Project: Art for the Heart

Phase 6:  Let’s Get This Show on the Road130212_AFTH_stacked hearts 01_web

With the completed hearts out of the kiln, it was time to prepare for installation of the exhibit.  Four steps were required to prepare:  1) Prepare the hearts for hanging, 2) visit the exhibition space, 3) purchase and prep the panels, and 4) transport everything to the site.

To prepare the hearts for hanging, we tied them with ribbon. While this was not a difficult task, tying over 150 hearts with ribbon is definitely tedious.  We decided to hang one half of the hearts in red ribbon, and the other in blue, so that when it was installed it would resemble the human heart.



We also had to visit the hospital to see the spaces available for the exhibit.  We thought of installing the exhibit on the patio, so it would the most visible. Unfortunately, as winter is transitioning to spring here in the California Central Valley, I could not bear the thought of wind knocking over one of the panels onto some unsuspecting person having a coffee break.  I suggested we opt for a safer, indoor space—a wall in an open hall, adjoining the lobby at the main entrance.


Speaking of the unsuspecting… I enlisted super-duper program supervisor Armando to go with me to buy the panels for the exhibit.  The panels were super-duper, as well… super-duper heavy!  Loading them for transport was no easy task, but we got them back to the Arts Center for painting and marking where the nails would go.

ImageMonika Modest and her awesome friend helped with transporting everything to the hospital for installation.  We still had to hammer all of the nails into the panels, and attach finishing strips to the top and bottom, before finally hanging the hearts.

Image130212_AFTH_stacked hearts 03_webImage


My knees were screaming from crawling all over the floor.  My thumb was throbbing from bashing it with the hammer.  But, seeing the finished exhibit was good for my heart.  Awesome work, everyone!!

Now let’s get this check for $1200 to the Mercy Foundation.

Project: Art for the Heart

Phase 5:  Hearts on Fire… Into the Kiln

1830° is too hot to cook James and Shirley’s peanut butter cookies, but it is the perfect temperature for firing our glazed hearts.

It takes an entire day of carefully orchestrated adjustments to bring the kiln up to that temperature.  By the end, a view through a peephole reveals an orange glow reminiscent of the surface of the sun.  It then takes another two days to cool so the pieces inside can be removed.  Kristine, our Clay/Ceramic Arts instructor says, “It’s like Christmas!” We practically hover around the kiln, checking to see if the temperature has cooled enough to open the lid by another glorious few inches.  If we open it too quickly, the fired glaze, which is like glass fused to the clay, may crack and chip.  If we open it too slowly… we may die of anticipation.

130211_AFTH_clear glaze 01_web

We know that the pieces will be fantastic, but because the glaze is so chalky looking, the final image is like a secret.

Before going into the kiln, each heart is covered with a clear glaze, which goes on blue.  This makes the hearts almost completely anonymous. It’s terrifying, really.  After watching everyone who participated in the workshops put such time and attention into their hearts, to then cover them up with 2 layers of BLUE was sometimes difficult.  Though it’s the same clear glaze we always use, I repeatedly checked the label on the jug to make sure it said “clear.”  130204_AFTH_before after clear glaze_web

The hearts have gone into the kiln. When it cools, we’ll remove them to see the vibrant color of the formerly chalky glaze, and awesome art of the artists who glazed them.