I’d noticed that you guys were curious about the Spinal Pendant I wore in my short, glass-engraving video, so I thought that perhaps you’d enjoy knowing more about it. I made it for myself as a one of a kind project, but seeing how it caught your attention, I’m considering making it available to you as well.
The pendant is manufactured from original feline vertebrae and cast in Sterling Silver. The remains of this kitty were found on the side of the road, after it’d been struck by a car, but I’d like to think that a part of it still lives on in this wearable silver sculpture. This is a very sensual piece of jewellery because it’s free-moving. There are 15 joints connecting 16 vertebrae, which makes it very bendable. I’m always playing with it. Stroking it brings an odd comforting sensation that helps me concentrate, kind of like moving a rosary between ones fingers. Or like petting a cat.
I’ve used these bone molds before in a couple of my doll projects, such as the Beetle and the Crow, but this jointing system is more advanced and realistic than my previous attempts. It gives a better range of movement while maintaining perfect alignment. And, to smoothly transition from the pendant to the chain, sculpted a double-bail at the top of the biggest vertebrae in the shape of human pelvis.
I’ve spent the last week brushing up on my glass-working skills by making a practice display box. It turned out with a decidedly Victorian flair, which was likely inspired by seeing Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak two weeks ago.
What a wonderful Gothic scary-fairy tale for grown ups! It wasn’t so much about ghosts or monsters, as much as it was about monstrous people. I think it had a lot of nuance and reminded me of actual Victorian era crimes of serial killers George Joseph Smith and H.H Holmes. I think the film might have been partly influenced and informed by them. But I digress.
I constructed my practice display case from glass recycled from my old picture frames, and then engraved the door with high-speed diamond tip burs. Making it was a lot of fun: scoring and cutting the glass, soldering it together with brass came and assembling it into a functional object. Twice over. It turns out I’m terrible at measuring. The hinges gave me the most trouble, but I eventually conquered them .
Machine glass-engraving is a more recent interest of mine. Last year I wanted to make some monogrammed glass terrariums as Christmas gifts for my family, and decided to try it out and see where it went. Engraving this case was my 3rd engraving project since then and a good exercise for a certain future piece I’m planning.
I’m an urban, high-rise apartment dweller. My living-working-gardening space is limited. Some people have breakfast nooks or solariums next to their kitchens, but my breakfast nook is a Machine Room, which also doubles as my Hanging Gardens. About a year ago I read on the news that just looking at growing things and being near them increases our emotional well-being and productivity, and since then I kind of lost my mind and developed a bit of a plant hoarding problem. I currently have 120.
Living alongside my manufacturing equipment always creates a frustrating functionality-vs-aesthetic conflict because I hate visual clutter. I need my machines/tools because they help me make art, so I try to integrate them into my home decor as best as I can and still be comfortable living amongst them. It takes a lot of curating. Feels like a game of Tetris sometimes.
Needless to say, my machines and I are very close. Sometimes late at night I throw some rugs down on the cold tile floor, pour some tea, light candles for atmosphere and just hang out with them while pretending we’re in a lovely garden. It’s kinda nice.
Hey fellow Vancouverites! My large doll Glorianna is going to be on display in down town Vancouver, Monday, Sept 21st as a part of an installation at the Dinner by Design gala. Sorry for the short notice, bit it was a bit of a short notice for me too. Initially I was planning to show 3 small dolls, but the space was too cavernous, so I made a last minute switch to one large doll instead.
What is Dinner by Design?
“Monogram Dinner by Design brings together internationally celebrated designers and local talent to create three-dimensional dining installations that awe, inspire and delight. These extraordinary dining environments — from the lavish and romantic to the outrageous and whimsical.”
There were large rooms containing “tablescapes”, small unique dining rooms carefully crafted by different designers. Sunday and Monday the dining installations are on display for viewing (public viewing 11-3 on Monday), and then the installations come alive at the Gala dinner on Monday night. Proceeds from the event are going to The Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research.
More info on the event can be found here: http://dinnerxdesign.com/dxd-vancouver.html
Hola doll lovers! You may or may not have noticed, but this summer I literally put doll-making on a shelf and left it there for 3 months.
This little favourite of mine has been sitting on this shelf in her fancy Chinoiserie house robe for 2 months, with no one but a tin fish-pet for company. My lovely Pilea plant demonstrates the time’s passage quite well, as it gradually swallows her up with its growing juicy foliage. Another month in this spot, and she’ll disappear from view!
