It sits empty now. But, a month ago, that large, weathered wooden box served as my local art supply store.
It has been almost 4 months since my employer, Texas Design Interests, LLC, moved into its newly constructed headquarters. The contractors have completed the finishing touches on the third floor(our office), while the second floor is being prepared for future business tenants. As the various crews wrap up their work, the remaining construction materials are cast into the contractor’s makeshift dumpster.
For several weeks, my coworkers and I endured disruptive, high-decibel noises and disconcerting vibrations that emanated from the second floor during final construction. I also watched from the third floor window as workers tossed building scraps into the dumpster until it overflowed. Eventually, they began carelessly heaping material against the sides which soon created a hazardous pile that wrapped around the entire box. After a week or so, that huge pile became enough of an eye sore that the property owners would complain. It would all disappear soon after.
This process repeated week after week until, one day, something in that dumpster caught my attention. It appeared to be several large, evenly cut wood boards. Upon closer inspection, I discovered that they were leftover cuts of 3/4 inch, 7-ply maple plywood. Each was roughly 12 inches wide and varied in lengths from 4 to 8 feet. Despite being exposed to moisture and fluctuating temperatures, the material was in pretty good shape. There was some aggressive surface mold on a few pieces, yet they were thick enough to resist warping in the elements. After getting permission from the head contractor, I gathered my new substrates and hurried them back to my studio.
Once in the studio, I carefully evaluated each piece of wood and decided that every piece would be useful. I sawed them down to 12″, 24″ and 48″ lengths before giving them a rigorous power-sanding on all sides – including the edges. On some pieces, the mold was aggressive enough to penetrate the veneer and could not be sanded away. Those “ugly” pieces will be sealed for longevity then coated with gesso. The others will be sealed before I apply medium directly to the surface allowing the wood grain to show through the artwork.
Work has already begun on my “found wood” boards. This will be an intrigueing project. I look forward to seeing the results.