Sep 26 2015

Du Nain Rouge

nainrougecloseup

Du Nain Rouge is the enigmatic legend of Detroit, by some thought to protect the city, by others, to only appear as a harbinger of pending disaster.  A few years back I stumbled upon a wonderful book at my local library, written in 1884 by Marie Caroline Watson Hamlin, titled Legends of Le Detroit, in which I first read his story.  In this particular legend, it was a fortune teller, entertaining a party in Quebec, who warned Monsieur La Mothe Cadillac that he would cross paths with this “red dwarf” in the city he was to found.  He was told that he would create a city greater than New France itself, and would have many children around his hearth, but that he must not offend Du Nain Rouge or his children would never inherit the great wealth he was to possess.  Years later, after founding just such a city, he and his wife were walking through the Kings Gardens late at night when the visage of Du Nain Rouge appeared before them.  Heedless of the old fortune teller’s advice, he shouted for the “red imp” to get out of his way.  Shortly thereafter Cadillac was arrested in Montreal and was forced to sell his seigniory in Detroit to pay for his trial.  After being removed to Louisiana as governor, he was to die in France, and his children did not inherit any of his vast estate.  He was said to have appeared just before the attack at Bloody Run, and again in 1805, dashing through the flames as the city burned.

nainrouge

 

I prefer to face our demons head on, so to speak.  By sculpting him, by engaging him, I like to think that he is simultaneously respected and revered, and yet loses that power over Detroit his legend holds.  Whether he needs to be quashed and run out of town, or flattered and appeased to keep the city safe is an ongoing debate.


Oct 3 2013

Strange Dolls in Vermont

IMG_3890

 

This past July I had the opportunity to take a class with an artist I have admired online for quite some time-  Beth Robinson’s Strange Dolls  The intro to doll making class was held at Davis Studio in Burlington, Vermont, right around the corner from the Strange Dolls’ studio, and in the heart of Burlington’s “South End Arts District”.  I stayed in the upstairs apartment of a wonderful couple (found through air b&b) within minutes of the studio, and a very short walk/bike to downtown Burlington and the trail alongside Lake Champlain.  With a bike at my disposal for exploration, two days of doll making class, the inspiring company of other artists, and beautiful (although quite hot) weather, Burlington won me over.

Strange Doll studiostrange doll

IMG_3904IMG_3907IMG_3911

 

Below is the doll I created at the workshop and finished back in my studio.  For display I finished a wooden shadow box in black, with a padded satin fabric background that can be hung on the wall, allowing my “strange doll” to be displayed, and yet still taken out and “played with”.

strange dollstrange closeup

No matter how long I’ve been working in polymer clay (about 16 years now), I always like to meet other artists that work in the medium to trade tips and experiences.  Each brand of clay has its own properties, every artist has their own preferences, favorite tools, methodology, and finishing techniques.  After visiting the Strange Doll studio I felt so inspired, and eager to get back to work on some of the projects I’ve been stuck on.  Struggling with some mixed media pieces, I have ordered apoxie clay, a two part air hardening clay that I have not worked with before, but Beth Robinson uses on some of her one of a kind work.  Talking about clay is my “talking shop”, and having a weekend of shop talk is just what I needed.  Thank you Beth!

 


May 3 2012

Work in Progress

Not unlike my daughter, who really doesn’t want me to look until her painting is finished, I am always a bit reluctant to share sculptures as they are in progress.  In the spirit of openness and stepping outside of my comfort zone, (I’m growing, I’m changing..), I am going to share some work as I create it.  I figure no better place to start than with the bust I have been working on for quite some time now, so, without further ado, here she is.

She’s made of super sculpey clay, with a wire and mesh armature.  The eyes are resin dolls’ eyes, and the base she’s on (not shown) is an old wooden spool.  The finished work is floating around in my head already, but there is quite a bit of work between now and then.  Tonight I’ll be spending some time on her shoulders and getting her profile a little more… something.


Sep 30 2011

Autumn is here?!

It’s amazing how quickly the end of summer went by; full of art shows, family, and project after project partially crossed off the to-do list.  Now as I sit here sipping a warm latte at my favorite cafe with the wind and rain outside making it clear that summer is over I realize that the busy holiday season is going to be here before I know it.  Halloween is just around the corner, and with it come pumpkins and frankenbots and ghosts.  I’ll be making lots of new work in the upcoming weeks, and soon you’ll be able to find them in my etsy shop, so stay tuned!


Feb 3 2011

Puppets!

I had been creating a line of superheroes destined for life as finger puppets, but with six heads created I hit a wall.  For several months now, the Sneer, Aardvark, Gothra, the Butterfly, the Ponderer and a couple of unknowns have been staring up at me from my sculpting desk, a constant reminder that they are so close, and yet so far from finished.  My genius better half suggested that I make them into rod puppets instead, instantly solving the problems I was having.  Genius, I say!

the Sneer is nearly complete, the sculpting done, and his shirt in progress (seriously challenging my sewing skills, a plaid button down shirt in miniature).  He still needs to be painted and his rods attached, but then, voila!  My first puppet.


Jan 26 2011

MUNNY Mod

I love the world of munny, and thanks to my fabulous sis in law, a mini raffy has been watching over my desk the past couple months.  This is my first mod, and so far, so good.  He’s made it through the first bake unscathed, and the bond between the clay and vinyl is even better than I was expecting.

Still to come, horns, floppy ears, a club tail, and some cute/vicious claws.


Jan 25 2011

Mona

There is a growing collection of beat up candlesticks in my studio waiting to become something new, and from among them, Mona was born.  Named for her haunting eyes and conspicuously missing eyebrows, she’s Mona with a bit of a steampunk edge.  Her hair is courtesy of a sheep in Wales,UK, her nosestud a tiny vintage watch gear.


Jan 18 2011

Tube Jackpot

OK, I really hit the vacuum tube jackpot at Treasure Mart thanks to Mark Oppat and his Old Radio Parts. I now am the proud owner of tubes galore, and a TV repair case that has that strangely delightful scent of old cardboard and grease.

(For all of the tube collectors out there, no worries, these are all non-functioning or obsolete)

A couple hours of sorting and cleaning later, and I have filled my baskets to the brim with tubes now destined to become octopi, rockets, monsters, robots, and bugs.  Now to get making!!


Sep 15 2010

What says autumn more than a pumpkin?

Here are a few more faces you can find in my etsy shop.  I’ve been having a wonderful time in my studio watching these jack O lantern characters emerge.


Sep 15 2010

Gnarliness

It’s approaching pumpkin time, and I, for one, can’t wait!  As an outlet for my daydreams of cucurbita maximum, I present to you my latest, Gnegon:

He’ll be in my etsy shop, along with another pumpkin I finished earlier tonight – a shorter pumpkin with a removable mini oil can lid  Now I see pumpkin stem potential in all sorts of things.