Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Calavera Wands

The rattle wands that don't rattle.
My grand scheme for making wands that actually rattle didn't pan out. As seen in a previous post, I started out putting pebbles inside walnut shells, but alas… not all ideas end up being workable.

I started over, gathering suitable twigs from under my neighbor's gigantic copper beech tree. I see this tree every day from my northern windows, towering over the neighborhood. We 4th Avenue residents all curse the tree a little bit in the spring when it's fuzzy little blossoms are blowing around, sticking to everything… and at this time of year, while it sheds it's two tons of leaves and (some years) prickly seed pods across at least three of our backyards, but it's magestic presence is worth it! This Grand Dame has donated her discarded branches to more than a few of my projects and I can always count on finding just the right piece to serve as a doll's spine or limbs.

These sugar skulls are polymer clay sculpted over bases of tightly wadded aluminum foil with wire embedded into the center, which was then wrapped around the wooden twig wands. They were then painted in a fairly common Day of the Dead motif… with joyful flowers in eye sockets, hearts and crosses. I love how this tradition teaches us to embrace our departed ancestors in festive celebration, with color, flowers and sweets. My calavera (Spanish for skull) wands are standing in a small tin bucket of red stones and ready for display at Guardino Gallery's 2013 Day of the Dead show, running through November 24th. Be sure to go see the show at 2939 NE Alberta St in Portland!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

La Dama Catrina

Finished... and appearing soon at Guardino Gallery in Portland, Oregon!
Wood, wire, paper clay and acrylic paint... dressed in cloth, vintage lace, silk sari ribbon... decorated with silk flowers, copper and aluminum shiny bits. The ribbons in her skirt are hand stamped with various phrases and words relevant to the Day of the Dead... some are inspired by Mexican loteria cards.  16" tall.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Upcoming show at Guardino Gallery

Getting ready... deadline approaching! I'm excited and honored to be included in this show, and even more excited for the Hallowe'en night opening, where I'll see a few great friends...

La Dama Catrina is getting a new silk skirt. Sneak peek...

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Burn Down the Mission

I'm on a mission. Getting ready for the Day of the Dead show at Guardino Gallery, where I'm slated to have a few pieces included. Feeling the pressure.

Oddly, whatever direction I *thought* I was going in this week has not quite worked out. One dead end or minor catastrophe after another. Thought I was going to spend today modeling paperclay skulls, but I put on Tumbleweed Connection and found out Bernie and Elton had other plans. I sort of fell down their mysterious rabbit hole and ended up cutting, hammering, pickling and filing little copper heart charms.
Sometimes you just have to smash apart all your ideas or expectations and start over. So.... go ahead. Burn, burn, burn, burn down the mission walls and see what happens!One of these folky prim heart charms will adorn the chest of my Catrina doll which is being reworked a little for this show. She's decided to take a darker turn and get on a little more bling.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Skull Rattle Wands- WIP

Summer is winding down and it's time to start thinking about Halloween and Day of the Dead. These will be calavera skull rattle wands. 

Successfully solved a very basic but frustrating construction problem today that will allow them to actually rattle. Now, how to stabilize the necks better than the ones I made last year. Time to break out the Apoxie Sculpt?

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Button Love

I have a mad screaming passion for vintage buttons. I look for them wherever I go. Had my eyeballs peeled at the Plucky Maidens Junk Fest on Thursday, but didn't really see any. Maybe they've had their heyday and I'm just behind the curve? If so, too bad... because I adore them.

I especially love to wrap them around my wrists... simply crocheted on C-Lon cord. Here's my most recent creation... a dainty little bracelet, all in white.
 Each button is different, some shell, some glass. The closure is a loop over a white shoe button.

