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little anchors – examining the objects i paint

Lotsa squares. Burrows. Flattened crawlspaces.

All these symbols, made of plastic, are populating my studio, photographs and paintings.

I’m putting parts of myself in them. They are reliquaries, produced en masse by Hasbro or Mattel, containing sacred bits of little girl Libby.

I’ve given these pieces to those I love. I’ve left them on doorsteps and beneath pillows. I’ve been like a cat that brings dead birds to her masters.

They are little anchors to drop in another’s life. Sometimes their chains get yanked back.

I’ve left paintings in trees with the hope they’d be found. I’ve left messages with chalk on rocks to be washed away. I’ve made others participate in my scavenger hunt.

When I played with Barbies, I preferred building and designing the doll’s house. I wanted to build the spaces they’d exist in. Maybe I’ve always treated life like a diorama.

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repeating shapes – letting myself work intuitively

My Intro to Sculpture class at PAFA, taught by artist Steve Nocella, was much more fulfilling than I expected. Working in 3D tends to stress me out. I don’t think my mind works that way. Or rather, I haven’t trained it to. Or maybe that’s just something I was told earlier in life that I’ve let it take root.

This is the class I also built my kaleidoscope in.

Sculpture class macaroni experiment

This first project is, you’re right, essentially pasta art! It was a funny way to start the class. The assignment was to construct something with store bought packaged goods. So, maybe to be a smart ass, I bought pasta penne, flour, paper plates, tooth picks and cupcake liners. Behold my masterpiece! I basically made the round bases with paper mache. It was a mess. It even smelled and molded before completely drying. But it being a gross mess is what made it fun. I put it together with no plan. It’s like a sci-fi cloud city. Except made out of wheat products.

This then led me to make some meteors out of paper mache, styrofoam balls and toilet paper rolls. The goal is to make objects to use in future still life paintings so that I am not beholden to glass bottles and tea kettles next semester.

papermache meteors

The photos below are fired white clay that we built into shapes as a one day shot project.

clay experiments

Repeating shapes are a lot like little anxieties that never truly go away. Going through the same motions. There are patterns to recognize. Letting myself work more intuitively is challenging but also therapeutic. I believe it might be a bit like meditation(that golden place in your mind I don’t know how to reach, at least not through sitting in the quiet or listening to guidance podcasts).

It was like doodling mindlessly. Which is something I can’t seem to do anymore. It felt very strange playing with the clay and returning to that place. It’s like I forget how to do it with a pen/pencil/paintbrush, but something in my hands still remembers.

There wasn’t time to glaze them, so I decided to embellish them with acrylic paint I have left over from years ago.

I’m glad these projects unlocked that more childish way of creating. I am hoping it will help me sketch more creatively and naturally. I assume this is a problem others have, considering there is a whole slew of Skillshare classes about creating a sketchbook practice and so on.

To me, they initially seemed corny, but now I think they are addressing a kind of creative constipation we all suffer from sometimes.

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psychic device – sculpture class

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These are certainly not portfolio worthy pictures, but behold! My kaleidoscope/diy magic 8-ball monstrosity!

I put this together while taking an intro to sculpture class last semester. The project was to create a sculpture based on a toy. I’m not sure if mine isn’t just a toy, but I had ‘a time’ putting this beast together. I learned a lot about PVC pipes and all sorts of fun, useful bits you can find at the hardware store.

Pardon the window stripping part in the below video. If I make another one, which I will, the goal is to find something more attractive than window stripping to hold the globe in place but that is still also removable. So much of this project was trouble shooting that putting any part of it together in a permanent way would have been disaster. For the most part, I could clumsily disassemble it and then put it back together.

This isn’t the first time I tried my hand at making a ‘psychic device’. Check out a kaleidoscope I made for a show at the VA MOCA in this old post here.

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inside kaleidoscope