Sunday, November 14, 2010

Art installed ... better known as a sign

 So, I found this 34 inch by 76 inch by 3/4 inch piece of plate glass when we moved the ice house.  It stayed outside during the winter and I pondered what I could do with it.  The piece just was too heavy and large to make into a coffee table.  This summer I remembered that as a craft project during my girl scout years, we had etched glass.  I looked up what was required of the glass and whether it was possible to buy the etching acid in a large quantity.   And, voila, the idea for using it to identify the house was born.

I then had to find out how to make a stencil and what works is clear contac(tm) paper.  Next step was to figure out what I wanted to etch into the glass beside my last name.  It was pretty obvious though - a pigeon to honor that the original Davis (my grandfather) had been co-owner with Dyer of the largest pigeon farm on the east coast in the 30's and 40's.  I asked my mom to find a simple dove graphic and letters in a font that did not have many or any serifs and would be thick.  We put the dove on two regular sheets and each letter filled on sheet of paper.  

The next step was for me to tape them on to the contac(tm) paper and cut them out with an exacto(tm) knife.  The letters were easy but the pigeon was not.  Getting the tail feathers right was tedious as I had to make sure the stencil did not get so skinny it would tear when I removed the backing.

The next step required a sunny day and an extra pair of skilled hands (thanks Doug!).  We set up sawhorses and Doug put the piece of glass down on them so I could scrub and dry both sides.  The wind and sun did the final drying and kept the oak leaves off.  I had made the stencil from one continuous piece to ensure that the spacing between the letters and dove was correct and to make sure they were all center aligned.   This was correct but that made getting the backing off the contac(tm) paper hard while keeping the whole thing correctly aligned on the glass.

I applied the etching acid thickly with a brush made for doing pastels on canvas.  I swirled it a bit to make the pigeon appear more feathery.  That was sort of successful.  Fifteen minutes later, water rinsed it all off and there was the bird and the DAVIS.

The temperature was slated to drop into the 30's that night, so Doug moved it into the new garage.  A week went by and the temperature came up enough to pour concrete.  So, Doug put pressure treated posts in the ground and braced them and poured concrete to anchor them, making sure they were straight up.  Next, he built a frame that the glass would fit into that would attach to the posts.  This material is also pressure treated lumber.  Once the concrete was set, he added bracing in the back to the posts because we were concerned that wind might make blow the whole thing over.

I had chosen to site the art at an angle to the house because the prevailing wind is from the north and would have hit the side of the post square on.  I am hoping the angle will help deflect some of the force of the wind when we have a storm.  

In the spring, I will be able to paint the pressure treated wood, but for now it has to cure before I can do that, so it is au naturel.  That also lets me decide whether the paint color should be red, gray, or white.  Any votes?

And, if anybody asks if I am opening a business, I will insist the sign is art and it was the pigeon or a set of pink flamingos (Thanks, Sandra).  BTW, the pigeon shows up very well when the sun is shining directly on the glass, not above or behind it as in the photos above.