FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Erick Johnson, 616-402-4743, firstname.lastname@example.org Dana Plowman, 616-847-7057, email@example.com Grand Haven artist collaborates with Dake and JSJ Corp. to create 550-pound, 7-foot-high iron tripod to support ArtPrize entry ***PHOTO OPPORTUNITY*** ArtPrize Installation: Thursday, September 16, 1-2 p.m., “Change, It’s Inevitable,” by Cyndi Casemier-Johnson at Huntington Bank, 50 Monroe NW, Grand Rapids, Mich. GRAND HAVEN, Mich., September 15, 2010 – When ceramic artist Cyndi Casemier-Johnson returned to Grand Haven after 13 years in Vermont, she was immediately struck by the plight of friends, neighbors and businesses struggling during Michigan’s tough economic times. But instead of giving up or just trying to survive, many people revealed a spirited determination to succeed, that in large part, inspired her 2010 ArtPrize entry, “Change, It’s Inevitable,” available for viewing during ArtPrize, September 22-October 10, 2010. Employees at West Michigan businesses that embrace change daily in their own cultures, Dake Corp. and parent company JSJ Corporation of Grand Haven, teamed up to design and fabricate a 7-foot-tall, 550-pound iron tripod that will suspend Casemier-Johnson’s large art piece made of clay, screen printing and solar lighting. George Kruggel of Radiant Design provided support for the lighting. On Thursday, September 16, members of this Dake-JSJ team will help install Casemier-Johnson’s ArtPrize entry at Huntington Bank, 50 Monroe Ave NW, in Grand Rapids. Dake and JSJ employees involved in the project are Bruce Anderson, who designed the tripod, Tim Cox, Brian Langlois, Archie Moe, Bob Pace, Jason Riemersma and John Young. According to Casemier-Johnson’s description of her ArtPrize entry, “This imagery will remind you as the observer that, yes, we can adapt, move forward, and do more than survive. We can succeed.” About Cyndi Casemier-Johnson and C2Ceramics My work is reflective of my surroundings. I see beauty in the daily changes of our lakeshore and incorporate that into my artwork. My functional pieces use historical methods that are designed to be used daily. As I design unique pieces, that are unavailable anywhere else, I consider seasonal changes of familiar waterfronts, our relationship with nature (trees, water, sand, rock), and manmade objects. www.c2ceramics.com About JSJ Corporation JSJ Corporation, based in Grand Haven, Michigan, is a privately held corporation that designs, develops and markets durable goods and services throughout the world. Its businesses include Dake, GHSP, Hudson Technologies, izzy+, mcloone, and Sparks. More than 2,000 JSJ employees in the United States, China, Japan, and Mexico provide products and services to customers worldwide. www.jsjcorp.com END
No more tweaking. No more making choices. Tomorrow the pyramid will be suspended by cable in Grand Rapids. The sign that you will see next to it is displayed with this posting. Marc Blondin did a very nice job for me. If you need a sign of any type, consider checking out his capabilities. I am so very tempted to go down to the studio one more time and look at it. I was going to take more picture but I think I will wait and let you see it tomorrow. Good night.
Here are a few pictures of the piece. Its almost done. Epoxies are setting. I need to do some acrylic painting tomorrow but it is almost there! I am excited to see it hanging.
“Change…….It’s Inevitable” This is a conceptual sculpture using West Michigan resources. Pyramids were chosen to reflect their symbolism of life moving forward, the next life. For myself, I feel as though I have lived many lives. I can’t be alone in this belief. I used life circles throughout this structure to depict life moving forward, never stagnant. Currently, Michigan is struggling. Our residents are struggling. We have enormous physical plants that stand empty. Michigan had an important presence during the Industrial Revolution of the 1800’s. We were known for our innovation and manufacturing. Many Michigan products are now made overseas. Our businesses are reinventing themselves. I realize that change is a part of life, but…… Whether we like it or not, subtle changes happen daily, whether its our aging, the change of seasons, a caterpillar becoming a butterfly. We have wonderful fresh water lakes that provide hours of enjoyment throughout the year. As residents, business owners and employees, we struggle with this nagging question, “How can I survive in this changing landscape and sustain my way of life?” I think of life: infancy, teen years, young adult, parenthood, and aging. My family has lived here for several generations. One of my grandfathers was a grocer with several stores and the other a plumber who became a Great Lakes charter captain. I narrowed my focus to one man, my grandfather. He loved life. He lived 85 years. He saw many changes in our world. He lived through the horrors of war, death of a child, earned a living to provide for his family, raised children and grandchildren. At the end of his life, I remember his laughter. He and my grandmother could still laugh after more than 60 years together. So, at the end of the day, isn’t this what matters? Change…….It’s inevitable.
