Archive for October, 2012

A while ago some clients of mine brought in a stunning piece of original art for framing.

AyrSpace Gallery, Ayr ON

It was an early work by the artist Barbara Caruso (1937-2009). They had fallen in love with the painting when they saw it at the AyrSpace gallery in Ayr, ON. After it was framed, I got a chance to go to the gallery and meet Jill, the owner and she got to see the framing of it, in it’s new home. The Caruso pieces on show in her gallery have been left in the original, minimal frames the artist put on them and it made sense to do so since that leaves their treatment options totally open. (the frame I made was actually just floated around the existing one) We had a chance to talk about framing issues and design and realized that we have very similar ideas about both. While AyrSpace has a great range of original art on offer, they don’t offer framing and so we decided to work together! Every two weeks, on Friday evenings, I’ll be available for framing consultations at AyrSpace. Appointments can be made with Jill and I’ll be there to both design framing for unframed works as well as reviewing existing pieces on the archival level of their materials as well as for modification/updating. I’m glad to be working with Jill and we both hope that this will be a more convenient way for people to get access to quality framing and information. (oh, and a number of my masks are also on display for the holiday season!)

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So, I feel like a bit of slacker, with this, the second pumpkin clock.

Steampunk pumpkin clock, 2012

The face is likely to be from the 20’s and I liked how well it went with both the feet and the little goddess figure. The hands are practically new, in comparison to the rest of the parts, but they don’t look it and were the right scale. I’d intended to carve a very Art Deco clock case outline around the components but the incredible toughness of these pumpkins put me off. I could have taken the Dremel carving bit to this one as well but it’s actually not that much fun to do. All these tiny, slightly sticky flecks of orange and yellow flying everywhere and ending up all over me! Ick! Anyway, I’ve left this one as a more spare design and I think it still works. (of course, I could have not mentioned any of this and just said it was my plan the whole time, but oh well, too late now:)

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It was a stunningly lovely day here yesterday. Well into the 20’s and sunny,  with just a light wind. I had the door open and tried to do as many things as possible outside. Near the top of the list was getting this years pumpkins done. I decided to go with the hot design trend, and used assorted antique clock bits that were around to make some Steamy pumpkin clocks. I’ve been using lino cutters, to scrape off the outer skin, and they usually work really well but these were the toughest skinned gourds I’ve ever come across! In the end, I admitted defeat and used one of the carving heads on my Dremel tool. Even with a power tool, it still took a while to cut off the rind on this one. I’d had plans to detail the columns more, but gave up on that. I have slightly larger set of the column top and bottom pieces, but they are two different colours so I went with these, the smaller set. The clock face is set in and I lined the back in tinfoil, so it wouldn’t be damaged by touching the fruit directly. I have to wonder how well the nails will hold, between now and Halloween.

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When people buy things from here, in person or on-line,

glass bead, salvaged oak and wire artwork

I always ask them to keep me in mind for photos of it in use. I don’t get them often but it’s always a pleasure for one to come my way. Especially when it was something that was done from supplies. The supply stash is completely out of hand, and I am aware enough to realize it so, some things do get offered for sale. Mostly, it’s great things that have been around for a while and I’ve had to accept that they just don’t fit well with my general design tendencies. (or, sometimes, that there is just more of whatever it is than I could ever use in a reasonable amount of time) Not as much goes on offer as probably should, and it’s always difficult to hand them over, but it’s easier when I can see a fellow artist be excited and inspired. The kinds of things I might have had in mind are always very different from what other people see and that fascinates me. In this piece, by Marilyn Jacobson, what was bought here were the large glass beads. It’s a daring use of both them and the found wood she used to create an art piece with great impact!

