Monday, May 21, 2012

Channeling Joseph Cornell

 For our play date yesterday we had great plans.  We were to meet at SCRAP in San Francisco to purchase items to create a Joseph Cornell inspired assemblage piece.  Unfortunatley, SCRAP isn't open on Sundays.  so we had to improvise.  D. , K. and I all "shopped" in my craft room stead for chunky found items to be used inside a cigar box, or some other vessel.  For my piece above, i decided to make use of my fair sized collection of vintage office supplies.  I used a fairly shallow hinged cigar box lined with typewriter ads from an old magazine, circa 1930's.  I added some children's blocks to say TYPE whereas writer was done with some store bought letters in a cool font.  Pretty much everything else was old - the lids from round packets of brads and tacks, the red boxes are pencil leads, some old folding rulers border some vintage stamps, rows of trading stamps create some separation.  Hard to tell in this photo - but the three office machines are on raised block adding some depth to the right side.
 Here is D's box - which she actually started last month at a workshop she took at SCRAP.  This was the incentive for us to all go to the store.  If you have never been, please check out their blog.  It is a wonderful place to find stuff to use in art projects.  Originally founded for school teachers to get cheap art supplies - it is now a mecca for all types of collage and assemblage artists.  Just about everything in her box, an old slide sorter, was found in the store.  That's Amelia Earhart behind a row of test tubes.  assorted plugs and outlets give it that cool mysterious crazy scientist look.
 Here is Z's box -  a work in progress.  Originally a slatted wood tray,  after some struggles with adhesives she covered the back with a vinyl map - cut from a purse!  Hey - no household item is safe in the world of assemblage, people!!  She is staying true to the Cornell aesthetic, with a series of boxes and circular shapes.  Note the repetition of the objects. I can't wait to see how this turns out!
Here is K's box - a hinged box from the craft store i think she white washed.  going with a "kids" theme - she used a large auto bingo card on the right and let colours play off of that.  that red car was shiny and new, but after some serious sanding - made it look apropriately vintage.  She's not quite done - plans to add red hots candies to those test tubes for a flash of more red and also more playfullness. Also note the repetition of cirular shapes, so prevalent in Cornell's work. The wheels on the bus go 'round and 'round...

One of our play date buddies could not make it due to horrible sunday traffic, and another is driving across the country to spend the summer back east.  Did they ever miss a fun and challenging and rewarding play date!  Next month - canvases with plaster....

If you are not familiar with Joseph Cornell's masterful works - please go right away to google images and check them out!.  Better yet - if there is ever an exhibit in your area - you must go.

Altered Calendar - Maps and Moustaches

 The latest in the 2012 Altered Calendar Round Robin swap - D's clever creation: The Map and Moustache Book!  There are two instructions.  Create two spread using both maps and moustaches. An interesting mix, no?
 Here is one of my spreads.  I found the guy ballet dancer in my stash of vintage photos.  Thankfully once upon a time i filed them by "men, women, children, etc" - so they were easy to locate.  I wrote some text on the left that explains that the guy had to shave off his moustache so he could fulfill his dream to become a prima ballerina!  The background map is Germany and Austria, so i pretended he was named Heinrich.   Notice the striped ribbon on the left border, was also used for his tie! 
 Next is my Map Guy.  (my husband said i should have called him Map Dude, but anyway...)  When i was little, we had a map of North America on the wall of our playroom.  I always saw this little man in the states running down the middle of the country.  only he was missing a hat.  I fulfilled my lifelong dream to put that hat on his head...

Do you see him?
 Here he is!!!  His head is Iowa.  He shirt (painted a soft green plaid) is Missouri.  His jeans are Arkansas. And his large boot is Louisiana.  How cool is that!?!?  Oh yeah - his hat is Oklahoma turned right side up.  You'll never look at a map of the US the same way again..!!
I added some eyelets and laces to his boot, a leather belt and gold buckle to his jeans, some buttons to his shirt and since the theme of the book called for a moustache, he got one of those!  Without it, he looks a little bit like Elmer Fudd.  Looking back, perhaps i should have added a logo to his hat? 
Finally here is the sign in page.  We were to take a precut tag to decorate and add our name and afix to the back of the book.  The tag i selected already had an image of a cat wearing an glasses/nose/moustache disguise - so i didn't have much decorating to do!  Cut out some star shapes and added the multi colour yarn.  A fun theme for an altered book.
Next month?  Sea Glass!

Altered Sketchbook

 For a birthday present for a friend i decided to created something pretty and practical.  An altered blank sketchbook.  This book is about 12" tall and 9" wide and contains nice weight blank pages - full of promise!  She can use it to sketch, duh, or as a scrapbook for clippings, recipes, even a photo album.
I started with a background of painted deli paper in an orange and teal blend.  I originally was not even planning a focal point image of a face, but came across this serene Modigiliani and it was just perfect.
I added a halo of butterflies and even added a feathered and jeweled butterfly with a button in the center.
A few more bits of collage, dictionary paper, pinkie stamps, my favorite florentine pattern paper filled out the bottom nicely.
 In the inside cover i carried over the deli paper and a few more collage scraps.  A bevy of butterflies complete the page.
 Inside the back cover another pice of deli paper and a Modigliani nude - although i covered her up for modesty.
 And the back - just plain deli paper.  i figured that would be the most durable over time.
Here's another shot of the cover - bad shot with a flash glare spot - but the colours are more intense.
To see more faces with pretty things on their heads - check out my donation to the Marin MOCA altered book show.  Details HERE.