making a prototype and a video

Mary Shindell with her prototype in hand.

 prototype  n.1.
An original type, form, or instance serving as a basis or standard for later stages.


Mary’s stuff – on top of work table.

Today the plan is to  build a prototype and figure out how to stabilize the form. There’s a lot of technical stuff to yet work out, Mary says after introducing me to her assistant – Pere.  It’s the start of building Mary’s 3D forms.

Mary uses words like LED and high-lumen count. She talks about optical fiber being soft and flexible, and emitting light from the side, see the line, she says, as she cups the fiber in her hand. The other fiber she notes is stiffer and emits light off the ends. She talks about wattage and voltage. At one point she explains to Pere how she got a measurement by  multiplying pi by 2.5.

What do you call yourself Mary? I ask – Are you still a drawer?
Yes! Always.
A printmaker?
Yes, a computer generated print – maker.

She pauses and states – I’m a multi-media artist, and right now I feel the momentum in my work is in the installation. 

I take photos and at one point it feels right to shoot film footage. There’s lots of activity. Because filming was not in the plan, I don’t have a microphone with me. Better quality sound is not an option.  I think to dub other sound into this, but in the end, I don’t.

Truth is, while I’m asking lots of questions, I am in fact removed from activity between Mary and her assistant. So keep in mind while you watch the video – observation, in silence – feels right. When I really want to listen and hear what they are saying, I mostly notice the many sounds inside the studio.  Note how noisy the video gets at certain points.

The studio belongs to artist Mitch Fry. Mitch and Ray (his assistant) are talking, cutting and drilling, a short distance away.  Maybe I hear a compressor and now and again, the traffic. So while you look at the video and you can’t hear Mary talking and you’re only getting bits of what they say, know that is also true for me. It’s real.

Mary will return to her drawing and in time a colorful, desert/olive-green print will go inside what is now only the white, paper-lined tube seen here.

Enjoy the process.  I did.

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