Elizabeth Berrien · World Class Wire Sculpture and Illustration · (707)445-4931 · WIREWORK FAQ's & IFAQ's
elizabeth berrien's bbc cables wire sculpture illustration wins the BIG WON award for #1 Innovative and Alternative 2008.
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Workshop One | Workshop Two | Workshop IFAQ's One | Workshop IFAQ's Two
The Boulder Project
I've in charge of creating a boulder for an Easter production at our church. I have no clue. Paper mache and chicken wire has been mentioned. Size would be app eight feet in any direction with maybe a smaller boulder near it. Any help you can give would be GREATLY appreciated. Thanks much.

Gil S.


Go to a hardware or building supply house and get some 1 1/2" or 2" black water hose - us farm folks use it a lot. It comes on big wide rolls about 50 or 100 ft long, the rolls look about 5 or 6 ft diameter. Get duct tape, too. And some tie wire. Duct tape and baling wire will do anything.

Get some high school or college kids, too. They can take the scratchings up while you supervise. They're young - they'll mend.

Start by messing with the black hose. On a warm day is preferable, it'll be more flexible. Either way, loop and wrassle the hose around til you've got an irregular shape. Then bind it in place by lashing it down with duct tape and baling wire. Add cross-wise chunks of hose til it starts loking right. More duct tape! The hose will lend all the body and structure you need. Finally, wrap and smoosh workable sections of chciken wire onto the hoop frame, smooshing to to keep it natural and irregular. Use tie wire to lace the chicken wire onto the frame.

For the coating, see if someone will donate you some old ugly pre-pasted wallpaper. Otherwise, use wallpaper paste and brown paper bags or newsapaper. Tear it in strips, dip in water, lay on more and more. This part is tedious - use the kids again! It's more fun at that age -

I used this method to make a 13-ft piggy bank for a parade float, which won a top award. Good luck, and send me pictures as you go!

Elizabeth B

________________________

Could you tell me how you start out?
Bernie J-H, who creates monumental barbed wire sculptures, wrote:

Dear Elizabeth,

I have been playing a bit with small wire without welding. It is a challenge for me. I appreciate your work more and more!

If you would be so kind could you tell me how you start out with the initial wires? And .... you must add more wire in as you go .. do you weave the wire in at the end of the wire or do you weave it in at the middle of the wire.

I do not intend to do anything of your magnitude. i would like to have some small pieces that I can sell for $100 to $500 for shows and I can do these when watching TV in the evening.

I am also starting to give classes. I start out with how to comprehend what one sees that makes a subject look like itself. That is, what makes a deer a deer and not an elk, etc. When doing this, I want to have something that they can do without welding, as many do not weld. I do not plan to become your competition. Because you seem to reach out to other artists, I thought I could ask you these questions.

If you perfer not to share, I will understand.

I have read your Workshop pages and you stop where my questions begin.

Sincerely,

Bernie


Hello Bernie,

Thanks for couching your questions so sweetly and diplomatically. While I don't divulge the finer points of my personal wire technique (like master chefs, whose pet recipes remain mysterious), I'd love to help you and your students.

"...you stop where my questions begin."

That is high praise indeed. It means I am successfully teaching in the tradition of Kenneth Curran. The intent is not to drive you crazy, but to coach you onward into innovating by the process of creative problem solving.

In your class, when you teach "what one sees that makes a subject look like itself", you are already showing your students the process of innovation. They learn to look for obvious differences like antler structure, and also to look for the subtlety of individual head and body refinement.

What you are teaching is not how to know everything in an afternoon workshop, but how to get a solid enough start that they can keep on exploring after they go home. That's what I teach, too.

For the early efforts, focus on handling the wire and getting the look and feel of the lines and shapes. Remember how the first time you picked up a pencil, you doodled and sketched a whole lot before you tried to make something worth framing? Stopping to worry about making wirework solid will get in the way of the free artistic flow. Just wing it.

So the first ones are flimsy? Big deal... Over time, each wirist will discover a personal way to lock them in shape that gets easier and easier with practice. Wire can be hooked, looped, twisted, tied, braided, even glued in place with epoxy. There are no rules - everything is fair game. Try weaving new pieces of wire in at the end of the wire, at the middle, or whichever way occurs to you. Does one way seem to work better than another? Follow that path.

