Last month my daughter, Sara, was invited to take part in “The Big Egg Hunt.” Two hundred and eighty-seven plain white fiberglass eggs, about two and a half feet high, were to be re-imagined as individual artists saw fit.
When offered projects like this, among other questions, Sara and I like to ask, “Can I learn anything?” and “Who are the beneficiaries?”
This project was to end in a silent auction as a fundraiser to benefit endangered Asian elephants and also Studio in a School, a program that exposes New York City public school students to visual arts. While Sara’s fiberglass egg was being delivered in New York, eggsciting three-dimensional roughs were being made in Vancouver. She was blowing out hen’s eggs and painting miniatures before the ink on her emailed contract was dry.
Right away Sara confirmed that you can’t have texture without losing shine–you can’t have shine without losing texture. Further, if you want reflection, darks are best. (Think of new cars parked beside one another in a showroom.)
Just as Sara was experimenting, marine surveyor Chris Small dropped by the studio to deliver our annual boat insurance survey. Chris, it turns out, knows a lot about marine enamels on fiberglass–the kind that make your boat look wet even when it’s not moving. We were soon Googling Interlux, Awlgrip and Alexseal, and learning that esoteric and expensive boat epoxies are the paint of choice for mega-shine. Soon, lightfast and rock-hard products were discussed in detail with Eastern US yacht painters and the next day Sara was on her way to her big egg in the Big Apple.
Turns out that painting a shiny fiberglass thing in the round is all about preparation–sanding (with ever-diminishing grits, wet and dry) until the personal identification on the ends of your fingers is also worn smooth. For Sara, the painting of her egg took about half a day. The polishing — well — that’s an eggsasperating story.
PS: “Painters tend to ignore the challenges and thrills that sculptors enjoy daily — volume. My intent was to create a polished object that still evokes the spiritual longing and delicate effects and feelings transmitted by a handmade work. Imperfect in their perfection, circles evoke the infinity, soft-edges and organic totems we recognize as life-giving — much like the perfect, imperfect voluminous oval of the egg.” (Sara Genn)
Esoterica: Together with roughs, the egg in progress, the final result and the public placement of Sara’s egg as of April 1, 2014, we’ve put a wide selection of the eggs of other artists above this letter. If you’d like to see every single egg in the collection, how to take part in the hunt (with a cellphone, no less), and the state of current bidding, etc., please go here.
You might even want to put in a bid here. After all, they’re eggsceptional charities.
photograph, 30 x 30 inches
You may be interested to know that artists from every state in the USA, every province in Canada, and at least 115 countries worldwide have visited these pages since January 1, 2013.