Process: Aluminum Foundry

You may already know I'm a junkie for artist's process.  It's my primary muse for fiction.  I have a soft spot for sculpture and the tangibility of getting up in there with one's materials.  Especially if the materials are transformed by fire! 

If you've never seen aluminum sand-casting, check this out.  It's a concept similar to the making of sand candles on the beach.  Often a one-off project can be made by carving a piece of styrofoam, embedding it in a bucket of sand (WITH proper ventilation--styrofoam vapor is no joke!) and pouring in liquid aluminum to burn away the styrofoam and take on its shape.

This little foundry can be made at home!  Recycling!  Fun!

Research Materials: Artists in the Towers

My new novella, The Beginning of the End of the Beginning, has a scene in an artist's studio at the top of the Twin Towers, and some have asked me if they really had artist spaces up there. They did.  The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council had two residency programs in unused office spaces.  

One of my inspirations was Stephen Vitiello, a sound artist whose work I found on the web.  He used contact mics on the windows of his 91st floor studio to record the vibrations of the building and the wind.  I found it easy to picture him, at night, next to his windows, in solitude, looking down at the small buildings, listening to the big one.  Here is a sample, from a 2011 Studio 360 broadcast:

I will speak more on WTC artists in future posts.