Steel Wool Overcoat

I became enamored with waulking steel wool into peltish cloaks and covering things; waulking referring to the song-filled Gaelic tradition of purifying and shrinking sheep’s wool into cloth. The method I use involves less purification and direct animal matter and rather relies on brush-stitching steel wool pads together while massaging them with a saltwater acid to transform the iron into the transitional state of iron oxide, reddish, orangey, yellowy, and sometimes black rust.

 

These offshoots of the sculptures become varying pigments for drawing and interpreting layers of air and earth. The soft-looking pelt sculptures titled Steel Wool Overcoat and Oversized Steel Wool Overcoat are in a constant state of disintegration and hardening; what exists on the “safety yellow” synoptic table of this work are the “rocks” and dust particle sticky-states of the materials after months of air baths in saltwater. Interestingly, rust/iron oxide is not the complete destruction of iron; if one were to launch a concentrated amount of hydrogen at a pile of rust, one would once again make iron. 

 

The public and social contract of holding onto, donning costumes, and using pathways for transportation is the catalyst and driving force behind my current research and studio practice. Embracing the mysterious rituals of transportation, both for the living and the dead, involves the use of color as punctuating language, explorations of ranges between the support structures and material motifs, connective tissues in their softest and hardest forms, noticing the racetracks of daily life or doing repetitively the same driving commute, and the reversal of specific gravities; as necessary to convey the weight and light of each iteration.