Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Tattered Circus

Outrageous, flamboyant, weird -- and tattered, like the circus that used to come each winter to my little Florida hometown and camp out near the bayou.  A daylight inspection showed patches and frayed edges, but in the big top after dark, all was enchantment.

Three up cycled bangles wrapped in sari silk and wired together, with two old old charms, a celluloid monkey and a high heeled shoe.  Pink and red together!  Why not.  It's a circus.

PS:  You might want to turn down the volume on this one, or risk getting a brain worm.  Great animation, though.

True enchantment never fades.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Less is Better

Here's a closeup of the bangle collaged with a corner of the Pompadour portrait. I love the fragmentary look of the papers, as though well worn, for a long, long time.

On second thought, though, I think the set is much better as just thee, not five, and the three of them that tell the story best -- the thin, patterened bangle with the holy medal suspended from a vintage brass link, the beaded one with the tea dyed lace bow and tatting, and the bangle, all very evocative, and much more so together, without the other two distracting the eye.

The artist who painted the lady was Fancois Boucher, in 1756. Such sumptuous  fabrics and flowers, you could almost smell roses and jasmine, touch the fine satin and laces, alas, long ago, so long ago.

Stacks are Back


I have a theory that spring and summer bring on the bracelets because we bare our arms again.  So the stacks are back.  I love to gather up the bangles from thrift stores and give them new charm.  Especially the wooden ones, which are so much fun to collage.  This one got fragments from a portrait of Mme. Pompadour, a postage stamp and text from a French grammar.  Then another of steel wire with recycled beads and lace, another with mother of pearl buttons, one shell inlaid as-is, then two thin ones with charms.  All feminine and sweet, but not in a sticky way, since they have a rustic edge.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

One Never Knows

Here's the music:

I struggled with both of these, unsure of their appeal, although I liked them for myself, but y'know I am kinda different, fashionwise.

The baby tintype pendant is a collage of antique text, tintype and tin, in the form of a gauge with dial and pointer, sealed in encaustic, suspending a nice old brass jingle bell.  A study of infancy and memory, that sat for a long time on my bench trying to grow up.  It's strung on waxed linen, knotting beads of natural, off white magnesite with a sprinkling of boxy clear dendritic agate.

The other piece has a pendant of sea pottery with a collage of the face of Louis Pasteur's granddaughter, Camille, taken from an antique steel engraving, again knotted on natural linen with gorgeous small nuggets of natural angel skin coral.

Both pieces were inspired by the vintage box catches I found on Etsy at The Paris Carousel, the kind I remember from necklaces I was given as a child.  And the nostalgic mystery of memories from infancy and childhood.  There's actually believed to be a term of "infantile amnesia" during which memories don't form, but you couldn't prove it by me.  I can remember back to sleeping in a crib, and the day my brother was born, when  I was less than 2 years old.  At least some things, not a continuous story, which is where the mystery comes in.  Why remember some things and not others?


They were meant to be layered, together, or with other pieces, or alone.  And I had not a clue whether anybody else might like them.  Well, surprise, surprise; they were gone from my shop before the fresh baked listing cooled off, headed to a new neckline with Blessed 5x, who has a beautiful shop of her own on Etsy.

To quote the immortal Fats Waller,"one never knows, do one?"

Friday, March 22, 2013

Spring Day Two

My favorite spring song, by Ella, the one, the only.  Spring can really hang you up the most.
It's snowing here in the Puget Sound basin, north of Seattle.  It's the wet kind, though, and it will be gone by noon.  College boys are writing sonnets, robins build their nests from coast to coast.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

All Along the Watch Tower

"All along the watch tower the princes kept the view,
while all the women came and went, barefoot servants too."

Most of the fun of making comes for me when, during the repetitive processes of it all, my imagination gets fired by what I see, by the associations that arise between the parts and the whole. The hollow resin beads that are the focal points of these earrings remind me of towers, and from there the imagination jumped to the system of ancient towers built to protect the trade on the Silk Road, and then I could imagine a wily tribal dancer who might profitably amuse merchants camped at those towers, safe at night, but bored. Imagine, firelight, unclouded stars above, sand below, the scent of spices, incense, tobacco and beasts of burden, stringed instruments and skin drums, a dancer casts her timeless spell. And she is wearing these earrings.

