I just finished a week sharing my art and my process with the children at Patchwork Central, where most of the time the children see me as the Co-Director and camera lady.
It was fun to share my sculpture with them, and it was very fun to see the art that they created. It was also great to work again with my friend and fellow artist Jane Case Vickers. I started my career in community art almost 18 years ago by teaching art as Jane’s assistant in Patchwork’s Arts & Smarts Children’s Program.
I was very glad to get to teach with Jane again–I think she’s a great artist and a great teacher. We’ve always been attracted to similar materials and have similar artistic inspirations. We’ve done several projects and exhibits together.
One of these collaborative projects was called “Earthen Vessels”. We each created a series of female figures that explored the human form as a container for emotions and experiences. Each figure expressed an individual emotion or memory using found fabrics and found objects that we felt were symbolic of the theme.
The images above show my work paired with Jane’s. The first shows Jane’s depiction of Guilt (titled “Guilt: She’s Got a Belly Full of Walnuts”) and my depiction of Love. The second shows my depiction of Loss and Jane’s depiction of Healing. They range from 64″ tall to 40″ tall.
When we took these photos, we intentionally paired a more positive emotion with a more negative one to highlight the interaction between the two.
I’ve reworked this piece. I shared a photo of it last year when I’d prepared it for a show and then realized that there was a problem.
In the end it was a good thing. Having time to rework it meant that I added quite a few more layers of glitter, thread, and paint. It’s better for them.
I still envision it as a kind of mystical creature surrounding the little boy and girl and suspending them in the air–a mystical creature made of discarded materials, comical googly eyes, and a mass of glue.
It continues to be an exploration of the things that we collect, the way that we relate to them, and the way that we project ourselves onto them.
I kept the original title of the piece. Someone remarked that the glittery circle is reminiscent of Ezekiel’s vision of a wheel covered in eyes, which I liked. The inspiration for the piece hadn’t been the Bible verse, but I decided to make a reference to the folk song “Ezekiel Saw the Wheel” by titling the piece “Way Up in the Middle of the Air”.
The piece measures 9″ square and is about 3″ deep.
Continuing on the theme of small creatures created from scraps and detritus, here’s a slightly larger creature. It’s currently on display at One Life Church in Evansville as part of an exhibit of artwork inspired by Places.
This piece is 2″ wide and deep but about 6″ tall. Like the previous piece, it has a little propeller that spins. I’ve had fun exhibiting these creatures within glass display cases that add to the appearance that they are collected specimens.
The local arts council is having a show that challenges artists to make art that is no more than 2″ in any dimension. Here’s what I created. The little whirligig on the top spins when you blow on it.
The base is made of the official 2″ square canvas I was given by the arts council and part of a suction cup. The sculpture itself is made of corrugated cardboard, beads, a pin, a security envelope, googly eyes, gold paint, and microbead glitter.
This piece of art doesn’t exist, even though it’s the most recent piece I’ve been working on. With it, I learned that when you’re making art out of found objects, you’d best do your research.
The centerpiece is a beautiful little nest that I found on the ground last fall. I created a mass of glitter and googly eyes to surround it. Someone remarked that the glittery circle was reminiscent of Ezekiel’s vision of a wheel covered in eyes, which I liked. The inspiration for the piece hadn’t been the Bible verse, but I decided to make a reference to the folk song “Ezekiel Saw the Wheel” by titling the piece “Way Up in the Middle of the Air”.
I was about to deliver the piece to a local exhibit when it occurred to me that perhaps birds’ nests are included in the same regulations that forbid anyone from possessing feathers or other parts of wild birds. I looked it up, and they do.
I should have done more research first. I disassembled the piece for now, but you may see it reinvented later–minus the nest.
A couple weeks ago, the sound of the cicadas was deafening. For a piece earlier this summer, I’d felt lucky to have found a single cicada shell, but I decided to look again after having my ears assaulted. This time, I came up with quite a collection.
I’d wanted to make a piece for a local recycled art show, so I used the cicadas as an inspiration, building a kind of mandala from them and some crazy lenticular eyes I’d picked up at the Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. Throw in some old buttons, wedding confetti I picked off the ground in Germany, old doilies, beads, pins, sequins, and thread, and it’s a writhing dance of empty shells and eyeballs.