Category Archives: Multimedia

Pay no attention to that woman behind the curtain

I’ve been working steadily throughout the first 12th of the year and just want to let you know that the art-making has been continual and fairly serious, but there hasn’t really been much to show, for various reasons.  One newly finished mixed media piece was a belated (okay, seriously freaking belated) Christmas present for my mother, which has finally gone out in the mail but which will remain, for the moment, mostly private. The little bit above is a detail from the piece. Here’s another:

The very fetching child in the bottom row is yours truly at about three years of age.  See? I am still working.

 

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Glass ornament on tree

Glass ornament on tree by floating inkI can now show you some of the things I made to give as holiday presents.  Here are some I feel somewhat guilty about, because the first one was heavily inspired by one I saw in a shop. I say only somewhat guilty, because what usually happens when I’m inspired by the work of someone else is that I try hard to reproduce it–figuring out the materials that were used and what techniques were employed to put it together and so on. And then I might make one or two such things–never to sell, but perhaps to give away.

What happens next is that I make yet another of whatever the thing is, but now the thing begins to take on a quite different form. What if I do this instead of that? What if I employed a radically different material that makes the old thing a new thing, or takes it in an unexpected direction? By this point my mind is happily racing ahead and within a few hours I’m off making something that was definitely inspired by the original thing, but which is now something completely new.

Like this:

Glass ornament on tree, a photo by floating ink on Flickr.

That thing that I made you that you don’t know what it is–I don’t know what it is either, but isn’t it awesome?

About this time last year I bought a gigantic plastic storage container at Goodwill. It was filled to the brim with those wonderful plain wooden building blocks for kids.  The old school kind that last forever. Rectangles, squares, cylinders, arches, and those cool wedge-of-cheese shaped blocks. I stowed them in the way-back of my 14 year old Subaru wagon, and didn’t really think of them again until the fates decided about 6 weeks ago that the Subaru’s time had come (I can’t complain: it hit the 250,000 thousand mile mark in June and had never, but never let me down). But it had to be cleaned out in preparation for moving to its new home, and the blocks came to light again and started nagging at me.

And then I needed a present for someone special.  And this was born:

Inspired by a number of different projects, I pulled together various tools and decorated papers–monoprinted, stamped, brush painted, watercolored and so on.  You can actually get a better look at the kind of things that ended up papering the block in these shots. I quite like the little green bit of paper with the fish and tadpoles on it–it has a wonderful (IIDSSM) 3-D look to it, but I assure you, it’s perfectly flat.

And these–the stamp of the little person in the hat was made for another project, but it makes a credible appearance here, I think.

On this block printed strip, which ended up on the front of the bridge, a recently carved fish stamp and a poem by Issa:

fish frolicking
on foot…
chrysanthemums

I assembled it all with Golden semigloss gel, let it dry (hurrying it along a bit with a heat gun) then covered the whole with a layer of natural colored encaustic medium.  Then I sat watching Top Gear (British version, of course) while I buffed all the surfaces to a nice low-level gloss, kissed it goodbye, and packed it for shipping to the birthday girl.

It’s called Chrysanthemum bridge, but I  still don’t know what it us. Maybe she will.

Linen covered book

Since I raided the local odd lots store last month for about 2 dozen of the linen and cotton kitchen towels they were selling for 50 cents each, I’ve been trying to use them in as many different ways as possible (I haven’t yet used them as actual dish towels, but it may come to that).

This one became the cover fabric for a coptic stitched blank journal I made for a milestone birthday for my sister. The linen was a little on the thick side–great for wiping dishes, not as great for book cloth–but I’m tickled with how it came out. The art on the cover is a watercolored print from one of my hand-carved stamps. The interior pages, which are a creamy white, are from a block of Sennelier “Le Maxi” sketching paper that I snagged on sale (the cellophane wrapper of the block was torn, but the paper was perfect) from my local Dick Blick store a while back.

I made a similar one with a kraft paper cover, red enameled eyelets for the waxed linen thread to go through and a handpainted, hand-carved stamp of a bird for a friend whose birthday was last week, but that one didn’t get photographed. In fact, I was so late in finishing it that I sat at the table in the tea shop where some friends and I were celebrating her birthday and finished the coptic stitching as we chatted over our iced teas on a hot afternoon. She was pleased–said it was like getting a present and a show.

(At least) one more to go, for yet another friend with an August birthday. Jeez, you’d think that December was a cold month or something.

Easter bunnies on parade

Just a quickie here, with a tutorial to follow later today. These three bunnies are about to go out to new homes, but I wanted to get them their 15 minutes of fame first.

The large map rabbit contained a couple of surprises. Purely by accident, his right flank includes the town in West Virginia where my mother was born (okay, the town large enough to be on a map at all that’s closest to where my mother was born) AND, on his left ear, the town in Ohio where First Child is in college.

These are some smart bunnies, I tell you.

A play date

I was recently invited to a fabulous event–an art-making day at the home of my dear friend Leslie. She provided the hospitality of her beautiful, Swedish-inspired home in the woods, the company of her charming dogs Luna and (the newly rescued) Broomis, and a spectacular seafood curry soup.

And large, blank houses cut from illustration board.

Her ten or twelve lucky guests brought rolls, salad, chocolate, chai, and bags and bins and boxes of art supplies and ephemera.

What a day we had, and how beautiful the resulting town of houses was when we finally–after 6 hours or so–stopped for show and tell.

I wish I could show them all to you, but, alas (and damn!) they don’t belong to me, but to their individual makers. But I will show off mine if I may (yeah, try and stop me). This baby’s been working up through the murky recesses of my consciousness, Magic 8-Ball style, for weeks, and it was both challenging and freeing to help it find form.

Here she be.  It’s called (after the Lhasa de Sela song of the same name) Soon This House Will Be Too Small.

The house is hinged with silk ribbons along the left side, and opens like a book; it stands about 9″ tall. Here’s the outside:

And the inside, with a somewhat closer view of the right-hand page (note the tiles that show through the windows on the front):

and the rear view:

Each woman there made something different–there were cheerful houses, somber houses, homes, shops, houses with words, houses that held their tongues, tropical houses and beach houses and fantasy houses. Amazing.

Here’s the interesting thing. Since that day I’ve been having incredibly vivid, long, detailed dreams about houses of all kinds, so real, so insistent on being recognized.

I think we need another art day. Soon.