I created the tiny image using watercolor enamels, a method of painting with finely ground glass and then firing it with a torch. The heat fuses the "paint" to the metal, making it permanent. The miniature painting depicts an enormous dust cloud that threatens a stark horizon. In the fireground, telephone poles cast odd shadows.
For the setting of this piece, I wanted to create proportions that are a little strange and unsettling, much like the surreal lighting and giant plume of dust depicted in the scene. I fabricated an extra deep bezel which rests upon a minimal square shank, and set the enamel atop a step within the bezel. I also installed a hidden rattle inside the bezel so it makes a sound like windblown granules when it moves; the idea of this made me smile – like putting an ear to a seashell to listen for looming disaster rather than the sea.
This piece is part of my Tiny Catastrophes series, a collection of limited edition, one-of-a-kind memento mori pieces that explore the fragility of life and our desire to prevent, explain, and control the uncontrollable.