A few that I chose for this piece are especially worn and aged, a little grimy even. One glass button was actually unearthed in my backyard, and I left some of the dirt in the pattern crevices on purpose.
This little strand was a birthday gift for my daughter-in-law, Nicole, and it looked just perfect on... but I forgot to photograph her adorned wrist before she left today!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Voodoo Dada

A little Father's Day voodoo is in order! A few of my "voodoo aliens" have been gifted to some of the awesome men I know, because you just can't give a *pretty* or girly doll to a guy. This one was made for my own extra-special Dad...
 The body is made of an old wool Navy blanket and the right eye is a button off my dad's own Navy uniform from the late 1940's. I've been carrying that button around for years. Some other details and charms are specific to some of my dad's skills, accomplishments and interests. He used to have his pilot's license and owned a small plane, hence the propeller up top. There are also some bits of fishing tackle, gears and skeleton keys... just random generally "manly" trinkets. A vintage clock hand makes a great necktie.
Dad has always been a musician, so I added a guitar pick and musical notes. He was a swimming instructor/coach for many years... and later, a driver training instructor.

The car and swimmer pins are Webelos pins. The wheelbarrow Monopoly token, made into a charm, represents Dad's love of gardening.

Clipped from one of his sister's old report cards, the family last name was signed in pencil, by his mother. He likes to feed and watch hummingbirds, so I added a coin charm with that image.

No one under 35 knew what this thing was! If you don't know, ask your grandma..;-]

Old spoon handle (left leg) was dug from the ground on the property where my dad has lived since he was 6-yrs-old.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

A little less stress... a little more inspiration.

Really wanted to work on a doll today, so spread out my drop cloth and got out the gesso to prep for a layer of paper clay on this partially finished papier mache' piece...

But then I just froze up. Think I've seriously lost my creative mojo, people. Life has been ultra weird lately and the stress level is high all around me. So, I left the doll laying cold on the slab and decided instead to spend the rest of the day looking EvErYwHeRe for some spark of inspiration.

Color does it every time. Is there anything better than this bright chartreuse next to the deep purple-y blue of the pansies?

Woody... omnipresent, but aging considerably of late.
I love you, Kenilworth Ivy. I love how you pop up everywhere and that you will never leave me, no matter what I do.

Ceramic acorns from Holland.
Back inside... I turned to (what else?) chocolate...
And then... even asked for a little help from Kitchen Jesus. The window sash he stands on came from an English church.

Supplies? Unfinished projects? Things that normally get my juices flowing?

Vintage things? Patterns and images that I love?

Oddities and funky things that inhabit my studio shelves?

Temporarily distracted again by deliciousness (well, and color)... 
AND... back full-circle, to the original project I was trying to force upon myself.

Her torso speaks volumes. I'll cover her in gesso another day.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Transformation of Jane

Last summer, I embarked on a collaborative "round robin" project with seven other doll makers, from all around the country. We each started a doll and sent it on to the next person in the circle, for each to add a little something and begin shaping the character and personality of the doll that would return to each of us in the spring. Mine started out as just a torso. More or less a blank slate!

What follows is a collage of photos I took once she arrived back home today... spotlighting some of the features added by the other artists, along with pages from the journal that traveled with her every step of the way.
The journal's cover... before she left on her journey.
Head and face by Kathryn Hall.
A skirt of glorious ribbons and fibers, by Lynne Sward. Arms and hands by Barb Kobe.
Wings added by our fearless leader, Pamela Hastings.
Sturdy striped legs & standing base... by Lori Grassette.
Heart and stars... golden headdress and birds (in hand and hair) from Mary Louisa Klawetter.
Back view... with Thea's neck ribbons and beads streaming down between her wings.

Amazing hands.

Thea Roy added beads, stars, hearts.... and more ribbons!

Mary Lou's bird in Barb's hands.

Does Kathryn know that these tiny realistic looking teeth push me to the edges of my creepy childhood doll fantasy-fears? :)
Inside cover and my page... to start off the journal.
Barb Kobe's fabulous hand pages.
Lori Grassette's pages.
Pages from Lynne Sward and Mary Lou Klawetter.
Thea's pages.
I think Pamela did this page, which I LOVE! I know Jane's arms were once raised above her head in a very ballet-like pose, but she since changed her mind, I guess!
From Pamela.

In such great company am I.

Adieu and anon... fair Jane. Venus has arrived!
What an amazing experience. A big commitment and investment of time and art... well worth it in the bonds we forged with each other in this process!