During my residency, I had access to using a water jet machine. While I was spending my time focusing on my painting, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to use this piece of machinery for free. I had the idea to create a wall of fortune cookies. But not just any kind of fortune… a bad fortune.
So it began with a digital sketch of a fortune cookie. Joe Richey, one of the founders of Prairie Center of the Arts helped me with this project. He helped me with the digital sketch and programmed it into the Waterjet.
I bought Luan, a type of plywood to use for my cookies. Here is a close up of the machine cutting out the cookies. We programmed 36 cookies per sheet of Luan. And after an hour of cutting, I had approximately 150 cookies!
The waterjet machine uses a high pressured water system to cut out programmed shapes. Granite grit is also in the water to help cut the material.
As Joe pulled the cookies off of the machine bed, he washed off the grit and passed them to me. I used an air compressor to rapidly dry the cookies. Leaving them wet would cause the glue in the wood to separate.
Cutting the cookies was the easy part. After that, I sanded and stained each cookie 3 times. I also used poly-acrylic top coat to give them a nice finish.
The eyes are safety eyes which are commonly used when knitting animals. I cleared out the 4 pack 15mm size eyes from 5 different Joann Fabrics! After drilling all of the holes for the eyes, I set the eyes for each cookie. They all have different wood grain, coloring and differently placed eyes, so each fortune cookie is unique.
I installed the piece title, The Bad Fortune Cookie, at Altered Esthetics’ for the Food Fight show which takes place during the month of November 2011. Took me two and a half hours to get the piece up. Here are a few pictures of the installation process….one cookie at a time. They stick to the wall with museum tack, so they can be removed as people purchase a bad fortune.
My intention for the piece is humor. I wanted to play off the traditional fortune cookie. Instead of the generic positive statement of good luck, I twisted the concept of fortune to be bad. And by bad I mean funny, witty, sarcastic and even mean. I made each of the bad fortunes up myself too!
Each cookie is only $10; participants willing to interact with my piece will pay for and choose a cookie right off the wall during the entire exhibition. All of the fortunes are concealed until the purchaser pulls it out from out the back. By the end of the show, hopefully my nice evenly spaced wall of cookies is a bit sparser as people take home their art!
If you would like your own fortune cookie, head to Altered Esthetics during the month of November to see the piece installed at 1224 Quincy St NE Minneapolis, MN 55413 or feel free to contact me!