In my pottery studio, the Beachfront Pottery, I came across a problem that took me by surprise. For two lines of my creations I envisioned an elongated (about a foot long), horizontally-positioned, glazed ceramic sculpture that is elevated off the pedestal or other display surface. So after making a few of these sculptures, I needed to have a supporting structure to take photographs for submitting the sculptures to juried exhibits.
At first everything looked pretty simple. I bought a spider mount, and adjusted the prongs to fit he grooves and shapes at the bottom of the piece. So, below is the spider mount:
As you can see the prongs are flexible, but still it takes a lot of bending back and forth to approximate the features at the bottom of the sculpture.
So here is the bottom aspect of the ceramic sculpture titled “Out of the Deep, II”.
Because of the very smooth surface of the glazed pottery, and the irregular coursing of the grooves and depressions, the fit between the prongs of the spider mount and the bottom of the sculpture was never too good. However, once I placed the sculpture on top of the prongs, the sculpture settled into a stable position, and I was able to take photos without the danger of the sculpture falling off of the spider mount. Here are two of the photos:
So, the photos are not super attractive, because the prongs of the mount is showing under the piece. But even worse!!! Once the sculpture is in the hand of a curator who is setting up an exhibit, the placement of the sculpture is very tedious, and the sculpture can be dislodged from the support just by bumping into the pedestal on exhibit. So, this was the first time when I looked around for ways to stabilize the sculpture on the support. I brought the piece home from the gallery, and decided to try Velcro to make the sculpture to stay on the spider mount.
All the Velcro materials you see here have a smooth and sticky backing, while the top side is either the Velcro fibers, or the hooks. The Velcro sticks to the sculpture very well, but the prongs were slowly letting go of the Velcro stuck to them. I added more sticky tape to reinforce the Velcro to the prongs, and then pressed the Velcroed part of the sculpture onto the Velcroed prongs. There was a lot more stability to that arrangement, but after about ten days in the gallery, the two Velcro surfaces separated enough (I guess the hooks pulled out of the fibers) that the two pound weight of the sculpture made the sculpture slide off the prongs.
At that point I knew I had to come up with something much better for the “Out of the Deep” series, but also for the “Ancient Shark” series as well. Below is a picture of Ancient Shark on those infamous prongs without the Velcro treatment.
And, if that’s not enough, here is an “Ancient Whale” ceramic sculpture on prongs.
The conclusion of Part 1 of the blog is that a spider mount is not a good choice when trying to stably support a two-pound sculpture that has a slippery, shiny surface. My search for a lot more stable, and also an esthetically more pleasing support structure will continue in Part 2.