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Monumental Collaborative Puzzle Prints

PUZZLE PROJECT #2: "The Great Baren Cairn" A collaboration by its members


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PROJECT DIARY (Index) - Go to 02-06/2008 - Go to 2006-2007

The project diary continues HERE 2008

Here we go, I finally get to get on with the printing!
First and foremost, a huge THANK YOU to the folks at Graphic Chemical for their generous discount of the 600 sheets of Stonehenge Cream, upon which the Baren Cairn will be inked and pressed.


Below is the 2006-2007 Progress Diary

Eight blocks left to come, many are promised and only one possible MIA. We're getting close!!

Only 16 stragglers! Send them, please...get carving. Thank you thank you.

Quick update, so far 47 blocks received and 32 to go. If you think about it for a moment, it's a miracle this kind of project gets done at all, hey? I am excited to see all the blocks stacking up. Don't forget to send me collophon information of some kind through this page:
IMPORTANT!!! EVERYONE PLEASE submit your print details HERE

At the bottom of this page is the list of participants. Those in BOLD are off the hook.

20 blocks received! Excellent progress!

15 blocks received. Reminder, deadline May 1st
Address to send block and $ (suggested contribution $12.00+ for mailing back, paper, ink)
Maria Arango
2544 Casey Drive
Las Vegas NV 89120

IMPORTANT!!! EVERYONE PLEASE submit your print details HERE

Update to all participants.

11 blocks received so far! Thank you all and remember that the deadline is only 4 months away. Let's get to carving the little blocks and send them back to me.

Update to all participants. CAIRN FAQs

Q1. Can I proof my block?
A. Yes, blocks can be proofed. Feel free to proof with water based, oil
based or any material other than road tar, as I need the block
perfectly CLEAN returned to me. Sorry, I didn't mean to raise my voice when
I said CLEAN. Try to avoid submerging the block in the dish water for
prolonged periods of time as that will probably warp it--Translation: clean
with minimum of flowing liquids so as to not disturb the height of the block
by expanding and shrinking.

Q2. Do I have to consider the overall design?
A. Nope, your block is yours to do with as you wish. Think of the project as
a collage, not an overall design for you to fit to. The beauty of these
puzzles is that everyone does their own thing and the overall design brings
all the pieces together, much like a collage. Don't worry about your

Q3. Does the arrow mean anything important?
A. The drawn arrow on the back of your block points to the sky above the
cairn. You may toss your rock to land whichever way you want it, even upside
down. I think different orientations of the pieces will lend interest to the
cairn. So if you got a vertically oriented block and you have the perfect
horizontal design, go for it.

Q4. I've only cut linoleum or wimpy woods like shina before, what can I do
to make my block easier to carve?
A. Give your block a light coating of mineral (baby oil) or linseed oil.
Listen to the wood go: glu glu glu, aaaahhhhh...then proceed with carving.
Your knives will glide into the cherrywood like skaters on ice, or something
like that. (No more wine for me before posting, I promise).

So far that's about all the questions that more than one of you have asked.

Enjoy the ride! Thanks for playing everyone.

Wood is cut, map is made, and the blocks have been mailed!
Participants will receive instructions with their block and now my job is done until I get the blocks back. Remember the deadline, May 1st, 2007. Feel free to email me anytime if there are questions or concerns. Certainly if you do not receive your block by mid-September, please email me and will try to track it down. Good luck with your design and thanks for playing!

A map of the complete project can be found on this pages, can you find your block?:


Pictures below show my "mailing room" with envelopes, "maps" of the Cairn image, hand-outs with instructions and labels with participants addresses. Not very exciting at this point, but when all the envelopes are filled and gone, that's exciting!

After a slight delay having to do with a post-surgical dog (who still can't walk) and other assorted disasters, I finally caught up with the fun stuff. Some pictures to update the project follow.
1. The WOOD, three cherry plywood planks (21.5 x 29.5 inches each), freshly cut to Maria-press size and sanded lovingly. They sit (stand? lie?) on what I call a desk-extender, a 4 x 7 foot slab of chipboard and formica. It's a great way to enlarge your working area without getting huge furniture. If space is limited for other activities (gasp! other than art?) the slab can be removed and stacked against a wall until needed again. The formica makes cleaning a snap!

Notice my "models" on the left of the wood; they are ready to pose for me.
Wood for Cairn

2. Interesting problem! How to fit exactly 79 pieces onto a cairn design without needing another block?! I almost gave up and bought another block, but stubborn as I am, the third try yielded exactly the pieces needed within a nice pile of rocks. You can't see a darned thing in pencil, can pic shows the final design.
Pencil drawing

3. The Cairn has risen! I figure that our pile of rocks has to be alot like Barenforum itself. As a whole, a nice collective of individuals, some in clusters, some loose but nicely wedged inside our group. The entire "pile" stands in perfect balance supported by all and, while potentially some erosion and attrition occurs, as others walk by the cairn the missing rocks are replaced and the cairn stands tall and whole.

