duct taped banana.

My work is fastened to the wall with “blu tack”, some of which is not blue.

Is it duct tape or duck tape? This yellow tape is similar in color to that of a yellow rubber duckie. The tape used in this sculpture is branded Politape was purchased from a “dollar” store.

The banana that served as the model was also purchased from a discount store. The banana used in the production of this sculpture was later unknowingly eaten by my son.