Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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Art I Created This Summer

I’m embarrassed to see that I haven’t posted an update since the beginning of August. The month passed quicker than I expected. And though I thought about posting something here or there, my priorities were focused elsewhere. So, much like that first essay the teachers used to make us write in grade school, here are some pictures of art that I worked on this summer.

Anemia

Anemia is an art doll that I first wrote about in June. Here are a few pictures of the finished piece. I hope to some day share more about the process of Anemia’s creation.

Anemia-Detail

Anemia-Detail

Anemia-Detail 2

Anemia-Detail 2

Anemia

Anemia

Trees Through The Forest

This piece was first introduced to you during the month of July.

More progress was shared in the early part of August

This piece now hangs at the Nashoba Valley Winery in Bolton, MA in the Bolton Artisans Guild’s display “Themes From Our Town” as part of Bolton’s 275th anniversary celebration. A few pictures of the finished piece is below. (Click on the first photo to start the slide show.)

Inspiration From Nature

As summer moves forward in our garden, I often find interesting mold and fungus sprouting on the mulch. Some of it can be both intriguing and repulsive. For a long time I’ve wanted to make something inspired by these molds and fungi. And this summer, a technique I found in Cynthia Tinapple’s new book, Polymer Clay Global Perspectives, made creating these fungi pods a lot easier.

For lack of a better phrase, as this work in progress as no formal name, this piece is simply inspired by nature.

The Inspiration-Pod Fungus

The Inspiration-Pod Fungus

Creating Hollow Pods

Creating Hollow Pods

A Few Pods with Texture

A Few Pods with Texture

What did you create this summer?


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New Art Friday: Revisiting An Art Doll

This week I’m sharing with you an art doll I made in 2009 during my first visit to La Cascade in Dufort, France.

This is an art doll that is an example of why you must think through your design and construction process. I had only thought through part of the process back in 2009. It is a challenge to create a piece in a limited amount of time and consider all angles of the process. That’s okay. I’ve learned that it’s completely fine to walk-away with a less than perfect piece.

Back to the Beginning

The workshop in Dufort was with my friend Dayle Doroshow. You can read about it here and here.

By the time I started working on this art doll, we had visited Revel, Soreze, the Farmers Market, the vide grenier, and Albi. I was feeling inspired by all the gargoyles in the area and chose an old office rubber stamp as the base for my doll’s head. (I bought a bag of these stamps at the vide grenier with the intent of using them as art doll “heads.”) I sculpted the head onto the handle of the stamp, wrapped his “neck” around the stem of the handle, embellished and antiqued the head.

Dufort Art Doll head
Amy A. Crawley (2012)

I decided to cover an empty cardboard matchbox with polymer and incorporated it into the body of this art doll. This was something new for me as I had only made hollow-core art doll bodies up to this point. The matchbox is embellished with a piece of napkin, a small sunflower (le tournesol) and a face bead.

Dufort art doll mid-section
Amy A. Crawley (2012)

Now in between his head and his torso is a long cane-embellished snake with two little paw-like hands at either end. These became the arms for the art doll. Using a similar technique I created his long legs and feet.

Dufort art doll legs
Amy A. Crawley (2012)

So there I am with four sections, a head, arms, torso, and legs. Somewhere in the process I had decided that I was going to “string” all the parts together, kind of like a marionette. This is where the construction part became interesting.

Dayle’s lovely husband Dan found a drill at La Cascade. We measured (“eyeballed” really) the horizontal part of the stamp (where the rubber portion would have been attached) and Dan drilled two holes into the wood. Then I set about measuring some buna cord. I laid out each piece and strung the head portion to the arms and torso.

Where this got interesting was hoping I measured each piece of buna cord correctly (i.e: evenly) so that the art doll’s top portion would be balanced. It almost worked. He has a very slight unevenness in his right/left balance. But that just adds to his character.

Stringing the legs to the torso was a bit easier as the buna cord is glued into holes at the base of the torso and top of each leg. But again, I had to measure rather accurately so he wouldn’t have one leg hand lower than the other. (What is that old adage, “measure twice, cut once.”)

Back Home

My intent in creating this art doll was to have him hang on the wall. After returning home I added the feathers to his head. Then I attempted to hang him on the wall.

And his head immediately drooped over. His head was too heavy. Wah.

For whatever reason my brain insisted that the only way to mount the piece on the wall was to hang it from a nail placed under the wood stamp. And would you believe this approach stayed stuck in my head for quite some time?

I thought about creating a hook on the back. For some reason my brain got stuck on the idea that to create a hook, I’d have to drill into the back of the stamp handle.