Okay, so much for poetic prose, it took me TWO DAYS to design the darned thing so that all 79 rocks would fit and the entire pile would be pleasing, so if anyone quits on me and I'm missing a rock at printing time I will come get you personally with a real rock and bop you upside the head. I'm kidding of course...(or am I?). Anyhow, off to the saber saw.
inked block

4. While it's nice with the foreshortening, here is a rectangular rendition; to get the proper picture I'm standing on tippy toes on a stool on a desk, please don't try this at home (I am a professional).

I'm drawing my design today on freshly sanded cherrywood (plywood). Mind you all that our air conditioner was hit by lightning on Monday and still waiting for the insho'ance company to approve a replacement unit. No a/c, 112 today and humidity in the 30%'s which is virtually sopping wet for our desert climate. I wish we got some rain, actually. Even my fingers are sweating while I type.

But I sanded anyway and now I'm drawing and, barring another power outage, I will cut over the weekend and ship next week. Ah, the sacrifices...truth be told, it's really only 97 inside the house and about 102 in the studio, and other than my oily ink separating and the cats freaking out from the noise of fans blowing all over the house, all is well and proceeding as planned (right).

All of you attending the Summit that are also in the Cairn project, you will receive your blocks then. The rest of you will receive them within four weeks of this writing. I now have to turn my computer off to conserve therms.


The wood is here! The wood is here!
I decided on cherry plywood again, so it will be the same as last time. Have the design all picked out and am now just looking for the first day below 115 F so I can work outside in the sanding and cutting. Those two tasks make too much of a mess in the studio and it is simply too hot outside, but I think we will dip to a chilly 107 later this week (might even get some rain in the process). Anything below 110 and I'm okay outside sanding.
Will keep everyone updated and take pictures. Shouldn't be long before everyone receives their coveted piece.

After a slight delay to allow for art festivals and other distractions, I ordered wood last week. The same delicious cherry plywood that was used for Puzzle#1 will be used for the Cairn. Wood is due here in command central in a couple of days. I will drop all other projects (with the exception of watching the World Cup and the Tour de France) and dedicate myself to the exciting task of sanding and chop-chopping wood into individual stone size pieces.

The design is all set in my mind and I will probably stick to it rather than randomly place the pieces as they come. Allows for a bit of breathing on my part as the framework will be done. Mailing to take place in about two weeks. Anyone needing to update their mailing address, please do so rather quickly. Contact me maria (AT) mariarango (dot) com.

Sign up closed on 4/20/2006. Seventy-nine brave participants awaiting their little chunks of wood.

Each participant designs and carves a piece of a large block. Coordinator prints. Participants get back prints of the whole block.

COORDINATOR (once more the foolish one):
Maria Arango contact:

THE THEME is "The Cairn", as tightly or loosely interpreted as each participant wishes. In my view, Baren is much like a cairn, with all sorts of people coming and going and everyone leaving their little stone as a marker, indication, simple "I was here", bit of guidance, pebble of wisdom, and an infinite etcetera. While the last puzzle sought an answer for the question "What is Baren?" the Cairn theme perhaps states "My contribution to Baren" or "How I fit into Baren" or simply, as a traveler might, "this is my footprint" but that's just three of many possible interpretations.

For much on cairns, here is the ever helpful Wiki entry:

Suggestion: Discussion in the forum may bring up some ideas. Googling "cairn" will definitely bring up some ideas.
Moderator will NOT refuse any design on any basis, we're artists for crying out loud.

Sign up is closed and the project is underway.

May 1st, 2007. Approximately 12 months from completion of sign up. I will print the entire project in the spring/summer of 2007.

Coordinator will purchase as many blocks as required for the size of the project; the Cairn allows for a scroll-format so that this may be a looooong print (my press allows for a width of 22 inches or 34 cm). The blocks will then be sawn in as many pieces as there are participants. The pieces will be irregular and resembling rocks or pebbles which, when pieced together, will form the cairn or stack. The shape of the stack (or stacks?) will remain undetermined until all the sign-ups are received.

Upon sign up completion:
- Each participant receives a pre-cut block, approximately 5" x 7" (12.7 x 17.8 cm) in size and of an irregular shape. There will be a pre-set orientation marked on the back of each block (which way is up).
- Design and carving starts in the privacy of everyone's homes and at whatever pace you should like to work as long as the deadline is met, a generous 12 months after sign up. Don't worry, I will remind everyone periodically. Any carving/gouging/sanding/injuring method may be used on the block; final block will be printed relief.
- Participants mail the blocks to the coordinator at their expense.

