Fred Swan | The River of Souls

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sold out

Fred Swan | The River of Souls

150.00

When you walk through the great hall of the Ford Building, the present and the past merge; one hundred and three years of human story, history, and endeavor are present.

The “River of Souls,” the five bent-wood, rice paper and encaustic vessels were imagined as a metaphor of the human spirit that has both occupied and continue to sail through this historic structure.  

The vessels, their bowsprits directed against the main flow of physical movement into and through the building, represent the never-ending circle of the creative and loving capacity of our species, those qualities that continue to provide us with hope.   The ability to imagine, to create, to both give and receive love, to feel and provide compassion, and to provide and acknowledge acceptance, drift untethered across the waters of our lives and in potential of all of our hearts.

The Process

The wood for the boat frames was soaked in troughs of rain water for two weeks and then bent and dried around templates.  It was then joined together with epoxy and fiberglass.  On stormy days, the Masa paper was soaked in the rain while lying in sheets across my deck.  The rain-soaked paper - a piece at a time - was then laid over individual portions of the frame and then shrunk with a heat gun.  Once dry, cold wax mixed with white pigment was brushed over parts of the paper to resist the encaustic medium (beeswax and resin) that followed. Several holes were accidently torn in the boats and had to be totally redone after the artist recovered from throwing himself on the floor – but – having a large photograph of his old dog Lucky on the wall to oversee his work– provided the artist with a spiritual restraint that prevented no boat being harmed by foul language.

The boats weigh 3 ½ pounds each, are not toys, but could be used as hanging ceiling pieces.  The lights in the boats must be considered temporary as I have only one remote to control them.  The internal light can be turned on manually.  The bowsprit light needs a remote and therefore would have to be fitted with some alternative.  (see Fred or email him if you need clarification: fswan@q.com)  150.00 each

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