Monday, March 4, 2013

Kira Nehmer: Help from Home

Blog 6- March 3

Since I wrote last week, we’ve been very busy at the festival.  My colleague, Sandy and I painted the main floor for The Unfortunates.  The lead scenic has been working on these beautifully textured concrete columns and other people in the shop have been working on smaller projects, mostly signs.  As a group, we were able to finish the tile floor that I wrote about last week.  At the end of the week, Sandy and I were back out at the warehouse laying out the next drop for the show, a 65’ x 18’ translucent drop.  
Floor Process
The floor that Sandy and I painted is a charred wood floor.  We used a process that I’ve used a lot over the years- I’ve used this process three times just this season at Milwaukee Rep.  We used the wood’s natural texture and color, just enhancing what was already there with a series of glazes over the top.  We added in the charring around the edges, also with washes, and then took sandpaper to some higher traffic areas to make the floor look more weathered.  
While Sandy and I were doing the floor, Pat has been texturing and painting all of the concrete columns in the show.  I was slightly disappointed not to be around while he was doing the whole process, because I am especially interested in textures.  I’ve used a lot of different products to achieve different textures, but I’ve never used what he was using: a cement-like product, cutting it with glue and water to the desired consistency.  He applied the mixture with a trowel.  He made some extra holes or areas where paint and plaster is peeling by putting craft paper underneath the texture compound and peeling it up once dried.  The resulting texture looks fantastic.  The columns practically paint themselves after such a thorough texturing.  These columns in particular are fairly aged, and all of the texture allows the paint to settle in cracks, making it look that much more dimensional and aged.  It looks really great!

On Friday Sandy and I laid out the translucent drop and started starching it.  We had a few questions about the starching: neither of us could remember the recipe off the top of our heads and we needed to make the starch in smaller batches because of available burners and buckets out at the warehouse.  The artisan exchange is working well, because I called the Milwaukee Rep’s shop and picked Jim’s brain, as he’s done countless translucent drops over the years.  He was able to answer all of our questions and we were able to get the drop starched before the end of the day.  We have a nice blank canvas to look forward to on Monday morning! 

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