Experiments and holiday cheer – Stars and Mushrooms galore

Hi, all. I hope all my friends and readers enjoyed the holiday. We were cozy and small at home, and I had great fun making the decorations for our little live tree this year.

The paper stars were made using a delightful little origami model. Click this link for a tutorial from Jo Nakashima on Youtube. I dusted them with a hint of metallic gold acrylic paint – which doesn’t show in the photos but gives the stars a bright glow in the light, in person . I then strung them on simple red cord to make a garland. They are so much fun to make, I will definitely see what more I can do with them.

The paper mushrooms, though, are my success story for the season. I managed to make papier mache with thin, translucent layers of crumpled tissue paper. In the past, I’ve gotten good results with other types of paper, but this month, nothing wanted to work but the plain white tissue paper. It gave the best shapes, but of course was way to flimsy. So I spent a total of about three days lightly and carefully brushing the shaped mushrooms with a very dilute paste of water, PVA glue and wheat flour to stiffen them without tearing or dissolving the tissue. I then painted them, mixing the paint with more of the paste for added stiffness. I am very pleased with the results.

The bases are a last-minute improvisation. The mushrooms themselves were made without bases, but I wanted them standing. Can you guess what I have holding them up?

The display in front of our kitchen window brings a hint of a winter forest into our home. Soon, the decorations will be put away, the cats will get their toy squirrel back, and our little dwarf Alberta Spruce will go back outdoors in the cold where it likes to be. And then a new year will begin, with a new look for this site, new projects from my studio, and lots of plans.

I wish you and yours great happiness and growth in 2019!

Paper Decorations, Website Changes, and Feeling Eager for a New Year

I am spending this week making holiday decorations. There will be more paper bows like the first ones I made last year, plus paper mushrooms to make a “forest floor” around our tree and paper stars to twinkle above it and amongst its boughs. I’m having lots of fun playing with paper forms and surface treatments.

Also this week, I am working behind the scenes on an overhaul of this website. The new look will be brighter and livelier, with better organization. It will go well with some big projects coming up in 2019, including new books, dollhouses, toys, more of my Cities series of collages, and lots of art and writing experiments.

It’s been a crazy and distracted year, but I feel excited about the holidays and the new year. I’m ready to buckle down and get to work.

By the way, the new background image for winter is my own photo of white pines in Charlestown, at the Lower Mystic estuary.

mushrooms in progress
Paper mushrooms in progress on my work table

First art of 2018, journal and mushrooms

I heard somewhere once, many years ago, that at a certain latitude, if the sky is clear and you look due north at an unobstructed horizon, at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s night, you will see Sirius, Orion’s dog, at its apogee, with winter’s Orion setting to the west of it, and his mortal enemy, spring’s Scorpio rising to the east of it, and the two constellations will be equidistant above the Earth. So the story of Orion the Hunter, lover of Artemis, killed by the poisoned sting of Hera’s scorpion, marks the passage of winter and the new year.

I don’t know if this is true, but I think it should be, and already, the sun is setting a little later, haven’t you noticed?

This little journal collage is my first artwork of 2018. I’m calling it The Future of Orion, inspired by this video from the European Space Agency: Youtube Link.

The little snippet of text is my New Year’s dinner fortune cookie message. “Your fate is in no one else but you, in no hands but yours.”

Plus, I made some little crumpled-paper mushrooms – my first attempts – out of napkins. Super ephemeral, but I rather like them. I’ll play with these a bit more.

Happy New Year!

Christmas Day, and the weather comes to visit

Christmas is past. The new year is coming. It was just me and My Sainted Mother at home, keeping it simple, and the New England weather putting on show. Here are some photos of the view from my studio this morning and this afternoon, the moon and the trees, and our little, living, potted yule tree by the kitchen window.

Happy holidays, everyone!

Fast away the old year passes

What a hectic fall/winter its been since Brickbottom Open Studios and Thanksgiving. I will have to get caught up with what I’ve been up to — new ideas, photo safaris around my town, experiments with my new camera. In the meantime, here are a few shots of my worktable leading up to Yule. I was inspired by the amazing, rococo work of French artist, Laetitia Mieral. Check her out at her website, Merveilles en Papier.

I can’t really carry off full-on rococo. I love it. It’s gorgeous. I adore everything 18th century, but I’m possibly more Georgian than Baroque, more built-in cabinets than putti-painted ceilings. Still, enchanted by Laetitia’s work, I experimented with some paper bows, and some more modern-style baubles, to deck the halls for Christmas. Still learning.

Post-event, post-holiday, now to refresh the studio for winter

Had a wild weekend at Brickbottom Open Studios this year. I met so many wonderful people, and I hope I’ll see many of them again here on my website as they keep track of my projects going into 2018. From there, I ran straight into a small, intimate, family Thanksgiving, and now the long weekend to clean the studio and start my projects for the winter. I’m looking forward to finishing the dollhouse, described in previous posts, and experimenting further with two projects that emerged during Open Studios prep.

Emerald Cities began as an experiment in flat-pack art and photographical miniatures, the Blood Red Roses are the result of wandering down a path when a planned project didn’t quite work out, and the Anatomical Studies are old friends who came to play after a long time.

In honor of Thanksgiving, I want to thank my new friend, K, for hosting my work in her space during Open Studios, my fellow Brickbottom Artists for being brilliant and supportive, and My Sainted Mother for taking up the slack while I was so busy and for letting me make the pumpkin pie this year as it ended up my best one yet. 😉