After all the blocks are received by the coordinator:
- The individual pieces will be re-assembled and printed in BLACK on WHITE paper, so keep that in mind when designing.
- Any drop-outs will result in a missing puzzle piece, which would be an interesting statement of what someone thinks of their contribution to the Baren Cairn. I will substitute the missing piece with a blank block or a proper substitute participant may enter late in the game. May I remind participants that this substitution process was a real pain last time as new blocks have to be cut in precisely the shape of the missing piece.
- Ink will be oil-based BLACK and I will most likely use a heavy printmaking off-white paper such as BFK buff or similar.
- Each participant gets 2 prints of the entire cairn. A total of:
participants x 2 (+1 archive) prints will be pulled. As the blocks will be glued to a backing due to prior experience, the block will remain with the coordinator and loaned to any exhibitions.
- Web exposure, participants names and process pics will be provided in my website, linked from the Baren site and from this page.
- Participants pay only postage to mail the blocks and return postage to get the prints; those details will be given later. Block, ink, paper, elbow grease and mailing boxes/tubes provided by coordinator. Voluntary contributions toward expenses gladly accepted.

Maria Arango

79 Participants for The Baren Cairn as of 4/21/2006, welcome all to the Cairn!
Participants appearing in BOLD! have already returned their blocks

Full Name City State Country
AEleen Frisch Wallingford CT USA
aimee youmans gustavus alaska usa
Andrew Gott Tarpon Springs FL USA
Angee Lennard Chicago IL US
anna huskey santa cruz CA USA
Arafat Al-Naim Amman Jordan
Barbara Mason Aloha OR USA
Barbara Patera Issaquah Washington USA
Bea Gold Los Angeles CA USA
Benny Alba Oakland CA USA
Bette Norcross Wappner Erlanger KY USA
brad robinson san francisco ca. USA
Carol Gilbert-Wagner Sacramento California USA
Carol L. Myers Indianapollis IN USA
Carol Lyons Irvington New York USA
Carole Carroll Seattle WA USA
Carolyn Coates Middletown CT USA
Charles Morgan Victoria B.C. CANADA
Claudia G. Coonen Haiku HI usa
Colleen Corradi montesilvano (PE) italy
Connie Lambert Fenton MO USA
Connie Pierson Spokane Washington USA
Cyndy Wilson Spokane WA USA
Dale Phelps Waterloo IA US
Daryl DePry (Double D) Henderson NV USA
Diane Cutter Ceiba Puerto Ric USA
Doug Haug Colorado Springs CO USA
Elizabeth Atwood Topsham ME United States
Ellen Shipley Santa Clarita CA USA
Frank Trueba Scotts Valley CA US
Gayle Wohlken Burton Ohio USA
George Jarvis Shimokitate Akita JAPAN
Gilda Machado- Zimmerling West Hills California USA
Gillyin Gatto Machias ME USA
Harry French Nettleham : Lincoln Lincolnshire UK
Jae Sullivan Ithaca NY USA
James Mundie Philadelphia PA U.S.A.
Jan Telfer Dalkeith Wester Au Australia
Jean Womack Richmond CA U.S.A.
John Center Chicago Il USA
judy barringer trumansburg ny us of a
Julianne Kershaw Woombye Queensland Australia
Julie Sparks Salem OR USA
Julio Rodriguez Skokie Illinois USA
Kathe Welch ALAMEDA ca USA
Kimberly Shields Ctr. Barnstead NH USA
Kristine Alder Richmond UT USA
LD Lawrence Sequim WA USA
Liz Horton Englewood NJ USA
Louise Cass Toronto Ontario Canada
Lynita Shimizu Pomfret Center CT USA
Marcia Morse Kailua HI USA
Maria Arango Las Vegas NV USA
Marilynn Smith Nahcotta Washington USA
Mary Kuster Lexington KY USA
MaryAnn Brooks-Mueller Laredo Texas Mexico
Mellissa Read-Devine Sackville North NSW Australia
Michael Fraley Fort Wayne IN USA
Mike Lyon Kansas City MO USA
Murilo Antonio Pereira Florianópolis Santa Cata Brazil
Nancy Osadchuk Calgary AB Canada
Oscar Bearinger Eganville Ontario Canada
Patricia Hunsinger Homer NY USA
Renee A. Ugrin Clackamas Oregon USA
Robert Viana Naples FL USA
robin morris Sacramento CA US
Ruth Leaf Venice CA USA
Sally Blanks Anchorage Alaska U.S. of A
Sarah Hauser New York NY U.S.A.
Scott Cook Dunfermline Fife United Kingdom
Sharen Linder Palatine, ILLINOIS USA
Sharri LaPierre Vancouver WA USA
Shireen Holman Montgomery Village MD USA
Sue Salsbury Waterloo Iowa usa
Sylvia Taylor Freeville NY USA and Ireland
Tom Kristensen Sydney New South Australia
Viza Arlington Cheney WA USA
Wanda Robertson Molalla OR USA
Wouter ten Broek Waimauku   New Zealan New Zealand





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