torah stitch by stitch

This post should explain the images I’ve been posting on Instagram tagged with #torahstitchbystitch. I am part of the Torah Stitch by Stitch project, a global effort to create a cross-stitch embroidered copy of the Torah (the 5 books of Moses). Posting daily images of my progress keeps me from slacking off and hopefully will inspire others working on the project to keep moving forward.

Part of the project participation agreement is that you will try to document and share the process. My usual routine is to stitch at least one letter while I’m listening to music, sitting in my kids’ room as they fall asleep. I spend on average 20 minutes a night.

Read the info on the site linked above, but please ask me questions or give me comments (you can comment below this post). This is a very exciting thing to be working on and I would love to talk about it.

sphere of fifths

check out those shadows
check out those shadows

The circle of fifths is a music theory model several hundred years old which describes the relationships between diatonic scales. It can be seen as an illustration of infinite chord progressions. Sphere of Fifths uses the idea of infinite knots to represent musical cycles, and uses pentagonal knot designs of varying complexity to bring the music theory model into 3 dimensions. When the light source is changed to different angles, shadows from the opaque parts of the glass recombine in complex shadows; the viewer of the piece gets to decide on some of its content by taking this into consideration.

The piece appears to be held together tenuously, the same way a motive in a good piece of music will hold everything together without having to overshadowing things. The wood and strings are reminiscent of orchestra instruments. The knots themselves are similarly suggestive, and not directly representative of a circle of fifths diagram.

the rough draught with a thumbs up from the artist
the rough draught with a thumbs up from the artist

This piece was donated to the KJDS‘s 2014 fundraising event, Some Enchanted Evening.

proof

proof close up
Proof that I was Where I Said I was at the Time I was There
wood, paper, paint, cremains of 1999 senior show
2013

 

background

  1. Students who graduated around the millennium from Carson-Newman College [sic] were invited to submit recent works for a show to coincide with the university’s 2013 homecoming. The purpose of writing so much about this piece is mainly to explain my artwork to the other people in the show, since it was done partly for them.
  2. A geode is a regular-ol’ looking rock that, when cracked open, reveals a secret world of gemstone. If someone handed you a geode, you would have to take it on faith that in the center were amethysts. It would not be until you destroyed the rock-ness (the smooth, round, appearance of something that looks uniformly rocky ) of the geode that you discovered its real nature.
  3. Years after my senior show in 1999, I decided that 1) instead of trying to maintain the pristine nature of several of the pieces and 2) as a way of ‘moving on’ since they physically took up a lot of room and actually got in the way of working on other stuff, I would burn them and save the cremains for a future project.
  4. The development of my optophonetic alphabet has been an ongoing project since high school, and as such has become a part of my artwork. It, along with keeping a journal, was something I was always working on through college.

process

The cremains were the material I had first, so they were good to go.

proof model

I had the general idea for the form in my head, but I couldn’t work out if it were possible to really exist when I sat down to measure materials. I tried sketching out the form, but I wanted to be sure it would really occupy the space I wanted it to. So, I used SketchUp to create a model on the computer. As I was creating this model, I decided that 21 inches in any direction was a good size; each cube would be a 1-inch cube, for a total of 2321 cubes.

2013-10-10 06.31.50In order to use wood for the basic structure, I had to plane down 2 by 12s to get precise 1-inch pieces of wood to work with. Thanks to my dad for this, because he suffered through running boards through the planer for 2 days with me. After that, I built the structure according to the model.

With the cubes stacked the way they are, only 1326 faces of these cubes are visible to the outside. I used this number as the number of characters I would use for the written message which would appear on the cubes. The form as a whole is based around a cube itself, and so characters on the faces could be read from six different ways. To easily type my message, I needed a font, which I created using FontForge.

proof font

proof in excel

I also needed a 2-d way of plotting where the characters would go in 3 dimensions, for which I used Excel (which I like to refer to as Microsoft Grid, since that is often how it it used). After writing a message, I created .DXF files

 using Inkscape for use with my [amazon_link id=”B008KPBFSI” target=”_blank” locale=”US” container=”” container_class=”” ]Silhouette Cameo[/amazon_link] paper cutter. As the letters were cut out, I glued them in the right place on the structure and painted it with several coats of primer.

meaning

finishing touchesThe message written all over this piece is the plain meaning. I wrote about being in school with the other people in the show, about how lucky I was to be around them, and the sense of healthy competition which pushed us all to take things to the next level.

