Friday 28 April 2017

Gate Crasher - Kuokkavieras

Welcome to read about my piece Gate Crasher from my last solo exhibition 
"Whimsical Lettering". It was located in Finland.

 First I want to tell you about the inspiring text and then the technique. 

Text which inspired me to make this piece is based on the old mansion here in my area, written by Jaana Ala-Huissi ( Ostrobothnia, Finland) where has been many many weddings during these years. Mansion was build in 1878 and also, my own wedding were in that same venue in 1999. So, you know, I was extremely fascinating about this story right away, when I asked the Author Jaana Ala-Huissi if she does have any story for me to make a piece to my exhibition ”Whimsical Lettering”. She did send me 6 extremely interesting ghost stories from the area where I live. Gatecrasher was one of them. One more layer in this story is that the Authors own sister did get married in this same mansion and she died very young, and also, she did believe in ghosts and saw them in her regular life.

This is a ligth ghost story,of a wedding, telling about a bride ( Kaarina ) who is extremely superstition, before and in the wedding she did all kind of traditions and was afraid all the time, that if I do this wrong, my whole marriage goes wrong.
For example:
- wedding ring was very loose, because that way she thought that their life will be nice and loose, not too tight marriage.
-They bought the wedding rings on the day that squirrel did run over the road, and in the wedding day she did warm up the ring so that the life with her husband should be warm and nice.
-if it did rain of the wedding day, it did mean that they will be wealthy,
-she sew some salt in to the wedding dress etc.
-who is eating the cake first, she or he, etc.

She did not remember much about the wedding because she did only worry about these superstitious things.

At the church, while the wedding ceremony was on, she did noticed a old women with black dress, sitting on a churc bench. She knew that this person was not a quest. Nobody else seems to notice her at all. Also, she saw that same lady in her wedding. Nobody else saw this lady, but she. Also at the venue, after the ceremony, se saw that lady again. She asked her husband ”who is that lady”? But nobody else saw that person, but the bride.
After the weddingday, maybe after few months, someone knocks to her door, she opens the door and there is the same black dressed lady. Kaarina does ask ” already?” and the lady just turns and walk away to the darkness, left no footprints to the snow. And then Kaarina does die.
After I did read this story multiple times, I started to think a wedding dress BUT with many may layers, since I feel that in this story, there is many ligth layers. It is not solid wedding story, there is multiple tiers and feelings in there. Alone the word wedding day does have all kind of feelings inside.

I first wrote few lines on the paper with ruling pen and ink. After that I started to cut my words out with x-acto knife. One week later – I had one BFK Rives sheet ready and my arm was done and it was not very nice looking, marks are done with ruling pen, they should be smooth and nice and mine was more rough/angular edges !
I thought that there is no way I can cut 20 sheets for a wedding dress by my hands or I will kill my shoulder. So that is the reason, I started to think, is there any other way to cut paper than by my hand. First I actually did feel quilty for trying something else than do everything by hand. But then, I realized that this is something that people do these days, trying to find new ways for thinking and doing things.
I did look/asked people around and called to this lazer cutting business and I can tell you, he who did answer the phone was strong manly voice and after I told him:
I want to make a wedding dress from paper sheets which are based on ghost story and I first write with ruling pen and ink and I need my text cutted on those papers and and....”

You can imagine, that he propably thought that ”please, DO NOT ever come here, grazy lady” and that he was a bit afraid when we first met in his business. But after we did sit down and talked about it, he realize that I was in my all senses and we could actually do this.

Technique: I wrote selected parts of the story on a paper with ruling pen and black ink. After that, it was digitized (good quality photo, since the paper was so big that it did not fit to scanner), then vectorized and finally cut with a laser machine, which kind of burned the text out. There is 18 sheets of BFK-rives on the dress. Also the acrylic are my text and cutted by laser, exactly the same techique as for the paper.

Me and the lazer cutter, Marko Tuominiemi had to make several trials before we both vere happy for the result. The lazer is very hot, so one time the paper almost burn or my lines vere too thin, paper was extremely breakable after cutted and we broke few sheets etc. But after few months and tonns of trials and we both vere happy. We also tried to cut my text to thin plastic which would have been more solid but I did not like the feel of it, there is more softness in BFK-Rives paper, plastic sheets are too ”cold” in this case.

About the torso, I did got this broken torso from a wedding store for free. I did tread it by modeling paste, a lot of modeling paste and there is part of this ghost text written with stick on the modeling paste.
Because there was so many layers on the text, I wanted to make a feeling of breathtaking dress, where all of these feelings/ghosts and thoughts can go through, I tried to feel the levels between these magical worlds:
there is a wedding, which is always magical, in itself, then there is extremely superstition bride and ghost (uninvited quest), authors own sisters wedding and not to mention, my own wedding in that venye and so many levels…

I was Exhibiting my Gate Crasher at Letter California Style-conference on February 2017,
these pics are from there. Thank you Joan Bechtel for sending these.
Gate Crasher was also in the cover of Finnish Calligraphy magazine Sulkanen
Gate Crasher was on the Cover of Letter Arts Review -magazine and inside, there was a story about it.
Thank you for stopping by, if you want to know more,
check my page and

My book "Happy Lettering with the Right Tools" is available from John Neal The Bookseller, through this link

See you :)

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