Leah Poller: Inspiration Behind SoaringBeds

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If you’re like most people, chances are you begin every day of your life waking up in bed. In fact, it’s such a routine part of your life that you probably never even give it much thought. Artists can often find beauty or something special or interesting in everyday objects. Thinking about things in cool and different ways is something that artists seem to do all of the time. It’s part of what it means when people say that artists actually see the world through “artist’s eyes.” Artist Leah Poller came up with the idea for The One Hundred and One Bed Collection… you guessed it… when she was in bed. Leah is a sculptor and she injured herself in her studio while moving some really heavy sculptures. Her injury required a long stay in bed where she was unable to work on large sculptures. One day, she had the inspiration to create a series of miniature sculptures that she could work on from her bed. This helped her to be not so bored. Leah thought of a famous book by artist Max Ernst called 101 Heads. She made up a rhyme by changing the title to 101 Beds. Within minutes, using plays on words, puns, clichés and rhymes, she came up with a list of ten beds such as Bed of Roses, Ocean Bed, Bed time Snack and Water Bed.                 Brass is a metal that is used to make bed frames. Here, artist Leah Poller uses it to make a play on words. The brass in her bed are tubas, nicknamed “brass” because they are made out of metal. Notice that the blanket is a piece of sheet music decorated with musical notes. Leah chose to make her beds out of bronze. “Bronze is a noble material. Our disposable society is not always interested in things that last. But bronze is a material that will last forever.” Leah uses a lost wax technique of casting bronze which means that she first builds the entire sculpture out of wax. Then, she pours molten bronze into the wax cast which is “lost” as the burning hot bronze melts it away. Leah then removes the object from the mold and cools it off,  grinds and polishes all the rough spots using a lot of grinders and drills to make each sculpture smooth. Then she adds acids and pigments to color the sculpture and uses a blowtorch to finish the process. Kids, don’t try this in the hospital or at home!  After seeing these really different sculptures, we know that you will never look at a bed in quite the same way!

                

Draw a SoaringBed: Remember that Artist Leah Poller came up with the idea for making bed sculptures when she was in bed. Think about an imaginary bed. It can be what ever you want draw—a rocket ship bed, dinosaur bed or bed made of rocks. Go to the SoaringBeds activity to get started.