Sunday, January 21, 2024

2024 01 She Didn't Know What To Do


There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.
She had so many children, she didn’t know what to do;
She gave them some broth without any bread;
Then whipped them all soundly and put them to bed.

Way back in 2021 I took a workshop with Michael deMeng at Shake Rag Alley in Mineral Point, WI, called Fabulous Fantastical Shoe Shrines. One of the most complex of the structures I thought about never go finished.

It started with something I rarely do: a preliminary sketch of the idea. (Please note: sketch talents are not Da Vinci like, are they?).

As things turned out, the sketch was really close to the finished project.

Although this was a shoe shrine class, I thought it would be fun to use a shoe shine box as the substrate. I added the casters to the box to begin the process of making it wagon-like. 

While I did not find myself confined by the sketch, it was an interesting process to work steo-by-step in a pre-planned way. Next step was to papier mache the box. 

This Hummel-like figure of an old woman carving apples got converted into the merry murderer by changing the apples to skulls. 

The shoe got modified into her brick shoe house with some paint. 

I think these are coat hangers (maybe towel holders) that once attached to the wagon gave it a Victorian hearse like feel.

Thus we have, She Didn't Know What To Do. It is 22"H X 15"W X 5"D. It consists of a Shoe Shine Box, Boot, Old Lady Carving Apples Statute, Horse Pull Toy, Baby Dolls (25), Skulls (Multiple). Casters (4) and Towel Hangers (2).

Sunday, January 14, 2024

2024 01 A Quarantine of Cultivated Silence


In a year past, Denice and I took a road trip down the Mississippi River with Memphis as our eventual goal. We came across a place that has haunted both of us since we were there: a graveyard of children. Our speculation was that there might have been a plague (perhaps the Spanish flu?) that would require a community to mourn the loss of some many young children.

It also was a reminder of how hard it was in years' past to raise a family; many families loss young people as they tried to establish their family. As this piece came together, because of the photographs I selected, it came to me that would be theme of this work. 

Previously I had used a chair as a substrate which in my world means I buy all the appropriate cheap chairs I can find with the hopes of finding another reason to use this form.

The first pairing in this assemblage was the large family photograph I had with a wooden folding chair from my stash. 

I had another item in my stash that I wanted to work with as a substrate. While I probably would have worked on its own, I decided that it felt "vintage" enough to fit the time period of the photos that I wanted to use. I disassembled the banjo and got rid of the skin so that I could use the interior as a niche. 

Lately, for whatever reason, I have fallen in love with using resin. 

Sometimes saving the goofiest stuff comes in handy. I have no idea where I got this cheap plastic from form but after it was covered with papier mache it worked really well for this gallery of lost children. 

Just a few days ago I visited my friend Robin who gifted me this wire form that works as branches. While looking for something circular to put behind the upper part of this chair, it occurred to me that it would work better here. 

The banjo got re-strung with linen thread. 

Thus we have, A Quarantine of Cultivated Silence. The title comes from the poem Installation by Monica Youn. It is 36"H X 18"W X 9"D. It consists of a Folding Chair, Banjo, Photographs (6), Decorative Plastic Frame, Wire Tree Form, Metal Findings (2), Clock Face, Beads, Resin, Linen Thread, Paper and Paint.