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Mud Woman Continues

(January 27, 2011): We returned to Denver yesterday to begin working with Athena’s sister Roxanne on her sculpture piece “Mud Woman Rolls On.” Our presence coincides with the opening of the Native American exhibit in the old wing of the Denver Art Museum. Gala dinner tomorrow with a public opening on Sunday from 12 to 5 pm. So if you’re in the Denver area, come see us on Sunday on the 3rd floor of the old museum.

I’m going to try something new this time, given my access to the camera on the iPhone 4, let’s see if I can post photos over the next few days without waiting until we return phone. If I get my scene together perhaps I can even upload photos and video from my phone while we’re working during the day via an app for mobile blogging

I was going to post a drawing of what the final sculpture will look like, but I decided against it. Thought it would be more interesting if you watch the piece unfold month by month on the blog. It’s scheduled to be completed by the early part of September. With that I’ll keep the dialogue to the minimum and rely on the photos.

Today’s work that you see below is using what are called straw wattles, typically used to control soil erosion, as the core of the sculpture. For us, it’s picking up on the work we did last year in the Arizona State University Ceramic Research Center. And somewhat it’s an extension of techniques we have evolved working with straw bales and clay plasters.

Arriving the Denver Airport with its tent-like roof.

Roxanne became fascinated with our waitress at the hotel restaurant, told her how beautiful she was and that led to a photo. Lisa, from St Petersburg, Russia, had come to Denver to explore the United States. After an extended stay, she’s ready to go back home, describing it as a beautiful city full or art and culture.

We began our day with a platform to support the sculpture and a stack of the straw wattles.

The first coil was attached to the sculpture base, the second tied to it with twine.

Sewing the coils continued along with staking them together with sharpened wood dowels.


The end of the day, 7 to 8 layers of wattles. More tomorrow.

Read the original post on The Canelo Chronicles.

beautystrawbale Bill and Athena Steen are the authors of, most recently, The Beauty of Straw Bale Homes.

Odds and Ends from Home

Here’s a few items that I thought I’d share with you, mostly this post was driven by people requesting the recipe for the “coctel de nopalitos” or in English, prickly pear pad salad with a lot of juice.  So I thought instead of emailing it out repeatedly why not do it once and for all […] Read More..

Drywall Plaster Notes from Denver

For those who are interested here are some notes about the plaster we applied to the drywall panels behind the sculpture. The museum mounted the panels for us leaving ¼ inch depth from the surrounding frame. I wanted to do this because we frequently get questions about plastering over drywall or similar surfaces. All to […] Read More..

Mud Woman Continues – Part 2

So much for trying to post photos on a daily basis while working in Denver. I knew it wasn’t likely, but I thought I would try. As it turned out, after my initial post reality took over. On days 2, 3 and 4 we worked til closing, rushed back to the hotel for a quick […] Read More..

Mud Woman Begins to Roll

Funny where the world takes you at times. A desire to upload this blog before going to Mexico tomorrow and trouble with the internet at home took me to none other than McDonalds in Sierra Vista, Arizona. Clearly it is not someplace I frequent, but the WiFi is free and the coffee not too bad. […] Read More..

Sieben Linden Ecovillage of Germany

Last Summer (09), while traveling from Denmark to our next workshop in Slovakia, we were given a tornado-like tour of the well-known German ecovillage, Sieben Linden that is located in the Altmark region of former East Germany. We were escorted/driven there by German architect Dirk Scharmer, who has designed numerous straw bale buildings, as well […] Read More..