The Making of Junebug 2013

The Spirit of the ArtFest…There’s a Little JUNEBUG Inside Everyone.
I feel like the 2013 Junebug Sculpture needs to be ‘wrapped’ in a few words of explanation. I really wanted to work on a large, free-standing all ceramic sculpture because it is something I have never done, and I believe the spirit of the ArtFest is meant to call forth that kind of RISK. As an artist, I see that as essential to the journey; to remain with what is safe is not what art is about. And so aspects of the sculpture ‘work’ and others are surely less successful…but I knew that would be the case going into the project. I wanted the sculpture to stand as a symbol of risk and courage in addition to all else. Secondly, it’s titled “The Spirit of the ArtFest…There’s a Little JUNEBUG Inside Everyone.” That is, the spirit of art and risk and creativity…everyone has it and the ArtFest is an opportunity to celebrate that, rejoice in that….His body is rather awkward…but so is mine!…his face is gentle and his stance welcoming. The open center is detailed, colorful and bright…the spark of the ARTS..I was delighted to see that most little children at the event seemed to “get it” right away and posed dancing with it and hugging it and were drawn in to examine the interior. I knew it would be controversial not do create an image of ‘a bug’…but I further wanted to open the possibilities for future sculptors in their imaging the ARTFEST. — Linda Vonderschmidt-LaStella
By Linda Vonderschmidt-LaStella – At the beginning of 2013, I began creating small models of ideas. I knew I wanted a human figure; I knew I wanted the torso open. The ‘big feet’ became a feature, but other parts of the original concept evolved differently…
In late March, Earthsongs received a delivery of 300 lbs of sculpture clay and the actual fabrication bega.

One major concern about the design the large open space in the torso. Since that was the focus, I was really interested to have that area retain its shape as I sculpted and not slump in the firing.

All sorts of stray ‘studio objects’ supported it in the early stages of building. Then, I included clay supports across the top to help it safely get through the firing.
Because the sections are so large and thick, I decided to do a ‘once through’… glaze the raw clay and fire the sections immediately to final temperature.

The feet of course, were the first to ‘jump in’…and Nino, the first to pull them out’!
Post-firing Details
Once all the sections were fired…whew!…additional details were added: The glass mosaic was added to the opening in the torso: Studio Assistant Sevde Sahain and Deb Kmetz were essential in that.
The ‘Bug’ himself got some mirrors and ‘bling’ along with his copper antennae, and then was secured to the interior of the torso.
Finally, with the help of Steve from Metuchen DPW and Steve on the maintenance staff of Metuchen Savings Bank, two pavers were removed and rebar, two pieces of steel rod, were buried several feet into the soil to provide structural soundness to the sculpture.
Each of the central five central pieces were slipped over those and with Nino’s skill joined the silicone. On each hand and arm was epoxied in place with pvc pipe and two-part epoxy PC7. A ‘handle’ of cord was then created to hold each in place until it dried.
Again, it was Nino’s skill with cords and knots that made that a reality. Finally the head was added, secured with two pipes and siliconed to the torso neck. The 2013 Junebug Sculpture was ready for its unveiling!


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