Last month I was invited to do a small bathtub-grotto demonstration at the Antique Spectacular show in Cedar Falls, Iowa. It was a 3 day event. I spent some time exploring the antiques in addition to working on the tub, and I scored some cool Iowa-themed items.
This was my first time doing this live and in front of people which was an interesting experience that came with it's own challenges (mortar dries quickly when you're chatting!). Next time I'll be sure to wrangle some dedicated assistants. The entire week prior to the show - usually last minute preparation crunch time - I found myself suddenly preoccupied with taking an unexpected college course in construction to prepare for my next job in stained glass restoration - completely exciting opportunity but timing was definitely a challenge to prepare properly for this event.
Despite those challenges I did have many enlightening and informative conversations- it was encouraging to meet other artists who were supportive of what I am trying to do. Lots of people asked me what material I use to adhere the items to the bathtubs- hopefully to make their own!- I am using Polymer Modified Mortar which I buy at Menards.
note: this grotto is not finished!
I did a PechaKucha presentation about my project a few months ago called "Rock Solid Dreams". If you aren't familiar with PechaKucha, it is basically a presentation format that restricts you to twenty slides and 20 seconds to talk about each side. It's amazing how it forces you to be concise! I did this presentation before I knew where the bathtubs were going to go-I was actually feeling a little lost about the project at the time, but I'm so glad I went ahead with the presentation because I made some important connections there. If you're curious about the origins and inspiration for this project I explain it all here. Some of the slides are missing from the middle here unfortunately but they do come back.
Traditionally one would bury a bathtub halfway into the ground before transforming it into a shrine and it would stay in same location permanently. Since our bathtubs grottoes will be moving to a second location after they are transformed, we are building sturdy wooden stands for the tubs so they can be moved without any major excavation. Thankfully I found a local woodworker, Tim Hitzler of Dubuque Reclaimed Woodworks, who was ready to take on the task of building wooden standsto help with the project. On New Years Day my friend Jeff Downs lopped off the end of the first bathtub to make it easier to install onto the wooden base. I took a time-lapse of the bathtub chop.