There have been some rumblings of discontent and a growing restlessness at my prolonged absence and ‘abandonment’, but I really needed this time off due to a quite severe burn out. I love making dolls, but that is not the only thing I love doing. There are numerous non-doll art projects that have been simmering on my back burner for several years because dolls always took priority. It got to the point where I could no longer paint another doll eyelash or sew another bead on yet another doll dress without feeling sad and resentful and pressured by expectations.
So, this summer of 2015 was my creative break from dolls and my indulgence in other art forms. I built furniture! I designed interiors! I reorganized and cataloged all my beads and began renovating my art studio. I delved into horticulture! I went on wilderness adventures! I hung out with friends, sometimes in the wilderness. I took (and passed) a swift river rescue certification course in Montana! I even ordered a colouring book on Amazon (Secret Garden by Johanna Basford) and spent days laying in the grass, sipping cold beer and blissfully colouring in somebody else’s drawings without any concern for my doll output – something I would normally consider to be utterly pointless and detrimental to my productivity! But it wasn’t – it was a pressure release valve.
And today I walked into my studio and noticed this doll on the shelf half-swallowed by a plant, and I thought:” Hey you. Long time – no see”…and I began to dream of dolls again.
Where does the time go? One minute you’re excitedly digging out your bathing suit and sun-dresses, and the next moment summer is almost over! I’m sorry I haven’t been blogging more, too much time spent outside, and then when I am inside I’m furiously working on whatever has currently captured my attention. I hope everyone is enjoying the warm months and getting plenty of chances to explore the great outdoors.
On to dolls.
I present, another little Echo sister in French Resin as a part of a promotion for the Chinese Enchanted Doll book, release by my publishers TXRiver! This Oriental beauty is another variation in my ongoing limited edition ‘Echo’ series, featuring a brand new hair ornament – a set of five tiny silver hair combs! I’ve been dreaming about making a lovely comb set for my future Enchanted dolls every since I read ‘The Gift of the Magi’ in my junior-high literature class. And now this Echo Sister is the first doll to be wearing them in her luscious hair. Woo! Another dream realized!
How do you buy this doll you ask?
The doll will be sold through my Chinese publishers TXRiver, and they are having a draw. Only those that order a book directly from them (http://world.taobao.com/item/43715713846.htm?fromSite=main) can enter the draw, and the randomly selected participant will have the opportunity to buy. The doll is being sold for $5700 USD. The draw will occur when this edition of the book has been sold out, which I’m being told is almost upon us! (Still some left, but going fast!).
Take a look!
You can order the book here: http://world.taobao.com/item/43715713846.htm?fromSite=main
On Friday this doll was shipped out to the winner of the 2015 annual Enchanted Doll Birthday Contest Kristen V, for her tattoo idea inspired by gender equality issues! The contest took place back in March, at the time of my birthday, but it took me a little bit longer to finish the grand prize. Kristen, I hope you like your doll. I really enjoyed making her for you, and I look forward to making one for next year’s Birthday Contest!
Last week I took a few days off engraving my new porcelain doll codenamed: ‘Madman P‘, to finally finish making a resin doll prize for this year’s winner of my annual Birthday Contest. It was a welcome change for my engraving hand and my routine after a few months of doing basically the same thing. Even art can get boring without variety.
I had spent oh, maybe 2-3 solid days fighting with all of my mohair to make a wig for this girl. With the drought going on right now, it was so static-y and frizzy….and with the glue drying so wonky, I basically just wanted to set everything on fire in my bathtub and watch it burn. But, as usual, it all worked out in the end. Can’t make a good doll without a good struggle, and this doll turned out extra-good! Stay tuned for more pictures next week.
So for over a year now, I’ve been steadily working on a project under the code name of Madman P.
I’m not going to tell you much more about her just yet, as she is at the stage where she will begin to reveal herself pretty quickly from now on. The thought makes me giddy. I’ve never thrown my doll a wrap-party before, but I think she may warrant one, as she had nearly taken my sanity to the kiln with her. Although, at two-thirds of the way through, there’s still time to lose my mind.
Before I can begin painting Madman P., I’ve got to test some brand new china-paints, so now I’m going to get on my skates, or possibly a Razor scooter and roll on over to the local tile shop for some porcelain tiles to paint. This brand is geared more towards painting dishes than dolls, so I’m not sure if the flow and consistency will work, but I’m hoping to be able to adapt them to my application. Time to go and finish Madman P. before I go mad-my-self.