Ken Curran taught us to treasure the creative problem-solving process. He said, "One problem, properly solved, should leave you with ten brand new problems. As long as you always have problems to solve, you will never stop growing and learning."

Hope this helps - let me know how things develop!

- Elizabeth

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Mixing Wires???
Dear Ms. Elizabeth Berrien,

Oh my!! I just want to make something cool for my Dad for his birthday. And I thought about wire and how cool and unique. But I have to keep it small or I will not finish.

Well, I took a 3-D class and one of our projects was with wire. I remember something about not mixing different types of wires. Could you help me? What kinds of wire can you not mix/use together?

Any help would be great!!

And again, awesome! Pegasus by far is my favorite!!

Amanda C.


Amanda,

In wire sculpture, there's only one hard-and-fast rule: DON'T POKE YOUR EYE OUT!
Absolutely everything else is fair game...You have a green light - go ahead an play at mixing any wires you like. It may be a little hard making it work at first, but you can really get nice results.

I mix big wires with little wires, red wires with yellow wires, anything I like. I've heard that mixing steel and aluminum wires together might cause a corrosive effect, so of course I HAD to try it and see how it looked. That was three years ago, and I"m still waiting...

If you like wire a lot, check out my free workshop

Keep having fun, and I hope your dad loves his present.

EB

__________________
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Dread Hinge Effect - Part 1
I wrote to you a while ago - mom starting a new craft, etc. - and I've got the tools, wire, etc and have started to play around with the wire. Actually, I weaved something for my mother which came out nice. I was reading you artists statement and you mentioned the "Dread Hinge Effect". What is that?

Thanks, Jenn B


Glad you're starting to get results!

Sharp of you to ask about the Dread Hinge Effect, which plagued me for the first few years. Right when I thought a project was coming along and looking good, it'd get overly kinetic on me. Connections slipping, swaying and sliding all over.

In accordance with Mr. Curran's creative problem solving technique, I worked at first defining my problem, then casting about for solutions. Finally, while wrestling with a particularly uncooperative work, I said to myself, "It's like the whole dang thing's made out of hinges!" Aha. I'd identified the Dread Hinge Effect!

There are many, many solutions that can be invented to counter the Dread Hinge Effect. I call them "Anti-Hinges". Leave a lot of hinges in, learn to control where and when they operate, and you're carving a niche in the field of Kinetic Wire Sculpture. Replace a lot of hinges with Anti-Hinges, and you've got sculpture that holds its shape better.

Have fun exploring the possibilities...

Elizabeth B

________________________

The One Wire Sculpture Rule Written in Stone: DON'T PUT YOUR EYE OUT!
If you have any questions or comments to add to these, I'd love to hear them. It'll help me create upcoming workshop sections tailored to prticipants' interests. Just email me...
Find more wire advice at Workshop IFAQ's Two


Workshop One | Workshop Two | Workshop IFAQ's One | Workshop IFAQ's Two
World Class Wire Sculpture · Elizabeth Berrien (707) 445-4931 · email wireladye@yahoo.com

Content and images © 1968-2010 Elizabeth Berrien. All rights reserved. · Updated Mar 10, 2010 · this page valid HTML 4.01

elizabeth berrien's bbc cables wire sculpture illustration wins the BIG WON award for #1 Innovative and Alternative 2008.
THE BIG WON
#1 Worldwide
Alternative/Innovative
elizabeth berrien's bbc cables wire sculpture illustration wins the Clio award 2008.
CLIO 2008
elizabeth berrien's bbc cable wire sculpture illustration wins two coveted cannes gold lions in 2008.
Cannes Festival
Double Gold
elizabeth berrien's bbc cable wire sculpture illustration wins two coveted ADC gold cubes in 2008
ADC
Double Gold
elizabeth berrien's bbc cable wire sculpture illustration wins the coveted Obie Best of Show award 2008.
OBIE
Best of Show
elizabeth berrien's bbc cable wire sculpture illustration wins two coveted Andy gold awards 2008.
Andy Double Gold
elizabeth berrien's bbc cable wire sculpture illustration wins one show gold pencil awards 2008.
One Show Gold Pencil
elizabeth berrien's wire sculpture illustration wins double grand awards at London International Awards2008.
London International
Double Grand