Sunday, February 12, 2017

Installation of IGA commission

At 6 am on Thursday morning, Barry and I met Sean from Quality Choice Signs at the doors of IGA in town, just as they opened, so that he could install the lettering work for the piece of art above the cash registers there.

As part of the 2104 renovation, this artwork had been designed by Noela Mills, and installed by Edith Ann and her team. Rob, the owner told me so many people loved it, but didn't really know what it was about, and he asked me to do a storyboard for the work; like I had done for the other artworks in the shop.

His preference this time however, was for a line of words ON the artwork, not a board that was separate to it.

So I had to do a lot of thinking about how to achieve that - what would be the best medium to get words on to composite aluminium? How large could the lettering be? what style might add to the work not detract from it?

The length required was just over 8metres, so I decided I wouldn't try to do calligraphy that went for 8 or so metres; but I would choose a font that I thought supported the work.

I offered Ron and Sam several options and they chose this one; a font that looks hand-drawn without being too stylised, yet is still easy to read.

I went to work trying to determine how to get the lettering into the files that the signwriters would need;   and making sure I had it all at the right length. I posted about my old fashioned approach here.

With the usual stresses and hassles of trying to get work upscaled and commercialised, it was with fear and trepidation that I showed up on Thursday, hoping against hope that I had chosen the right colour, the right size, the right layout etc.

By 10 past 6 Sean had laid out the first bit. I had planned for the baseline to be 200mm from the bottom as I recalled that the Christmas decorations and wreaths impinged on the work a bit; however when he placed it at that height, the words looked like they were floating in the middle of the work and didn't belong; so we dropped it down 50mm where it settled nicely, and should still be seen at Christmas.

It is quite a long piece of work...

When we got to the end, we were faced with a dilemma. Storage of some products hid the end of the artwork. There was no point moving the boxes, putting the lettering up and then replacing the boxes, so we had to modify the layout of the attribution (the title and the artist). But our solution works I think.

Here I am trying to explain how I want it to look. Sean was a designer and understood it all so beautifully; was flexible, and happy to work to make it look the best it could.

The solution (and the problem).

And then there was a little happy clap. Can you see that there is a hole in the floor just in the bottom right? We were working around the builders who had to replace a floorboard; folk coming in to buy things had to run an obstacle course for a bit!

The amount of lighting in a supermarket is amazing.  The words are there, but not there, depending on how you look at it and from where. But not in an irritating way, just in an interesting way.

A few closeups.

 Sean preparing, and revealing, the final (first) word - a job well done!

A pano shot attempting to get the whole work in (no easy task).

That is the final commission completed and it feels amazing. Now to focus on teaching in Toowoomba next weekend and making some of my own work.


  1. How great to think that someone will read your words and see your work every single day. The lettering has the look of sandblasted glass to it.
    What an enlightened supermarket owner you have there. Good man to commission this from local artists!

    1. We are so fortunate that the supermarket reflects the community - the place and the artists. They are tremendous folk and we love that they get art!

  2. Replies
    1. A bog load off with this one Mo...go well.

  3. Beautiful! Like the commenter above, it seems the owner is really good about local...local produce for local people and even local art from local artists for them.
    It will be interesting to hear the comments.
    Sandy in the UK

    1. Oh yes, Sandy they are fully into local products (the price tags are colour coded to show you local producers) and they love having local artists' work throughout the store and outside as well. So gorgeous when businesses get placemaking art!

  4. that looks fantastic, Fiona! how wonderful. Looking forward to seeing it when we get back!

    1. Yes, a yee ha moment Kerry! It is cooler today so hopefully things can recover a wee bit - see you when you're back!

  5. Replies
    1. Thanks C - it's nice that it supports the work, doesn't detract I think...

  6. This is a really beautiful piece!


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