Experimenting with different materials and techniques and their combinations has been a longstanding fascination. It is in the process of working through an idea and relying on disparate ideas along the way that bring together a painting or sculpture. One of the most active parts is in the development of the idea, whether drawing by hand or a CAD program. Integrating parts helps strip away and tone down any extraneous components.

Using my own inventive wax and blowtorch process to draw on large roofing sheets of copper led to teaching myself to weld from YouTube. The chosen YouTubers were carefully vetted over time with a few mishaps. It is the mishaps that are usually the most informative. Although classically educated as a Painter and Printmaker, it is fun to learn from many different possibilities online. Working in copper, aluminum, iron, lost wax cast bronze and hot rolled steel has produced welded, laser cut, poured and cast pieces. One large work, Deconstructing Gutenberg, is permanently installed outdoors of the Phillip Johnson Cathedral of Hope Interfaith Peace Chapel in Dallas, Texas.

More recently, my work has involved the use of concrete shaped over chicken wire macquettes for large outdoor sculpture. Concrete is a newfound exploration, and its qualities continue to surprise. Molding, shaping, drying, and engraving concrete makes for a fast paced and exciting process which best suits my nature. Images to follow as the learning curve reaches a higher apex in shape and form. The adventure of learning new techniques and materials has always brought the most joy to my practice. Also, installing sculpture with earthly elements intertwines manmade work with the natural world and the new concrete works will continue to be completed as part of a soft and hardscape.

Stripping away any erroneous parts is essential and stems from a long lineage of the study of Japanese landscaping, Architecture, and the power of minimalism with Nature. This reductive approach contributes to appreciating the simplicity of everyday life and the details that lie within the works material, color, shape, and form.

Melissa Turner Drumm