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Archive for the ‘about stuff we carry’ Category

One of the things I did in the past year was upgrade to a Nikon slr camera. I’m still figuring out all it can do but it’s already much easier to work with than my old point-and-click.

rustgear1

Pretty much all I do is one-of-a-kind so I try to make sure to photograph everything before it gets put out for sale. That is another thing I have to catch up on for this year. At least I did shoot all my 2016 jewellery, so while this necklace has found a home, I have a record. The antique pocket watch piece had such a beautiful, natural oxidation that all I did was add the co-coordinating drop that I found in the salvaged stash and add a chain. I have to wonder if it’s original watch had fallen into salt water and then just got left for a decade or two. I’d love to know more about the stories of the pieces I find, but they mostly stay mysteries!

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IMG_6723Working with the stuffies, I’m always on the hunt for quality pieces in good condition. At times, I come across known characters that qualify. The problem with using them is they are often a bit too identifiable for just parts. Because of this, I’ll often just leave them behind, but it’d hard to resist when I come across a great one in pristine condition. When I got my hands on a group of vintage trophy supplies, I was able to try an idea I’d had for a while. I don’t agree with hunting for sport, so real trophies are a bit icky, but I did like the macabre humour of doing it with stuffed animal heads. Making them was fairly simple, I just took off the head, sewed the neck closed, to give it a more finished look, and altered the back slightly so it would sit properly against the plaque. Some even got engraved plates, if there was room. I’ve got a few others made so far, but Ernie is my favourite. As a child, I sympathized much more with Bert and had a few snickers at the thought of him finally snapping and Ernie ending up as TaxidErnie!

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IMG_6940It has been quite a while since I made a new batch of masks. I shouldn’t have taken so long a break, but kept getting distracted by stuffies and jewellery, since those are the bulk of what’s needed for shows. At any rate, a new group just got finished! They were done to use up the last of the edging lace. It makes beautiful crowns and is the best accent for the feathers I’ve found but, because it was salvaged, it was in limited supply. All the full crown masks made with it had found homes, so I decided it was time to just go ahead and use what was left. I stuck to most popular colour combos so there is one gold and black, (pictured), a gold and white and one silver and brown. The silver one also used up the last bit of the long natural coque feathers. It’s always hard to reach the end of a favourite supply, but I should look at as a chance to do something different. Either way, it’s going to be hard to see these ones go.

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tentafterThis is the last of this group of altered paintings and was the one that I felt a bit bad about using. It is the strongest of the group and I think it might have been a students piece or study. I even did some googling of the signature, just in case they had gone on to become a known name, but nothing came up. At any rate, it had come into my hands and was fair game for being “improved”. My first thought had been to alter the people but decided the better option was to explain their situation a bit more. (and putting clothes on him would have made it far less funny) Now they have something to look at and the painting has much more of a narrative going on. It was also the hardest to match the brushwork style of, but I think I got very close. The reflections were especially challenging, but worked out. The colour mixing and paint texture also matched so well that the fact it was altered is surprising most of the people who’ve only seen it in this state. It’s acrylic on canvas, and nicely stretched, so I opted not to frame it but to simply go with the black wrap around the outside. Keeping it down to only it’s modest original size should make it easier for someone to find a spot for this bit of slightly creepy fun. (and that person might be me since I really do love how it turned out) tentbefore

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IMG_6193I’d been pulling the pair of anatomical hearts out of the stash periodically for years. I’d look at them, think about possible uses and then decide I didn’t love that option enough. Over this past winter a pair of tiny frames came in and I loved that they were small enough to be used as jewellery. While I’ve had a few similar sized square ones pass through my hands, I found the hard edges read as too harsh. These, on the other hand, not only had a great vertical oval shape, but also had lots of in-scale details on their edges. One was just the right size for the smaller of the two hearts. I went with an antique wood backing piece, for the great grain texture, and painted it white. The heart projects forward a bit, but not too much. It is just clearly three dimensional. The chain was from the stash and I was lucky it was long enough since the weight was just a perfect balance to the pendant. It has already been snatched up, but I still wanted to show it off.

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This is probably the simplest of the altered paintings. Finding pieces to work with isn’t actually as easy as it may seem. Part of the hunt is choosing ones that are just bad enough. Georgian bay "after" I don’t want to be painting over works that have any real artistic merit but also am not interested in the truly terrible things that are so often what’s available at the price they need to be. I also only want to work with actual oil or acrylic paintings. With those, it’s possible to properly blend in the overpainting but with prints, it just sits on top and while you may be able to get a decent photo of the finished piece, they tend to look awful in person. On top of all that, it also has to have room for the changes. I like ones that have a sense of incompleteness about them. This was one that worked really well, from my perspective. While it is clearly Georgian bay, and not completely bad, (even with it’s abundance of “happy” trees) the large, empty expanse of water in the foreground came across as boring and unfinished so it made a great canvas for the addition of a “Nessie” style beastie. Georgian bay "before" Painting in the white water ripples around it took almost as much time as the beast, but I think they help tie it into the original artwork and look less like an add-on. (the down side of that is people thinking I did the whole thing, which has happened a couple of times. I think big “altered painting” signs are the way I’ll have to go)

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pen1I’ve been trying to get better about taking photographs of more of my work. Since almost all of the jewellery tends to one-of-a-kind, it’s good for me to keep some sort of record. This was one of the ones where I was good about getting it recorded before putting it out for sale. Not that I got the photo up or anything like that. The main design drive for it was the large, salvaged piece on the top. It was paired to the watch body first and then the antique image, jewels and drops were picked based on it’s look so the whole thing works together. I love how it is so much more vibrant that I typically dare to go, but still has a very cohesive feel! It’s gone off with it’s new owner and it always makes me happy when people like my stuff enough to wear it right away.

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