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Our Vendemmia by emilysodders Our Vendemmia by emilysodders
I don't typically participate in online contests, but when I saw that this one was partnered by Merrell, a company my husband and I proudly patron as evidenced by our closet, I reconsidered. That, and I was really inspired by the theme prompt. But who wouldn't be?

So...my concept is based on a combination of several memories and imagined moments. The scene is planted in the southwestern corner of New Hampshire, commonly known as "the Monadnock Region" which, as you may have guessed, is named after the popular and picturesque peak, Mt. Monadnock.

Allegedly, Mt. Monadnock is the 2nd most hiked mountain in the world, next to Mt. Fugi. And given the crowds of people I have seen hike up on a perfect, sunny day like the one I created in this scene, I can believe it. In truth, the little clay couple sitting on the peak (representing my husband and I) would be anything but alone in real life. Our solitude is part of the fantasy of this piece. But then again, being in love has its way of making a crowded place feel empty when you are with your beloved. That, and the idea of sculpting hundreds of little people was not appealing. Ha!

There's a lot of significance to this piece other than simply being surrounded by the natural beauty of autumn at a high-altitude.

Vendemmia, the harvest, is represented in this piece in a very metaphoric way. Yes, "Vendemmia" is written in the clouds and the letter "V" is a motif in the shape of the migratory flight formation of the Canada Geese and even the flaps of their wings...but that's where the literal qualities end.

We hike Mt. Monadnock annually, in part to commemorate our marriage. A healthy, happy marriage takes a lot of work, not unlike climbing a mountain. Needless to say, when we reach the top together, it is very rewarding. The great "harvest" is the love and renewal of our commitment to each other. Because that's what gets us through the winters in life. Or just back down the mountain because our legs are sore! A little sappy, perhaps, but that's who we are. That's our Vendemmia.

So, here we are, on the peak of Mt. Monadnock during the peak of fall foliage, watching the Canada Geese fly south for the winter and generally absorbing the fruit of our laborious hike both physically and emotionally. :)

Some special note about the creative process: not everything is how it seems.

The clouds and fall foliage of the forest is made with painted cotton balls- once dried, they hold their shape well, but remain light. And I'm thankful for that lightness, because the clouds are suspended by a very fine, transparent thread. It's strong and secure, but nearly imperceptible, lending to the illusion that the clouds are really floating.

Another surprise: look closely at the mountain. That's not clay or paper mache. That's a deconstructed Merrell hiking boot! No kidding! We are such a frugal couple, we have a hard time throwing away things that could still be of use, like an old pair of Merrells. Interestingly enough, we have the same sized feet, so these Merrells were worn by both of us- just going back to the whole theme of my diorama. As we purchased newer pairs, these became our work-in-the-garden set. Luckily we have others for the same purpose, so I was able to re-purpose these for art! (but I gotta admit, it was hard making the first cut!)