One thing I still like imagining is the pieces in the gallery at night, with no one there, but the presence of the artworks being there, sort of representing each of us. For me, the whole show was about creating a monument to our time at school together.

comp tank

the comp tank in action
the comp tank in action

The idea was to end up with a glitchy way of capturing images which would show the ghostly depth of 3-d objects scanned on a flatbed scanner. I cut some clear acrylic sheets and made a tank using my old scanner as the base. The tank was then filled with water to allow things to swirl around. Notice the incredible setup: Windows 98, Photoshop 3.05, 800 x 600 monitor (256 colors).

Part of the charm of the process is not even prescanning, and definitely not doing anything to the image after scanning. This gives it a little more of a ‘fine arts’ element, sort of like digital monoprinting.

[FAG id=1569]

recursive antecedent quick response code experiment 2013-06-02

If it’s not obvious, this is a time lapse video of me constructing a QR code which links to a video of me constructing a QR code which links to a video of me constructing a QR code which links to a video of… you get the idea.

resources

To photograph, I used a Nikon D200 and a timer. The photos were then dumped in Windows Live Movie Maker and the video was uploaded to Vimeo. Here is my favorite QR code generator.

martian / alien painting

IMG_5031
Normal 80s kids had Legos. My brother and I had Construx. I had the Space Series stuff that glowed in the dark, and Jerry had the purple Alien stuff. It didn’t seem odd at the time, but since he had two of these figures, he named one Alien and the other Martian. This painting serves as a monument to the days before our minds were clouded with things such as sub-classes and parent categories.

The text(?) below the portraits are from 2 different decals (and yes, I know that one is just the other upside-down) from the Battlestrike set. I like to believe one reads martian and the other alien.

The painting was done on a board covered in old Construx instructions, which peek through here and there. Other media used were ink, tempera, and watercolor.

my name

Below are real life implementations of a logotype of my first name. The first version of this was created when I was in middle school, c.1990. After taking art more seriously, or at least doing more art, I have been in search of a symbol or mark which represents me. I returned to a version of the original, adding 2 shades of red (to emphasize the chromatic aspect of אָדָם). The diagram here shows the symbol on a 60° axonometric grid, which reveals some exact proportions, namely that the first 3 letters together have the same area as the last letter and that the entire area is made up of 10 equilateral triangles (shown in light blue).

legend two

legend two music

legend two notes

legend two is orchestrated for the following 18 instruments:

  1. recorder
  2. flute
  3. oboe
  4. bassoon
  5. clarinet
  6. horn
  7. guitar (nylon strings)
  8. harp
  9. harpsichord
  10. piano
  11. hammond organ
  12. xylophone
  13. vibraphone
  14. marimba
  15. tubular bells
  16. taiko drum (or any low, pitched drum)
  17. timpani
  18. contrabass

01-04, 08-13,15-16, 19-20 are connected, with no pause in between movements.

legend one

Musical accompaniment is now written for many visual formats. Most of these formats (opera, movies, video games) tell a story; the music serves as a backdrop for the story.

The aim of the legend musical form (legend in the story-telling sense) is to re-invent this process: if music can be written as a supplementary element of an audio-visual story, why couldn’t the music be written first, leaving the story up to many possibilities?

Legend One, titled ‘July,’ is the first of hopefully several implementations of this form. It is a large work for chamber orchestra (instruments shown in as tags on this page) in 26 movements and is about an hour and fifteen minutes long. It is what I think of as post-minimalist, with each movement featuring only a few instruments.

The image is an illustration of the form of the piece in terms of theme.