When making my own art, I tend to be inspired by medium over message. For the past couple years, I've been working primarily with old books, books on their way to the landfill, mostly using a tiny, sharp knife to carve them into diarama-like sculptures . . .
Funk & Wagnall's Standard Dictionary, Lobate-Z
Now We Are Six (A.A. Milne)
Le francais partout 1
A Treasury of Gilbert & Sullivan
. . . but, I've also tried my hand at carving magazines.
Vogue, December, 2008
I've "exploded" books . . .
First Aid, Fourth Edition
. . . and made mirrors from them . . .
And lately I've been horsing around with mixed media pieces involving books. Here is my latest piece of book-centered art:
The Complete Handyman Encyclopedia, vols. 21-26
I'm not about to give up on working with books. I don't think I've even come close to exhausting their potential, and besides, for better or worse the raw material is cheap and plentiful.
In the meantime, however, I've become enamored of another cheap and plentiful material: tree parts.
It started when I tried making these beads/blocks for the preschool, inspired by Ariella over at Childhood Magic.
This lead me into making these etched tree blocks . . .
Now these first two tree part efforts were intended as toys, but they gave me the art-making itch. Maybe it was the fragrance they release while being cut, or possibly just the beauty of the wood grain revealed in each cross-section . . . or it could simply be that the materials are cheap and plentiful around here, giving me the freedom to just experiment, but I'm hooked.
At the same time, since my journey to Artopia last weekend, I've been wanting to create a piece of interactive art. People always reach out to touch my carved books, to handle them and turn the pages, and they're just a little too delicate to take much of that. Then I came across this post over at Made By Joel and it all came together. This weekend, I made a Cookie Tree:
I've had it around the house for the past couple days. It's hard to walk by it without rearranging the cookies. At times I think it has a lot in common with a mobile, but it's also a lot like decorating a Christmas tree -- you can always find room for one more ornament.
I like the way she (it's definitely a girl) looks as if she's singing, dancing or posing depending on which angle you take.
Of course, in these pictures she's dressed in her full evening regalia. I'm sure she doesn't normally wear it all during the day!
I learned a lot making her. For instance, I'll use greener branches next time, the "seasoned" ones I collected in the yard seem a little too brittle for an interactive piece. But the next step is to install it at the school and let the kids play with it. That will teach me everything I need to know.
If you want to see more of my art, here's a link to my online gallery.