Monday, January 16, 2012

Birds over Borders

Racks of plates were shown in some of the shots from my Fairmont studio. They were my weird collection of souvenir plates from every state in the U.S. Been buying them at junk stores for years. Around Dec. 9th I began breaking them one by one and adhering them to this fancy aluminum honeycomb panel. Pieces from one state migrate to another and the whole thing is a big mishmash, more a salad bowl than a melting pot.

One of the best sections of this giant mosaic table is this one--the great state of Texas, replete with yellow rose and ashtray. The cigarette stubs I made with porcelain. This is the piece that I will give the hotel in exchange for my three month stay. It will probably go on the Terrace, which has a huge pool and wonderful vegetable and herb gardens that provide fresh produce for the Pyramid restaurant. Fairmont hotels appear in 11 states; the kind General Manager gave me a bunch of old china to bust up and use for each of those. But I found the prized 50 cent ashtray in Austin.

The 22 around the edge are the border states. Well, most of them...did you know that at least one half of the states have either a seashore or border another country? I couldn't decide if those on the Great Lakes also were border states, but I suppose they are...after all, you could sneak in from Canada by boat.
All 50 states, in duplicate, broken and put back together. Except one, Wisconsin. Why Wisconsin? How did I miss getting it? Maybe people don't buy souvenirs of Wisconsin that much. Someone suggested I just use a cheese plate. Ha! In the meantime, it got a nice cow, and I am awaiting two Wisconsin plates from ebay.

With a heroic effort, the seven-foot rounder was presentable for opening night at the Ross/Akard Gallery. Moving it from the studio wasn't easy. Colorado rolled off in the elevator, and we broke some edge tiles. I have to come back to Dallas to finish it off soon. It'll have 50 birds from my vintage bird collection on there, and the craggy composition rises up to the center where tall birds hold the only unbroken plate-- the Statue of Liberty. Who says kitsch can't be redeemed?

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