The best version of Bob Dylan's song was done by Jimi Hendrix on Electric Ladyland, 1968, but it's unavailable to share with you now, so here's a provoking bit of cover from an installment of Battlestar Galactica.

For more on towers and the Silk Road, visit the wonderful blog, Mongols, China and the Silk Road, link on the right under "Explore This."  There's enough there to feed your hungry imagination for quite some time.

"There must be some way out of here, said the joker to the thief."

Monday, March 18, 2013

Shabby Sweet Cloth Cuffs


I've scheduled these for relisting in my shop.  Two of them are based on men's dress shirt cuffs as foundations for a collage of laces, buttons, trims and other pretty things.  


This one features some softly tumbled whelk shells, costume pearls, antique lace, and bits of fine silk, appliqued to a man's dress shirt cuff. The one below is a dress shirt cuff with antique button and cuff link, hand dyed and printed with one of my hand cut stamps. 

I've scheduled these for relisting in my shop.  Two of them are based on men's dress shirt cuffs as foundations for a collage of laces, buttons, tatting, trims, and other pretty things. 

Late Winter, snow, Rain, Moss, and the Bobcat's Gift

I had a refreshing hike along the Iron Horse Trail, which is a reclaimed railway line that runs "mountains to sound" from Eastern Washington, over Snoqualmie Pass, and down through wooded hills on the way to Puget Sound.

Jena, Abbie and I ambled along the blessedly flat section that runs from a trailhead at Hwy. 18, over the bridges and rushing streams, past the old Ragnar siding, to the glorious, great, wild big leaf maple tree that grows by the falls of Boeztke Creek, to reassure ourselves that she is sending out fat buds, and she is.

We turned around just about a mile past that spot, at about 4 miles, and wandered back along the same route.  We got pelted with graupel, a form of snow, even though temps were relatively warm, in the high 40s.  Mountain weather is changeable and strange, especially as spring approaches.

By a thickly upholstered mossy boulder along side the trail, a likely spot to stop for a bit of lunch and hot tea, I rested my cup and thermos, poured out a deliciously warming cup of chai, and noticed on the dark leaf litter, oh my! Jena, look at this!  A bobcat's claw sheath.  No sign, though of kitty scratches on that mossy boulder.

Really, it's a small miracle.  What is the likelihood of such a treasure being found by a found object artist with a good supply of resins and a head full of wonder?  It must be a sign.

It's about half an inch long. Too short for a cougar and too long for a house cat.  I've seen bobcat sign in the area before.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Milliner's Art, just listed in my Etsy shop.  I finally got the nerve to cut up a beautiful antique spice cannister marked "Ginger" from a set I have been saving for, what?, well, to destroy.  It's a hard step to take, but it seems just right here, assembled with mercury glass bugle beads and a gorgeous little cut steel button.  I collaged the back with a page from Bluestocking Hall, a novel of 1827.  The paper from those days, even in cheap novels, was rich with cotton fiber, and collages beautifully, using preservative resin.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Ghost Town Holiday

When my mother was a small girl, her mother would take the children up into the high Montana backcountry for a summer holiday, to a deserted settlement.  A day of sweeping away packrat nests and papering the walls with fresh newspaper would make a crumbling cabin into a pretty good camp.  They had bacon, flour, canned goods, fishing poles, and a shotgun just in case.  In the warm nights, the upper half of the Dutch door was left open to moonlight and cool breezes.  One night they were wakened by a scratching and scrambling just outside the door, and lo, a bristling head appeared at the open space, and quickly dispatched by my intrepid Grandmother, Florence Pratt Malone, with her shotgun.  After a more restful night, dawn revealed a scattered pile of porcupine quills where the bristling prowler had been.

The rest of their holiday passed without event but a few nice pan fried trout dinners.  With canned peaches for desert.

Earrings assembled from a very old rusty sardine tin, carved bone beads, key hole escutcheons, and porcupine quills.  The unique bead caps are back-of-the-barn trove brass settings originally meant to be used for rhinestone and riveted.  All patina here is natural, and the text collaged to reinforce the tin is antique, as well, c. 1860s.  That's the story and I'm sticking to it.


Soon to be added to my Etsy shop.