Wednesday, October 11, 2023

2023 10 A God Self-Slain On His Own Strange Altar

This piece was started in Creating Expressive Figures taught by Kate Church from October 1st to 6th, 2023.

My project was inspired when my fellow classmate Ruth brought me this bird figurine from Crazy Frank's Flea Market because she thought I could do something with it.

Ok, that is a challenge. 

A large polymer clay face modified from a mold Kate gave us

The face went on the bird before it was fired in the oven

I added a door knob and some nails then mounted the bird on this piece of rainbow wood

From Kate's stash I selected this tin to make the wings for the bird

I used plaster cast and paint to create the wings on the tin, plus a paint brush tail

This is as far as the project got at Shake Rag Alley

Here is the project after I finished it at home

Thus we have A God Self-Slain On His Own Strange Altar. It is 10"H X 8"W X 12"D. It consists of a Bird Sculpture , Polymer Clay Mask, Wood Rainbow, Drawer Pull, Nails (9), Plaster and Paint. The title of this piece comes from the poem A Forsaken Garden by Swinburne.

Sunday, October 8, 2023

2023 10 The Blue Man of Minch

The piece that I began in the Cryptozoology: Shrines of Legends & Lore taught by Michael deMeng at Shake Rag Alley in Mineral Point, WI, from September 7-10,  2023.

My cryptid was "the Scottish folklore, The Blue Men of the Minch. The blue men of the Minch, also known as storm kelpies (Scottish Gaelic: na fir ghorma Scottish Gaelic pronunciation: [nə fiɾʲ ˈɣɔɾɔmə]), are mythological creatures inhabiting the stretch of water between the northern Outer Hebrides and mainland Scotland, looking for sailors to drown and stricken boats to sink." (from Wikipedia).

It always helps me if I work through my projects at home. 

The Big Frame Up

Auditioning items for the assemblage at home

Once I got to Shake Rag Alley for the class it was four days of work to try and get this piece together and painted. 

Folk art boat found at a resale shop

A frayed canvas is added to the substrate





A half of a wine rack makes waves

The piece when the Shake Rag Alley workshop came to an end

Work Done At Home

A diver got set in resin in this ash tray

Added these at home when I realize a cryptid that pulls ships under needs arms

Thus we have The Blue Man of Minch. He is 49"H X 25"W X 9"D. He consists of Plywood, Frame, Wine Rack, Chris Westrud Hand Made Boat, Muskrat Skull, Nails (15), Metal Finding, Medallion, Child Mannequin, Plastic Skeleton Skull, Star Finder, Ash Tray, Toy Diver , Resin and Paint.

2023 10 To Cheer A Heart In Flight From Truth

This assemblage began its life in the class Off-the-Wall Spontaneous Construction taught by Beth Hobby from September 29th to October 1, 2023.

Beth brought a ton of stuff to the class and my goal here was to use just her stuff and to build a piece in her style. It began with this faux clock she had as a give away.

One of the suggested mediums to use from Beth was Amber Shellac, a product I had use before with the additional technique of lighting it on fire while it was still wet. After I did this, painting on this assemblage became open season.

This is as far as the piece got in Mineral Point. I did work on it at home and here is the final project.

I decided to paint additional color onto the dyed rust paper on the substrate

Thus we have To Cheer A Heart In Flight From Truth. The title comes from the poem Love Of A Lie by Charles Baudelaire. It is 17"H X 17"W X 9"D. It consists of a Hubley Diecast WW II Navy Fighter Jet Bomber with Open Cockpit, Wood Circle, Rust Dyed Paper, Faux Clock, Drawer Pull, Number, Belt Buckle, Clay Heart, Wood Blocks (2), Paper and Paint. 



Saturday, October 7, 2023

2023 09 & 10 Two Shake Rag Alley Workshops

I had three workshops in a row at my favorite art spot in the world: Shake Rag Alley in Mineral Point, WI. I arrived on Thursday, September 28, 2023 and moved into my lodgings for the next eleven days. Unfortunately, due to a Covid-19 outbreak, the second workshop was shortened and the third was cancelled. But, let's concentrate on the positive and see what we did.

Off-the-Wall Spontaneous Construction

Sept 29-Oct 1, 2023

Instructor: Beth Hobby

Description: "This workshop is for those without preconceived notions. Your piece(s) may tell thought-provoking stories: humorous, gothic, steampunk, enigmatic, serious. Recognize happy accidents while turning weathered, rusty, whimsical, and incongruous items into really cool pieces of art. Turn cast-off junk into secrets in a box. Make ordinary objects other-worldly, such as a useless but epic bicycle, reliquary, an invented game, or a classic study. Paint your assemblage, glue it, nail it, staple it, break it, tie it, or pound it. Tear it up, turn it inside out. Your piece(s) might be grungy, pristine, rusty, or shiny, monochrome or colorful. Receive as much or as little feedback and help as you want, with ongoing group sharing in the daily mix."

This class took place in the Sardesson Space on Commerce Street. 

My workspace was at the top right

Beth brought a lot of goodies for the participants to wander through

Beth had three special projects for us to work on during the weekend. The first was a gift to the student to our left. I have no pictures of what I made in the 15 minutes allowed but it was made from a yogart container lid and was painted up with abandon.

The second project was a piece of jewelry we could wear that when asked, "Who are you?" we could point at it and say "I am an artist."

"Stopping Time"

The third project was a class project in which we all pitched in to make a piece of art. I started the ball rolling by painting the substrate. 

The substrate

My finished work on the substrate

The finished project after everyone contributed something

Beth is a marvelous assemblage artist who does not use paint like I normally have been trained to do. My goal in the class was to work more with a trust of the objects than a paint brush in my hand. I worked on two projects. (Each of these projects will be finished at home and then get its own discussion).

The first

The second

Creating Expressive Figures

Oct 1-6, 2023

Instructor: Kate Church

Description: "This five-day workshop will be a series of sessions working with polymer clay, cloth and mixed media materials to develop an expressive figure. Polymer clay practice will focus on facial expressions, and developing and creating hands and feet. Some may choose to work on several figures but this is an individual choice. Various ideas for finishing will be demonstrated. This opens the possibilities as you discover a character and choose how to interpret your figure. Basic work can then be completed using a choice of costuming, needle felting, collage, painting, found object assemblage or … all of the above."

This workshop took place in the Smeja Studio across the highway from the Shake Rag campus. My table is on the far left of this photo.

Here are the class samples Kate brought to inspire our creations. 

I have worked with Kate for at least three workshops and I still cannot sculpt like her. I feel that all my characters either look like goofs or are possibly dead. 

After the first two days of this workshop, we were shut down by Covid-19. I did get to work on a central project but I will save that for another post when I finish it at home. Because of the potential to be a carrier, I made the decision not to attend the workshop I had scheduled for the weekend. That was an altered book making workshop with Lorraine Reynolds which will have to wait for another day.

I would like to thank both instructors for a wonderful time and thank the Shake Rag Alley staff for all their hard work making sure we have a space to be creative in.