Monday, May 21, 2012

on ivory, feathers and animal bits as ornamentation

"The Bull Leaper" 15th-century ivory figurine from the palace of Knossos, Crete

I worry about offending people, which is the reason I hesitate to use anything that even looks like old ivory. I mean, really, to say that it's pre-ban ivory doesn't make it okay; an elephant killed for its pieces is still a murdered elephant. Unless you've been desecrating an elephant graveyard or finding the actual skeleton itself. I guess if I'm walking the savannah and trip over a tusk, I could use that tusk without guilt.

I've sometimes questioned the acceptability of using of items depicting circus elephants. I don't think most captive, trained animals are happy.

And what about bones? Are they okay? I purchased some old ivory piano keys, intending to try my hand at scrimshaw.

Also, I'm reluctant to incorporate feathers in my pieces. Where are they coming from? I did find an already road-killed pheasant on a trip a couple of years ago, so I can use its feathers without guilt.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

general assemblages and musings on the ins and outs of tin

On my to-make list are a birdcage veil for my friend's wedding and a fancy hat for me; a belt for Mike's birthday; an unfinished mixed-media piece that includes tuning pegs and violin strings, as well as dovetail joints, encaustic wax, ephemera, brass findings, machine plaques, collage blocks and whatever else I decide to throw into that recipe; and jewelries incorporating tin elements.

I love the look of old tin, deconstructed and riveted and layered and waxed. I'm just trying to figure out how to do it. What keeps the paint from all flaking off when you manipulate the metal? Should you never soak a tin container to clean out its the beautiful Camphor Ice tin I bought then soaked to get the remaining camphor wax out of it, only to wreck most of it by making the design all cloudy and peeling?

How does one rivet? Do I have enough tools, the right tools? The aviation metal shears I just got may be too large for anything except breaking down the tins. I've been using tiny scissors--I think they're embroidery scissors--to make the fine cuts. I bought Renaissance wax to "seal" the pieces. I need techniques!

How far do I go in demolishing old tins to make something else out of them. What if I cut up a rare tin that a tin collector has been dying to find for his collection? Are people going to be offended? If I were more gregarious, I would reach out and ask one of the amazing artists who already make fabulous creations with tin, like these:

fofum's chicken badges

adaptive reuse's vesica pieces

Pig Like That

That's one distressed pig. Or maybe he's just loudly making a point. He hangs below a sunburst pewter button that hangs in turn from vintage steel chains. The necklace clasps at the side with an antique silver or silver-plated spring clasp. 

--vintage pot-metal pig, hollow, with 3.5 legs. Seems upset about something. One inch by one half inch
--vintage pewter button, one inch, no shank
--vintage steel jack chain from a watch fob
--vintage steel beaded rosary chain
--antique silver spring clip
--sterling MGA logo tag


Bad Joke (apologies in advance)

A city guy visits a country guy, who proudly gives the city guy a tour of the farm...silos, cribs, coops, paddocks, sty. At the sty, city guy looks over and sees a pig with three legs. The pig is splendid, rosy and clean.

"Why does that pig have only three legs?" asks city guy.

"Oh," says country guy, "there's a story for you. One time in the dead of night, we heard the screen door banging hard and ran down to see what the ruckus was, and there was that pig. Then we smelled smoke and realized the house was on fire. That there pig's a hero!"

"Okay," says city guy, "but what happened to his leg?"

"Then another time," country guy continues, "my boy was out front of the house. He'd gone after his cat and was sitting there playing with it in the middle of the road, when out of nowhere, that pig comes rushing at him and shoves him into the ditch. Second later, a big ol' truck comes barrelin' down the road. That pig saved my boy's life. That pig's a hero!"

"Okay, okay, but why's he got only three legs?"

"Well...a pig like that you don't eat all at once."

If Time Is an Engine

An antique glass crystal rectangle wrapped at the edges in brass filigree hangs from the dog clip and spring ring of an antique gold filled watch chain, with brass rolo chain at the neck, closing with an antique spring ring clasp. Trailing down the back of the neck is a strand of vintage etched and faceted brass links, punctuated at the end with a crystal bead from a vintage rosary flanked by two tiny antique cut steel beads from France.

--antique glass crystal rectangle wrapped in brass filigree
--antique 12k gold filled watch chain with fancy links
--brass rolo chain
--antique brass spring ring clasp
--vintage faceted, etched brass chain
--crystal bead from a vintage rosary
--two tiny antique cut-steel beads from France


From "The Mystery of Meteors" --Eleanor Lerman

If Time Is an Engine

There are sunflowers on the path where I go
and lacewings rising from the fields
With each step I take, I know more surely
that this is the way

If time is an engine, then it was created in a dream
If love is an engine, then the dreamer weeps
If memory is an engine, then it will carry the dreamer away

But there are sunflowers on the path where I go
and the dog is at my heel. There is a gate
and a meadow beyond. There is a stream

The sky is blue by day, blue in the evening
but I know the way of the hidden stars
and I'm still alive, I still know secrets
There is nothing I have left undone

So my keys are on the table. You can sell my
clothes. Rust, rust is affecting the machinery
But I am not needed. The machines can be repaired

For if time is a cathedral, then I have lived in the cathedral
If love is a cathedral, then I have lived in splendor
If memory is a cathedral, then I remember everything

but now pass by. And there are sunflowers
on the path where I go. The dog is at my heel
There is a gate and a meadow beyond
There is a stream

Saturday, May 19, 2012

new pieces for Hollywood Dell Art Show tomorrow

Bee Ring (celluloid bee, bone ring)

Bread & Honey (vintage aluminum ad tokens)

G.E.T. O.U.T. (antique sword-belt chain)

Lamp Beyond the Wardrobe (deco aluminum necklace, walking-stick emblem)

My Stars (celluloid, brass)

True Blue (cut steel buckle part and dachshund button)