So yeah, that's about it. If you have questions and/or comments about it- I will be happy to reply to all! I had a lot of fun making this!
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:icona-nyul:
a-nyul Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow, those geese sure look better than my cranes. :XD:
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:iconemilysodders:
emilysodders Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
You did a good job- you should be proud of your cranes!
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:icona-nyul:
a-nyul Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you, they are actually better than what I expected. :D
Good luck with the contest! ;)
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:iconemilysodders:
emilysodders Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks! Likewise!
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:icontatsuyabocchan:
tatsuyabocchan Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2012  Professional General Artist
cool, i thought it's smart to use the product. big chance to win. but is it not too expensive too buuy new shoes because you use the old one for contest? how if you not win?
i can not use my shoes ;p but if money does not a problem, it is really great for you :)
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:iconemilysodders:
emilysodders Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks. We already have a couple pairs of newer Merrells- the ones I used for this project were old, beat-up, retired. We aren't wealthy, but one of the few things we have to 'splurge' on are shoes because my husband had a tree land on his right foot several years ago, so his footwear is very important in determining whether or not he gets to keep his foot. When he wears a pair out lightly, he needs new ones. They have some life left in the old ones, and because I wear the same size shoe, I inherit them and wear the rest of the life out of them. So we have this cycle of recycling shoes, particularly Merrells because they offer the kind of support he needs to not be in pain all day. So could we use a new pair from the Vendemmia collection? Certainly! The money would be used to take care of some dental work and/or paying off one of my student loans. But if I don't win, it's not the end of the world. My art career is growing steadily and the income from that can buy more Merrells and dental work and pay off loans just as well. Thanks for the comment! Hope that answers your questions!
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:icontatsuyabocchan:
tatsuyabocchan Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2012  Professional General Artist
so it's basically not used anymore and when you see this contest, it's like..
"HEY! it's time for the old shoes come from warehouse!!"
haha... good luck then ^^
yours awesome.
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:iconemilysodders:
emilysodders Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Something like that, I guess!
Thanks again! I really appreciate it!
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:icontrustinlies:
Trustinlies Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2012  Student Digital Artist
This is pretty impressive, nice!
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:iconemilysodders:
emilysodders Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks a lot!
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:iconbluerever1e:
blueRever1e Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2012  Hobbyist
It is very creative of you to use a hiking boot. Props! I was wondering about the design on the rock when I fist saw it, I thought it was carved into the clay but apparently not.
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:iconemilysodders:
emilysodders Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks for the props! Certainly thought it would make for that little something extra- but the idea was born out of a desire to not use clay because of how heavy it would be. I was considering that so much weight would wear down the integrity of the box and make shipping pricier (even though DA pays for it, but I'm sure they would appreciate my concern for their finances! lol)

And after an inventory of my art studio for alternative supplies, I stared down at my shoes in a stupor. And that was when I had my stroke of genius, if you'll forgive my self-praise.

Thanks! I'm glad to hear people are being surprised by my unorthodox mountain-making-methods. lol :)
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:iconlou-in-canada:
Lou-in-Canada Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2012   Traditional Artist
Nice! And what a great original idea to be using those hikingboots! :woohoo:
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:iconemilysodders:
emilysodders Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks! Just wondering- were you able to tell they were boots before you read my construction notes (assuming you did) or only afterward, as a surprise? The only two people to see it in person so far are myself and my husband, so it's really hard for us to say whether or not it would be obvious. Fresh eyes have to see it and say if it's obvious or not. And I'm not sure if I mind either way. Just curious! Thanks!
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:iconsinawho:
SinaWho Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2012
Well I'll be honest with you - I would've never suspected those were actually hiking boots you used for the hills until you mentioned it in the description. Seriously I thought that was actually clay - melted, then slashed in each and every direction to sort of achieve that 'mountainous' kind of appearance or something. Then when I read your description, I was like... holy hell that's actually Merrel brand shoes she used. I would have to admit - this is a very creative concept, and it's artists like these that know how to 'play' with the game's theme and bring out their creative minds that would actually win. I wouldn't be surprised at all if this hit the winners list. It's nice.
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:iconemilysodders:
emilysodders Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Gosh, I hope you are right! I poured a lot of time and heart into this labor-of-love, but any one of the prizes would reflect the additional creative measures I went to "play the game" as you said. I want Merrell to see that for me, it was like a big fan accepting a commission from them to create a piece outside of the competition, for their marketing/display/or general enjoyment. Yeah, Merrel fan art, with a personal touch. But on that note- I hope they pick me not just because I used their product, but because I scored highly in every aspect of the judging process. And if 3 others did as well, and more so, then by all means, they deserve it, too. I see some very creative pieces for competition, about 15 or so of them I consider on the same playing field thus far. And I wish them well! But your comment is definitely a boost to my hopes of being among the top 3! Thanks!
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:iconaskarovroman:
AskarovRoman Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2012
Nice angle and realistic use of clue and rubber!
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:iconemilysodders:
emilysodders Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you! Realism is definitely my strong suit- but usually in the 2D world. This put me out of my comfort zone!
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:iconmowito:
Mowito Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Awesome!!!
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:iconemilysodders:
emilysodders Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks! Gotta say: I feel the same way! ;)
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:iconitsmemelody:
ItsMeMelody Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wow! I really love this! The motion of the birds is awesome and the couple is so cute!! Good luck! :#1:
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:iconemilysodders:
emilysodders Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks so much! I'm glad you can appreciate the implied movement of the geese, as that is one of there main purposes as part of the composition- to create movement and keep your eye circling around the diorama! Thanks!
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