Then finally the other day, as this art doll was resting comfortably on a work table, I picked him up, grabbed some 18g wire, and started wrapping the wire around his neck. I made a loop in the back and secured it.

Finally the Dufort Art Doll of 2009 could be hung on the wall without flopping over. Why hadn’t I thought of this earlier?

Dufort Art Doll 2009
Amy A. Crawley (2012)

As I said, had I taken more time to think about the construction of this piece, it may have turned out a little different. Had I not been so stuck on my earlier construction process, I might have completed the piece sooner. Really, all that was missing was a good way to display him on a wall.

I haven’t made anything similar since 2009, in part because of the challenge I faced in figuring out how to hang the damn thing. Now that I look at this piece, I remember how much I enjoyed creating him, especially the marionette-like aspect.

Maybe, just maybe, another one is in my future.

Have a great weekend!


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Welcome Spring!

Introducing my latest Bobble Totem, Spring!

Spring! 2012 Amy A. Crawley

Spring’s head is from the collection of heads that reside on my work table. He’s been patiently waiting several years for a body. His coat is a faux malachite cane. I took thin slices off the cane, applied them to a backing sheet, and added the other canes and seed beads for accent.

His birdy friend looks a bit like a robin doesn’t it? The bird was made with white clay and colored with alcohol inks. Spring! is another piece that that was created intuitively. I let the color of Spring’s! jade green face guide me in creating his body/coat. He hung out on my work table for a few days while we talked about how to finish him. The recent spate of warm days and singing birds must have spoke to both of us. Thankfully his friend is well-trained and promises not to leave a gift on Spring’s head or shoulder.

Spring is 9.5″ tall (base to bird).

Speaking of Birds

I was thrilled to learn that my pair of Blue Birds were featured on the blog Blue Morning Expressions. Thanks to Julie for the feature. The Blue Birds are available for purchase (separately or together) from my ArtFire Studio.


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Summer’s Coming-Another New Totem

My totems have gone through a few iterations since I started playing around with this idea. First they were small and flattish.

Janus Face 1

Then I gave them a solid base and a hollow body.

Then I decided to add movement to the totems.

Bobble Janus Totem Front Side

Along the way I learned about the need for balance (not just in life but in artwork), sturdier wire, proportion, and overall design and construction.

Now I’ve come to this in my totem creations. A little smaller, still bobbles, better balance and design. This piece was created intuitively. That is, I chose a face mold, 3 colors of ink, a few textures, and let my hands create. I tried to approach this with as little internal criticism as possible (that inner critic doesn’t like having its mouth stuffed, believe me.)

Summer’s Coming

Summer's Coming (Amy Crawley, 2012)

Summer's Coming (Front-Close)

Summer's Coming (Back)

Summer's Coming (Back-Close)

The timing of this post is great. We’re expecting a snowstorm here. Summer won’t be too far behind.


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Janus Bobble Totem

I’m continuing work on the design & construction of my bobble totems. On my first attempt, the body seemed to be a good size, but the gauge of wire and size of the base were not ideal.

With this next piece I figured out a better way to attach the head to the body. However, I am still struggling with appropriate size bases for the size of the totem’s body and overall balance of the piece.

I’m already working on my third trial piece and my approach to design & construction is getting better. I’m making notes in my sketch book on what steps I take on each piece; what worked, what didn’t work. Soon I hope to say “by jove, I think she’s got it!”

For now, please enjoy this second Janus Bobble Totem. Coloring was created with black acrylic wash and decorative chalks. Click on the first image to view the slideshow.


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Totem Experiments: Variations on a Theme

A couple weeks ago, I introduced you to some new work. You can read about those first pieces here.

Last week I continued playing with the totem idea and created some new variations on this theme.

This first Janus totem is colored with alcohol inks and has a square base.

Janus Totem Back

Sideview

I was a bit disappointed with the next Janus Totem. The colors aren’t great and one of the faces didn’t turn out as I hoped. However, the palette of decorative chalks that I used to color both faces gave me a new idea.

Janus Totem Front

Janus Totem Back (sad) Face

Side view

Since I wasn’t pleased with my second attempt, I decided to try something completely different in the body construction of the third Janus totem.

Instead of tube beads, I made a pillow bead for the body. I colored the entire piece with assorted decorative chalks. And then I used wire to pull all the pieces together.

Drum roll please….

The Bobbling Janus Totem:

Bobble Janus Totem Front Side

Bobble Janus Totem Front Face Detail

Bobble Janus Totem Back Side

Bobble Janus Back Face Detail

The Bobble Janus Totem stands 7.5″ tall (base to wire.)