Here are a few pictures of my tiling efforts today. The pieces are coming together. I have corner pieces and the third side to attach with adhesive. I have never used a tile cutter before, but it is a handy piece of equipment. I think after Art Prize, I will make tiles and tile my guest bathroom floor. Always, thinking about the next project.
My internal pyramid is ready for grouting. The cables to suspend the pyramid are attacking me. Can you imagine thick cable that has been cut and the loose fine wires are coming unwrapped. They are reaching out and grabbing me anytime I get close. So, they are now wrapped and behaving themselves. I have applied a waterproofing membrane to the plywood and waiting for it to dry. In the meantime, here is a picture of the end tiles. They fired very well in the gas kiln. There are some very small crystals that formed during firing. Very cool!
“Change…….It’s Inevitable” I returned to Michigan, after living in Vermont for 13 years. I thought I would return to a thriving economy and begin a new, but familiar life. What I found is a state that is struggling to survive. Michigan had an enormous presence during the Industrial Revolution of the 1700 and 1800’s. We were known for our innovation using tool and die, presses, and in building the furniture industry. We have wonderful fresh water lakes (instead of salt water oceans) that provide hours of entertainment and enjoyment throughout the year. My family has lived here for several generations. We have been plumbers, tool and die makers, teachers, fisherman, grocers, pharmacists, engineers, bankers, community leaders, gas station and motel owners. One of my grandfathers was a grocer with several stores and the other a plumber who became a charter fishing boat captain. Currently, Michigan is struggling. Our residents are struggling. We have enormous physical plants that stand empty. Products made in Michigan are now made overseas. Our businesses need to reinvent themselves. I realize that change is a part of life, but…… It’s inevitable. Whether we like it or not, subtle changes happen each day of our lives, whether it is our aging, the change of seasons, a caterpillar becoming a butterfly. As residents, business owners, and employees, we must struggle with this nagging question, “How can I survive in a changing landscape and sustain my way of life?” Yes, we can change. We will adapt, move forward, and do more than survive. We will grow and learn. This is a conceptual sculpture. I have used the resources of West Michigan to build this work. Pyramids were chosen to reflect their symbolism of life moving forward, the next life. For myself, I feel as though I have lived many lives. I can’t be alone in this belief. I have used life circles throughout this structure to depict life moving forward, never stagnant. I walk the beaches in sunshine, rain, and snow. The changes can be, both, stark and beautiful. You just have to look. I have taken hundreds of digital images and contacted several local companies to research their image archives. I needed to narrow the focus. I portray manufacturing from the 1920’s through today. We have evolved from using our hands and assembly lines to computerized machines that make parts with little human contact. I began thinking about our lives as infants, teens, young adults, parenthood, aging, and senior years. In doing this, I remembered moments in my own life: being at the beach, swinging on a metal swing set, prom, a wedding, the Vietnam war, having children and watching them grow. I have narrowed it down to one man, my grandfather. He loved life. He lived 85 years. He saw many changes in our world, lived through the horrors of war, death of a child, earned money in many ways to support his family, raised children and grandchildren. At the end of his life, I remember his laughter. He and my grandmother could still laugh after a very full life together. So, at the end of the day, isn’t this what matters. So, yes, we can adapt. “Change…..It’s Inevitable.”
I got up at 5am to fire the gas kiln, today. I am hoping to head to the beach for one more dose of Vitamin D. We have to enjoy these wonderful days while we can. It will be winter before we know it. I have my corner and end pieces in the gas kiln. I am keeping my fingers crossed that they fire as I envision. The co-op that I am in, Washington Square Gallery in Holland, has sold several of my tray sets. I made three more for this firing with matching bowl sets. One of the pyramid sides are completed but I think I can do better. So, I am remaking them. The clock is ticking. 25 more days until Art Prize begins. Go to ArtPrize.org for more information on the many, many events.
I got to see my tripod last week and the sign base for the project. Brian helped with several tests in "aging" the steel. We tried battery acid poured directly onto the steel. We left part of the steel alone. I should say, he, took the protective finish off part of it, and then torched it. We also took the finish off, poured muriatic acid on this area, and then torched it. One final test was using WD-40 on each of those tests. I have a plan and Brian is game to help with it. I am not going to tell you which test we liked the best. :) One thing that Brian and I did decide was that the battery acid is too caustic and we will be using salt water, instead. The WD-40 made a neat pattern on the bottom of the base. You can see it here.
Today, I am meeting to hang the prototype and see what height is appropriate for the hanging pyramid. This will be the texture on the bottom edge. Of course this is unglazed. I met with the owner of Headliners and he is donating the sign that will tell my story. I have the "yes" from Huntington Bank for the sign. Everything is coming together.