Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Liquidambar Gallery Show Entry

I am so excited! I just submitted a piece of mine for a show for the first time ever! 

Liquidambar is a gallery in Pittsboro, NC. The owner asked the members of the Carolina Mixed Media Art Guild to submit pieces of art for possible hanging at her gallery. 
Liquidambar art gallery

So I worked on my Frances piece. You can read about it here and see more pictures. But here's a quick peek. I just dropped it off at the gallery today and am quite excited. The owner seemed pleased with it because she said everyone else had submitted paintings. I guess variety is a good thing in a gallery show. 
my assemblage art

I think pricing the piece may have been the hardest part. I have absolutely no idea where my price lies. I almost just picked a number. I find that as a newbie I tend to undervalue my work. Also I am a major league cheapskate so I have little frame of reference for what most people are willing to spend. In fact I am gobsmacked by what many people spend. 

Here are a few pictures of Pittsboro which is a very pretty small town. This is the 1881 courthouse that burned a few years ago. Fortunately it was restored and reopened earlier this year.
historic Pittsboro courthouse

Quaint little downtown
downtown Pittsboro

with some great little shops.
Pittsboro downtown shops

 I was curious about the name of the gallery and had guessed that it was an invented name. Then I Googled the gallery name to look up their hours and hit upon many pages on Liquidambar. Turns out it's the species of the sweet gum tree. Ergo this sign.
Liquidambar art gallery sign

Friday, July 26, 2013

How do you get earrings from antique theatrical vests?

I've told you about my antique theatrical vests. Some of them are beginning to fall apart, and I have salvaged some gorgeous metal components from them. I love that they are from before 1930 - the age gives them a beautiful patina. And that they're from New York. Who knows what shows these may have been worn in. 

So here are some earrings that I made with these very historic parts. 
These brass rings came from one of the antique vests. I added these beads that are probably agate.
upcycled assemblage earrings

Since I use recycled jewelry parts, I can't be sure they are agate, but they certainly look like it.
antique brass hoops with recycled agate bead earrings

 These textured copper hoops also were salvaged from one of the antique vests. The faceted beads dangling in the center are much more beautiful than the photos can convey. They are from a 1940's era graduated glass bead necklace. I have seen a number of these necklaces, and the color of these is unique. 
recycled assemblage earrings

 It doesn't photograph well, but the beads are a subtle grayish lavender. It's quite faint but lovely. And it contrasts well with the shades of copper. 
antique hammered brass hoops with 1930's faceted glass bead earrings

Copper has been used by man for 10,000 years. A copper pendant has been found in Iraq that dates to 8700 BC. Because copper is so beautiful, it was represented by the goddess of love in Greek and Roman mythology.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

My Reliquary

I just finished my assemblage piece that I'm going to take to Liquidambar Gallery in Pittsboro. If selected, it will hang for a two month show this August and September. I titled it "Reliquary: Frances circa 1932".

I didn't take any pictures of the piece in progress; I was too focused. Anyway here goes...

I centered this piece around this photo of my grandmother and my father. I've always been drawn to this picture. While I used the photo and name of my grandmother for this project, the piece isn't really about her. She died when I was very young, and I don't know enough about her life to tell her story. So this is the story of my imaginary Frances.
antique photo.

Here's a picture of the whole piece. If you look on the right edge of the photo, you'll see the paw of my little helper, Ginger.
artwork 3D collage

Here's a detailed view of the recessed interior of the main box. I want the rest of the piece to tell a story of this beautiful woman's life.
assemblage art piece

This is the 'roof' compartment. It holds lace, pearls, and an elegant ring. 
vintage lace, vintage ring and recycled pearls

Here are views of the three small compartments in the base. 

Seashells and a conch egg case,

dried hydrangea, and 
vintage dried flowers

 game pieces. Even a vintage Lotto card.
vintage carpenter's rule, vintage Lotto card, and recycled game pieces

These next two pictures show details of the decoration framing the center. Here is an antique letter and a piece of a vintage folding carpenter's rule.
vintage letter

I woke up one morning and the first thought I had was that I needed to add this row of dots to the piece. It's so strange how the brain works.
vintage sheet music collage

 And a final view of the entire piece. 
my finished artwork

Thanks for looking.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Assemblage Earrings with More Paper Beads

Just made this pair of earrings with more of the paper beads. I like the antique brass chain with the black and white beads and the dark pearl.
assemblage earrings

I love the color of the pearls against my rusted antique fence piece. The earrings are resting on a giant stylized leaf shape in the center of the panel.
assemblage earrings

 This pair is nice and colorful - perfect for spring and summer. It features beads made from book pages that I marbled. All the beads were recycled from a lightbulb cover. 
recycled earrings paper beads

 And one last look. 
colorful assemblage earrings

When electric lighting was new, ceiling lights were bare bulbs and were very bright. To soften the glare, people covered the bulbs with beads woven into a mesh with wire. Since then bulb covers have come in and out of fashion as an accessory rather than a necessity.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Eclectic Star Button Necklace

Since I finished my wire-wrapped paper beads, I've been dying to make some more jewelry with them. It's funny how creativity begets creativity. While I'm making a necklace with the paper beads, I get more ideas for future necklaces. 