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While there has been a great deal of rain, (it feels like every day, we get at least a little)

miniature pink rose, October 2012

the temperatures have been warm for this time of year. Since it’s been nice to be working outside, I’ve been trying to get the teapot garden all emptied and ready to be put away for the winter. The annuals, like the petunias, that have already died are just being disposed of with the soil but I do try to save the perennials. The hens and chicks just finished their third summer. They get dug into the tomato bed and then I’ll pull them back out, before prepping the bed, in the spring. I’ve also had the miniature roses successfully overwinter so they’ll be dug in too. I’m just holding off on doing them all since a couple have put out a last round of flowers. It was an unexpected surprise, but so pretty!

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Wood carving isn’t one of the mediums I can do, but I appreciate the skills involved.

carved jewellery box

When mother came across this beautiful example of chip carving, I was really impressed with the quality of the work. It appears to have been done fairly recently. I would guess in the last ten years. (It looks like someone was shopping at Lee Valley since they carry all the supplies and patterns/instructions to make pieces like this) The inside has been fitted out as a jewellery box but has no signs of wear so I don’t think it was ever used. Hopefully it will find a home where it will be appreciated and finally get to fulfil it’s purpose.

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In a kinda last minute thing yesterday morning,

German dancers at the Kitchener farmers market

I took part in a mid-week show at the Kitchener farmers market. They were doing it as part of the Oktoberfest events. It was pretty quiet but we did have some excitement when an accordion player and about a dozen German men in lederhosen showed up. They didn’t speak english, (they were a dancing group that was in town for the festivities) but luckily the accordion player’s mother had come along and she was able to translate. I wasn’t expecting to have a group of men in leather pants dancing right in front of my table, but it did add something to the experience! (I forgot my camera so the photo is thanks to Melissa at Pretty Bird! who was kind enough to share)

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As soon as I got started with the Demonic bears I had the idea of making

Spider bear. altered stuffed animal

myself a spider as well. The problem was finding a suitable matched pair of bears. Because I’m working with found stuffies, it’s not often I’ll find two of the same, in similar conditions, especially with the bears. That was why I was so pleased to find a perfect pair of identical white ones. They were part of a line called “Brass Button Bears” and this one was named “Opal”. Someone must have been a collector since they are from the eighties or nineties but were in pristine condition. I had first thought to just use the arms and legs but realized that I could also bell out the abdomen a bit, to enhance the spidery look. It was a bit fiddly, splicing on the additional limbs and remaking the torso, but I’m happy with the look. By the time I was done, all that was left of the donor bear was her head. It was also lucky that the stash included a range of eyes so I could get the needed eight. When I get the ideas for these sorts of little challenges, I can’t keep myself from doing them, but I can hope that they’ll stop being other types of spiders because I end up creeping myself out.

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We had our first frost warning last night. It was supposed to get down to -2C

unripe tomatoes, October 2012

and considering how many tomatoes were still on the vine I figured it made sense to go out and pick most of them. The bed behind the house seems to stay a bit warmer than the rest of the property, so I gambled on leaving it. That’s were most of the cherry tomatoes are and, if the plants make it, they can keep producing. That still left the whole bed on the west side of the store. It had enough in to partially fill a regular recycling tub. We’ll have to see how many ripen, but I’m hopeful. (it looks like it may not have gotten down that low since the petunias are still going strong and they tend to get wiped out by true frost. Maybe the raspberries will keep going! *fingers crossed*)

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This is another of the new altered stuffies. I call this style the Demonic Bears.

Demonic Bear with red wings and horns

They got started when I ended up with a few high-end bears who were jointed. The movable joints mean that they don’t come apart very well so I choose to go with altering them more than combining with other stuffies. Part of that choice also was that most of the bears are more cute than realistic and I think that some of what makes the merged critters so much fun is the mad scientist element of the animal combinations. So what I’ve been doing with them is attaching assorted batish wings and some of them get horns. (the other way I’ve been dealing with them is making Fairy Bears with what butterfly wings I can find) A couple even got tails. The wings are wired so they are fully posable and it surprised me how much personality can be expressed by wing position! This guy has a pair of red bat wings and the most dramatic horns I’ve done so far. He’s a bit bigger than most of the mutants and I have listed him in the Etsy shop.

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