Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Art of Clutter

My  husband calls me a "hoarder" which I adamantly deny.  Not only can you easily walk through my house, everything is usually put away in it's place, be it a cupboard, closet, or box.  Now, it is true that the cupboards, closets and boxes are numerous, and are stuffed to the gills, however, I am not a hoarder.

One thing I am supposed to be (besides a vintage seller and blogger) is an artist.  I am trying to get myself back into the swing of creating, so am happy to show a recently completed piece here (see top pic).  My medium is "mixed" and although I left for art school doing highly detailed technical drawings, I graduated cutting, pasting and building in much the same way I enjoyed working on creative projects in my youth!  I see this as a credit, not a criticism of my undergraduate school, The School of Visual Arts.  I loved the place, had wonderful professors, met fantastic friends and was truly inspired and encouraged. 

It is precisely because I work in collage and mixed media that I have so many things tucked away for years in my studio. I especially enjoy working with old objects with great graphics, patina and history, so, if I find something good, I squirrel it away!

 One of the things I liked about this recent piece I completed, is that I used a number of items in it that I had had for years.  I had these objects rattling around in my brain with regard to how they'd be used, but, I let them all come together with this piece.  The vintage spinning game board, tin litho tambourine, even the chinese game (which I purchased "new" in 1985 and is now "vintage!") have been hanging around just waiting to be used.  Here, they meld perfectly.  I also decided to snap pics as I put this project together.  I do not usually document my process, so I thought it was about time.  Above you can see how I begin: I basically go through everything I own, pull out anything and everything that I think might work in the piece, and start laying things out to see how they work together.

Actually beginning to glue objects down is the hardest step of all!  Once I get going though, I typically work pretty fast.

This project involved a lot of carpentry - cutting, drilling, clamping, screwing, and nailing! - here I am clamping the bottom section into place to make sure it lines up the way I want it before painting it.

Many steps, waiting, consideration and clutter is involved while the whole thing is in process.

More clamping of the final, painted section to the board.   (The nozzles are weight for gluing.)

...and once again...the final piece!  This will be included in a juried show in Pawtucket, Rhode Island that runs through September and October.  I'll post the details and link here when I have them.  If you wish to see more of my work, click here

Related to this artwork, and, the fact that I have collected many, many items over the years is this 1950's writing book.  I knew I wanted to use some images that related to children in school learning to write.  I thought I had something somewhere, and, sure enough, in between two old geography books on the shelf was this little gem.

 Dating to 1954, this book from Whitman had everything I was looking for plus more!  The lessons were perfect, and, because certain pages were relevant to the message of the art, I used even more than I'd originally anticipated.  Also, I love the fact that the book was completed.  The actual child's writing in graphite added a quality I would not have been able to duplicate with my own hand.

I snapped some photos as I flipped through the book as I wanted to be able to share them here with you!

 Ted gets such great "boy" gifts that are classically 1950's!

 While dutiful daughter Betty runs womanly errands to the store for mom.

At least it does show Ted helping out mom too!

Classic roles and imagery for sure - but perfect for my project!  I hope you enjoyed this little tour of the art, the clutter, the process and the writing book. 


  1. Fantastic! Love seeing the process that leads to your beautiful art.


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