Anyway, here's my most recent creative output.
assemblage necklace with star button

 The beads are all recycled from necklaces, and I upcycled the etched circle in the center from a vintage belt.
assemblage necklace with star button

 I love the brass star button. I hammered it to flatten it some and drilled it for hanging. The paper bead is made from a page in a vintage book that had yellowed beautifully.
assemblage necklace with paper button

I love how all the colors and textures play so well together. And it hangs so gracefully.
assemblage necklace with star button

When America first began manufacturing brass, buttons were the first brass items to be produced. The buttons were then traded by itinerant peddlers.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Another Necklace with a Marbled Paper Bead

I'm still having fun using the wire-wrapped paper beads that I made. This time I used one that was made from a page from a book that I marbled by hand on my front porch. Overlooking our beautiful mini park. So I feel that it is full of good energy.
assemblage necklace with marbled paper bead

 I added these carved bone rose beads and stone beads that look like jasper to me. Like most of my materials, they are recycled. So I cannot be certain what they are made of.
closeup of vintage ruler and recycled beads

 I added a piece of a vintage carpenter's rule. I used my bandsaw to cut it, then sanded and waxed it with beeswax to enhance the wood. I'm often amused by the reactions people have to my jewelry with rulers. Evidently you either get it (and love it) or you don't get it at all. And age doesn't seem to predict which camp you belong to.
closeup of marbleized paper bead and vintage ruler

 This picture gives you a better look at the marbled paper bead. And the recycled acrylic teardrop dangle. 
assemblage necklace made of vintage parts

 Here you can see how all the colors work together.  I love necklaces that dangle in the decolletage. It's very alluring.
assemblage necklace

The word Jasper means "spotted or speckled" stone. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

My Antique Theatrical Vests

 I was in Maine about fifteen years ago and bought a box of costume vests at an antique shop. They are exquisitely made with velvets, silks, and Victorian metal lace trims. Some of them look like gypsy vests and some seem more Shakespearean. 

There was a manufacturer's tag on the vests. I researched the company and found out that it was a New York theatrical costume company that went out of business in the Great Depression. Think what plays these might have been in and what actors may have worn them I love that sense of history.

I thought you'd like to see some of them. This one has terrible staining under the arms unfortunately. All the trim around the edges is antique metal trim. Absolutely gorgeous!
green antique theatrical vest

 You can see where the velvet on this one is beginning to lose some of its nap. This one has more metal trim and brass hoops. And some stamped tin disks that are dyed.
black velvet antique vest

Here's a closer look at the metal trim.
metal lace trim

metal lace trim and sequins

  See the metal trim.
Another velvet one. This combines metal trim with embroidered ribbon and hand sewn sequins.
red velvet antique vest

And the back - isn't it beautiful?
back of red velvet antique vest

 Royal blue velvet with still more metal trim. And hand sewn sequins.
velvet antique clothing - vest

 I love this one. It looks Shakespearean to me.
antique vest costume

 Here's a closer look at the sleeve. It has ribbon and yarn trim. The bodice has hand sewn sequins and ribbon trim.
antique vest clothing

This is a detail of the bead work on the back of one of the vests.
beaded flower on antique vest

This is the decoration on one side of a black velvet vest. Still more metal trim work, hand sewn sequins, brass hoops, and fabric that appears to be silk.
closeup of silk and antique metal lace trim

 It looks like the fabric was stunning in its day. I also love the scrollwork in the metal trim.
antique vest

Aren't they gorgeous? My daughter has claimed one of them and wears it occasionally. I have already salvaged pieces off one of the vests that was in terrible condition. I've used some of the hoops to make earrings. I love the feeling of history when I wear them. Maybe that will be tomorrow's post.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Eclectic Necklace (I told you I couldn't wait to make something with my paper beads.)

Remember when I made all these wire-wrapped paper beads? 
my handmade wire-wrapped paper beads

 So here's what I made today.
vintage assemblage necklace

 Here's one of the paper beads. I also used two vintage brass buttons that I hammered and drilled on my monster drill press. And added vintage pearls.
vintage brass buttons

 This is the hinge from an antique carpenter's folding ruler. I used my bandsaw to cut the ruler, then sanded all the edges, and waxed the wood with beeswax. Then I suspended a very old key underneath.
necklace with antique key, vintage ruler,

 I love the patina of age on the key. And the great shape - why can't keys look like this now?
antique key

 See how it looks on my manikin. I love the colors of the recycled ruler. And the textural contrast with the vintage pearls. I'll have to take this one out for a test drive soon and see what people say.
vintage assemblage necklace.

I remember playing with my Dad's old folding ruler in the garage. I used to love to fold it and unfold it. And make shapes with it.