Aside from being thrilled to be doing this project for the Randall's Island Sports Foundation, here is my official bio: Laura Kaufman has exhibited in New York, Rhode Island, Texas and Washington, and was a 2011 participant in the Bronx Museum's Artist in the Marketplace (AIM) program. She also exhibited in the first AIM Biennial in 2011. Kaufman was born in Pittsburgh and raised in the suburbs of Chicago and Houston. After earning her BA from Vassar College, she received the Weitzel-Barber Art Travel Prize, which afforded her the opportunity to photograph the temples and gardens of Kyoto. After then going on to live and teach in northern Japan, Kaufman retuned to the US to pursue her MFA in Sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design, where she was awarded the Sitings Installation at RISD Museum. After RISD, she served as the Head of School and Teacher Programs at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, where the Connecticut Art Education Association named her Museum Educator of the Year in 2008. She currently works from her studio in Beacon, New York.
Meeting with Mike Karmody of Stone Soup Concrete, Easthampton, MA
Mike must be the Wizard of Concrete. He has serious skills when it comes to coaxing the best out of the material and was a complete joy to chat with about the ideas and the technical aspects of Meters To The Center. I arrived at the shop and immediately noticed a sculpture of the word "Fear." It caught my eye because the skills needed to pull a clean cast of an extruded typeface from a tight mold is exactly what my numbers will require. Among the pervasive ingenuity there, I spotted a bucket drying rack that Marcel Duchamp would be proud to know. I was in the right place. Mike and his team make lots of concrete counters, each with unique molds and mixes, however, another part of his business includes fabricating artist projects. I am eager to get some numbers back from him and hope to be able to move forward.
Figuring out the Install
Since my project is all cast concrete, I need to be sure of the installation process before I begin production. After speaking with several architects and designers, I finally hit on a solution by hooking up with Sarah Schkeeps, of Hank’s Photographic Services in Mount Vernon. Sarah is multi-talented and lends her architecture training to Hank’s high-end operation by day and gives brilliant ideas to sculptors like me by night. I came with questions about how to do an install in the rocky soil of Randall’s Island that would not require pouring lots of footings and that would keep weight down (thereby keeping labor down). She turned me onto a pervious concrete that seems like it could very well save the day. We also came to the conclustion that the commas should be shorter, relieving their vulnerability. The real gem of the meeting was a fantastic modular plan that would forgo onsite mixing and drilling and that would deinstall without destroying any part of the sculpture. It will still require digging a long, 6 inch trench for each number, but that seems less daunting than drilling and filling 30+ holes on the spot. Thank you, Sarah!