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Archive for the ‘stuff we do’ 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_6683A few years ago we put in a group of haskap berry bushes. They were sad little sticks when they went in but have done extremely well. We got our first good round of fruit this year and while they are not quite as sweet as blueberries, they can be swapped in for them in any baked good. (the photo is one I took just before picking this spring) Being so happy with them, we had added a few more this spring, but kept the numbers low since they can be a bit expensive. That’s why I was pleased to find a group of them in an end-of-season clearout for a local garden centre. We had been thinking about opening up a new bed for strawberries and finding enough haskaps, at a great price, to finish filling in the row means no more waiting to move them. There were enough to give us a final count of two dozen, and to run the length of the bed to the east of the house. So the strawberries will be shifted to their new bigger home, and we’ll have full rows of both for next year! (and I’ll have to find a few more recipes for using our crop)

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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_6878So we got full confirmation that I’ll be part of the Artists Alley at Fan Expo in Toronto this Labour Day weekend! I haven’t been back since 2012 but had a great time at Comic Con this March. (Fan Expo is much bigger and busier, so I have to expect that it will be quite a bit more tiring) I will be sticking to pretty much only the stuffies since space is so limited. While most will be my usual range of plush curiosities, I’m also indulging myself with making some fanart bears. I’ve been loving the Marvel movie Avengers and couldn’t resist making a few Winter Soldier versions of Bucky Barnes. (there is a whole thing in the fandom about Bucky Bear) The few I brought with me all got snatched up at Comic Con, so I’ve been working on a some more for Fan Expo. (and putting a few of them up in the Etsy shop as well) This is one that I just finished and I especially love his face. The base bear was a limited edition one, so it isn’t surprising that he’s so nice, but the outfit and arm prosthetic turned out really well too. I’ve got a few more one-off pieces that are underway too (I want to have at least one in honour of Agent Carter star Haley Atwell, who is one of the guests) and have been hunting some bits and pieces for them. When you find yourself saying things like, ”Look! I just found the cutest mini sub-machine gun!” you start to wonder if you’re heading down the right path in life…

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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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