Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Suffering of a Broken Heart Seen From This Point of View Changes Its Meaning

Back on August 28th, Doug Gelhaye, fearless leader of a Facebook assemblage group I belong to called Assemblage, Found Object & Mixed Media Artists said, "In the tradition of artist trading cards, what would you say to creating small, simple, mini assemblages to trading among our members? I have never done the ATC thing, but could someone kick in some ideas as to how this would work? I'm talking something that would only take a couple bucks to ship."

As this is the group's first attempt at a trade things are a bit challenging to get organized.  But I like these types of challenges to my creative juices, so I jumped right in.

I cut a 1/2" board into ATC sized shape--2 1/2" by 3 1/2".

I wanted a central core piece so I drilled a hole for a support bolt.  Then four holes went into the board for some 3" nails.  

This round shape is the back of a drawer pull.  

With the structure in place, I needed to texture the wood block so I reached for my favorite substance, DAP Easy Caulk.

From the book Art as Therapy by Alain de Botten and John Armstrong, I selected this quote for the title, and the theme, of this piece:

The suffering of a broken heart seen from this point of view changes its meaning

So what would the point of view be that could change meaning?  I decided that the heart had to go on the bolt and be hidden by something.

First, the hand.  Ironically, for another piece I was working on, I dropped one of the pair of porcelain arms I intended to use.  When it broke, it left me with the hand I needed for this piece.  Onto the palm went this heart charm I had in my stash.

I attached it to the bolt with Apoxie Clay.  Then it was time to paint, paint, paint.

The last step was the cover.  I knew by this time that I wanted a skeleton to ride on top of the nails so that the heart could be seen through it.  A transparency later and it was attached.  Because of the theme of the title, "changes its meaning," I decided that the final thematic effect would be not to have the hand hold the heart but rather to have the heart thrust at the viewer.

And so we have, The Suffering of a Broken Heart Seen From This Point of View Changes Its Meaning.

P. S. Then two things happened.  Denice, my lovely wife, told me not to give this piece away as (G*A*S*P*) she liked it enough I could hang it up in our house.  This does not happen very often. Next, my partner dropped out of the trade and nobody wanted my piece in trade.  SO, I now have this hung up in my house.

Here is the ATC I received from Nancy Viebrock (who took the time to make me something I would like--how nice is that!).


  1. That is so cool Gary! I'm with your wife. I would not want you to give that away!

  2. I'd have kept it too. Now you have a formula. Make more.

  3. Gary these are really cool ATCs. I have not seem them in 3-D. Love it and I would love to do a swap. I used to make them all the time, but now you have given me something to do in a new way. The heart piece is a keeper, although, it would have been a great swap. It is so hard not to get attached to some of your own work. But I had a teacher once who said, "Can you eat it?" If you can't then sell it. Always at the back of my mind. Thanks.

  4. I love your piece. I like working with transparencies.

  5. What a fantastic take on ATCs, and a marvellous execution.