Wednesday, November 09, 2022

Last Two Found Object Mandalas before the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show

(Above:  My new booth design for the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

Monday was "Packing Day" ... the day when everything needed for Booth 303 at this year's Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show has to fit into the cargo van.  It is exciting and exhausting.  This year was also a bit scary because we did not get a place on our favorite aisle ... the 100 aisle.  Why is this our favorite?  Well, there's nothing but wide open space behind aisle 100.  It's like an amazing "storage area" for bubble wrap, packing boxes, and the crates used to transport my Found Object Mandalas.  Between most aisles is just a two foot space ... which is shared with the artist on the next aisle.  There are other options (like hauling this stuff back to the van in its long-term parking place or finding a spot in the provided storage room used by all the artists and show staff which isn't exactly convenient ... and our crates might tip over and damage another artist's extra artwork).  So, Steve and I designed our booth differently.  It isn't the full 10 in depth.  Thus, we have 14" in addition to the two feet behind our booth.  We also ordered shelves for the fiber vessels.  Because this is such a different set-up, we erected the booth in our parking lot before loading the walls into the cargo van.  We feel confident in this new design!  We also took plenty of photos so that we can re-do it again on Wednesday when we move into the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show!

(Above:  Mandala CXLV.  Custom framed:  24 1/2" x 24 1/2".  Found objects hand-stitched to a section of a vintage quilt.  Found objects include:  The face of an egg timer; a set of souvenir spoons; watches; green casino chips; eyeglass frames; plastic bottle lids; lime green and copper can pull tabs; hair clips; golf tees; external tooth lock washers; and buttons.)

Happily, I'll have two more Found Object Mandalas for Booth 303.  These are the last two finished and finally photographed ... and put into crates!

(Above:  Detail of Mandala CXLV.)

I've been collecting the souvenir spoons for months.  Finally, I had enough that looked good in a circular formation.  I'm still collecting ... especially since some of the ones I have are either too long or too short for a similar arrangement.

(Above:  Mandala CXLVI.  Custom framed: 32" x 32".  Found objects hand-stitched to a section of a vintage quilt.  Found objects include:  A copper pastry mold on a silver trivet; blue perm curlers; gold spoons; brass grommets floral wedding cake leaves; red adapters of 45 records; wooden blocks cut into half; blue, silver, purple, and orange plastic bottle lids; keys; copper hinges; silver brioche molds; odd 3D vintage gold metal embellishments that were labeled "buttons" but aren't buttons; two sets of metal numbers from 10 - 49; buttons and beads.)

I worried a lot about this colorful mandala.  Why?  Well ... the alphabet isn't all there.  I'm missing a G and an R.  After month, I never found wooden block the right size with the correct letters ... but what the heck! These were too pretty not to use!  Personally, I really couldn't recite the alphabet until middle school!  Even the song didn't help.  For me, there was always this "really long letter" in the middle ... the one that sort of blurred together LMNOP! LOL!

(Above:  Detail of Mandala CXLVI.)

I sort of decided to use the blocks after acquiring all the metal numbers.  I have a big bag of them.  After sorting, I realized that I didn't have a 5 or an 8.  There were only two 37s and 35s.  I don't know what these number were ever used for ... but there are over a dozen of every number in the 20s.  They end with 50.  So ... I started at 10 and went to 49 in two sets.  Each number had a hole above it.  I drilled all the holes underneath ... the the holes in the spoons and the blocks and the bottle caps!

(Above:  Detail of Mandala CXLVI.)

I hope some of these Found Object Mandalas find permanent homes at the upcoming show!

Monday, November 07, 2022

Two, commissioned Large Stained Glass pieces!

(Above:  Composite image of two commissioned Large Stained Glass horizontal artworks.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

Recently I was contacted by the Grovewood Gallery, a place I've been proud to have represent my artwork for over a decade.  A client wanted a Large Stained Glass piece for over her bed.  The work needed to a horizontal and slightly larger/taller than my normal size.  The finished/framed size was to measure 27" x 63"  (My usual size is 23" x 63").  The gallery asked me if I would make two pieces so that the client could have a selection.  The second one would immediately go on the gallery walls.  This sounded great to me ... especially since I was allowed to design the works and there would be no other input.  Creative freedom!  What a blast.  So the rest this blog post shows the process of making these two works!

(Above:  A composite image showing the pattern pieces for the foundation layer.  I had already sketched the basic design on graph paper.)
(Above:  The foundation piece of polyester stretch velvet ironed onto the substrata of recycled black industrial felt.  My entire stash of polyester stretch velvet already has Pellon 805/Wonder Under ironed to the reverse side.)
(Above:  Additional shapes of polyester stretch velvet are cut and layered onto the foundation pieces.)
(Above:  Even more shapes of polyester stretch velvet are cut and layered onto the surface.  Some of the layers are as deep as seven shapes on top of one another.  The image above shows the final design.  At this point, I iron another layer of Pellon 805/Wonder Under over the entire surface in order to iron strips of sheer chiffon scarves on top of everything.  The chiffon scarves create complex shifts of colors and also provide a smoother surface over which I can more easily do the self-guided free-motion machine embroidery.  I stitch with only 100% black cotton thread.  The thread is the only natural material in the entire process.
 (Above:  After stitching the entire piece, it is stapled to a stretcher bar.  This is to prevent the piece from shrinking during the final melting process.  In the image above, the strips of chiffon scarves are quite obvious.)

(Above:  I used two sizes of soldering irons to melt holes through the layers of polyester stretch velvet.  Some of the holes become "lines" as I drag the soldering iron through the material.  In the photo above, the stitching is more obvious ... especially the "little bridges" that link the foundation pieces.)
 (Above:  I always wear a carbon filtering ventilator mask to avoid breathing in the toxic fumes produced by melting polyester stretch velvet.  Ernie doesn't have a mask but he didn't stay too long in the garage while this step was being done.  Ernie does tend to supervise every step ... except for the final one.  The final step is exposing the entire surface to the intense heat of an industrial heat gun.  I start from the reverse and aim for the space between the foundation pieces ... the space linked by the "little bridges" of cotton thread.  This technique works because "Synthetics Melt" and "Naturals Don't Melt".  Everything except the thread is a synthetic.  Of course, if I kept aiming the heat gun at all this polyester stretch velvet, it would eventually melt into a plastic blob.  Of course, if I kept aiming the heat gun at the "little cotton bridges", they would eventually BURN.  The final step is rather quick and easy ... just melt away the excess felt between the foundation pieces.  It can be viewed on You Tube at: )
(Above:  One of the two commissions mounted on over-sized mat board.  After using the heat gun, I trim up the "fringe" ... which is simply another line of machine stitching ... sort of like a "little bridge to nowhere".  Some of the felt just gets caught in the cotton thread.  Then, I hand-stitch the piece to an over-sized piece of mat board and fit it into a black linen liner.  At this point, I wire the linen liner in order to capture photographs.  Pictures are taken while the piece is hanging on our garage door ... when the sun isn't shining on the door!  Finally, Steve puts the linen liner into the frame.  The glass is already in the frame and it thus between the frame and the liner.  This is important because this means the glass isn't touching the artwork.)
(Above:  Delivering the two pieces to the Grovewood Gallery.  I don't know which the client will take!  It is sort of exciting!  Steve and I delivered the work yesterday, Sunday morning.  Lots of people were shopping at the gallery!  Today ... we turned our attention to packing our cargo van.  Tomorrow we head north to the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show where I'll be in booth 303 with my Found Object Mandalas and Fiber Vessels.  Below are a few more detail shots of the two commissions.