Reliquary Project: The Heart

Tuesday was the sculpture covering day. What does that mean? That refers to utilizing hog gut to cover a wire structure. Hog/pig gut is amazing to work with. It can be stretched over a form to create a semi transparent covering when dried.  Color can be applied using inks or  watercolors. The intestines are packed in salt for home sausage making. It was purchased it online and a single pack could create yards of sausage! Kind of makes me ill thinking about it.

Anyway, I wash off the salt and soak the guts in fresh water (dumping and refilling a few times over six hours). Next you grab an end of the intestine, insert a finger and start cutting it open. The gut will not want to adhere to the wire structure.  With patience and additional sections of split gut, things will start moving along. It takes a fair amount of fiddling to get what you want. Overlapping of gut is desired because it will want to separate as it dries. Like any new material, it just takes time to learn how it works.

Here are the initial images from just after finishing the covering.

gut heart1

gut heart2

gut heart3

Here is the heart after 12+ hrs of drying. It will change more before it’s finished.

One effect that I find pleasing is the rusting of the annealed wire. Within 2-3 hrs rust starts to form where it comes in contact with the salty gut. If you don’t like this effect, one might try a different wire.

gut heart4

gut heart5

caged heart

There is a huge difference between the raw wood and stained finish. It turned out much MUCH darker than I had originally wanted. Should have gone with my first thoughts on what type of stain to purchase. It’s all a learning experience!

I have posted previous workshop images/process. Please check under the Art category for Buggy Wire Playday and Artfest 2009.

Published by paperstew

I'm an artist in Albany Oregon focusing on paper and natural objects for inspiration.

2 thoughts on “Reliquary Project: The Heart

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