And since it is hard to capture the movement of this totem in still pictures, watch this short video where the Bobble Janus Totem gives a little demo of his moves.


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Blog Anniversary Week 2 Winner

Thanks to everyone who left a comment on the Week 2 Blog Giveaway post. In keeping with the medieval theme, I chose a gold drawstring bag to place the names of those who entered the week 2 giveaway. And I also had some special help this time around. First the names were placed on top of the gold bag. Purple paper, gold bag. Nice medieval colors.

Then the names were placed in the bag….

No peeky…shake the bag

Then my assistants provided their approval.

Pippin Inspected the Bag

Woody Approved the Bag

The winning name was pulled from the bag…..

And the winner of Cris Dupouy’s book, Creating Your Own Antique Jewelry and one of my art doll necklaces is….

Marlea A

Congratulations Marlea!

Thanks again to everyone who participated. Check back this Friday, 8/19, to see what you can win in Week 3 of my blog anniversary celebration.


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Blog Anniversary Giveaway Week 2: Getting Medieval

I love almost anything involving the Medieval age and the Renaissance. Old castles, tapestries, religious artifacts, knights, The Pillars of the Earth mini-series.

And then there is the lovely jewelry that adorned some of the women during these time periods. Stunning necklaces of gold and exquisite jewels. Head pieces with precious gemstones and pearls. Even some of the men were adorned with jewels. And if they weren’t wearing them, you might find them holding a jewel encrusted sword.

Following the medieval theme started in my last blog post on Carcassone, this week’s blog anniversary giveaway features Cris Dupouy’s lovely book “Creating Your Own Antique Jewelry: Taking Inspiration from Great Museums Around the World.”

In this book, Dupouy uses select artifacts as the source of her inspiration to create jewelry. Her sources of inspiration span the time periods from Antiquity to the Middle Ages, the Renaissance to the 20th century. For each piece, she provides a brief history, a picture of the artifact (often being worn by the subject in a particular painting), and instructions for recreating the item.

Though Dupouy’s medium of choice in this book is polymer clay & gemstones, it may be possible to recreate the items in a combination of mediums such as polymer clay, metal clay and gemstones or metal clay and gemstones.

Along with Dupoy’s book, you also have the chance to win one of my first art doll necklaces inspired by my interest in the Medieval age.


If you’d like to enter this giveaway, just leave a comment on this post sharing your favorite period piece, such as a movie, mini-series or book and why. Please include an email address when you leave a comment so I may notify you if you win.

Comments will remain open till midnight EST on Tuesday, August 16. The winner will be chosen on Wednesday. Giveaway items will be shipped via USPS and limited to U.S. residents. I apologize for the restriction on shipping.

The winner of this giveaway was Marlea A. This giveaway is now closed.


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Darwin Receives An Honorable Mention

It was quiet a surprise and an honor to return home from France and learn that my Spirit Messenger “Darwin Explores” had received an honorable mention. The honorable mention was awarded by the jury for the Fitchburg Art Museum’s 76th Regional Exhibition of Art and Craft. Darwin Explores and The Green Man Spirit Messenger are both on display in this exhibit.

Darwin Explores

Thank you to the jury and staff at the Fitchburg Art Museum. The 76th Regional Exhibit runs through September 4, 2011


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The Daily Head: Veggie Edition

We had lovely weather over the weekend and it got me thinking about our vegetable garden. What delicious goodies do I want to plant this year?

Early spring planting is one of my favorite times for veggies. The ground is warming, the air crisp in the morning, and Mother Nature is waking and welcoming all her children to return.

With that as my source of inspiration, I decided to sculpt two veggie inspired heads:

Sweet Peas! There is nothing like growing sweet peas, picking them off the vine, and eating them right in the garden. (I think the third pea is a little alarmed by the prospect of being eaten right off the vine.)

Another favorite spring veggie:

Red leaf lettuce! Last year we planted red leaf lettuce, Bibb lettuce, and Swiss chard. Ms. Leaf also provided additional inspiration for a new focal disk. I haven’t quite worked out the design for the new disk though I’m getting closer to it. All will be revealed….eventually.

We have another vegetable in our garden that may be the source of another head later this week. This particular veggie is a perennial. We look forward to seeing it burst forth each year. Sweet, tender, and excellent raw or cooked. Any guesses?

My schedule is busy the next couple of days, so I may not have a new head to post until the end of the week. Until then, eat your veggies!

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