I owe Andy at the Nexus Gallery in Bellingen a bit of an apology – well actually I’ve already apologised but clearly still feeling guilty! Despite the fact that I got my reminder about the show several months in advance, as always, this one has really crept up on me and I have been horribly disorganised. Then we had a “misunderstanding” about the subject of flyers for the show which means I missed out on a big mailshot and… you can see that things haven’t been plain sailing. I’ve been looking at lots of cosmological equations as part of my preparations for this show, but at the moment the one that stares out at me is work + children + money worries + fatigue = recipe for HUGE last minute panic. YOU know what I mean!
Luckily I was able to call in a favour with my mate Willis who kindly spent last Saturday with me, screen printing the backgrounds on to five slates. We used a mid-grey with aluminium dust mixed into the medium so that it has a faint shimmer when dry, and printed a series of graphs and equations to do with particle physics and cosmology.
I love the flaky surface of the slates! It rubs off, but for me that is part of the fun of them and anyway, different parts of each slate are different so it doesn’t flake off everywhere.
You can just about see the sheen of the metal particles in the silk screen ink.
Back in the studio I laid them all out and started engraving, scraping and gilding them – 23 3/4 carat gold leaf, in case you’re interested.
I asked Dave from the Regional Gallery how he’d come up with a hanging system for the slates I had in there last year and he told me the secret: windscreen washer tubing and 9.5mm brake vacuum pipe on 65mm self-tapping timber screws. You twist a longer piece of the narrower tubing onto the screw, then push a short piece and then a longer piece on top. You screw two of these assemblies into the wall along the bottom edge of the slates, and the slates themselves fit into the gap between the two shorter pieces of tube, held in place by the inner pipe. Then you hold the slates on top of the two bottom screw assemblies and screw in the top two screws. Finally you put an end cap on the screw and, in my case, colour it black with a marker pen!
The gallery is a quirky little annexe to the main space which I had to myself a couple of years ago. It was literally built onto the side of the main building so the timber cladding of the old external wall forms the inner surface of the side gallery – perfect for screwing slates onto!
Fingers crossed I sell some work. The Nexus Gallery charges a very reasonable 25% commission and although I have bowed to pressure from all over the place to increase my prices, the work is still priced to sell. If you’re in or near Bellingen, drop in and have a look! The Old Butter Factory houses a number of artisans as well as the gallery, and they do a nice coffee and lunch.