I love this picture- it's kind of a compilation of life before 9/11. I've done a lot of different work- it evolves, like all artist's work does. But I got my start as an art quilter and fiber artist. had some spectacular shows at the Nassau County Museum, and the Morris Museum, as well as lots of gallery shows in NY and NJ. It's not always easy to look back on a body of work- sometimes it's not about what you've gained and learned, but also about what you've lost. I miss doing fiberwork. I hope to go back to doing more if it again, in a way that integrates it with my newer work. Fabric and sewing is so much a part of my identity- its the thread that runs through my family history as well. My mother and grandmother were great needlewomen, my father a garmento in NYC's Garment District. I grew up in the old factories around 34th St.. I remember spending Saturdays there when my father would go in to do more work o Saturdays. After a few hours your eyes began to itch. "It's the goods," my dad told me, "the goods."
The big blue angel is one of the figural quilts i used to do. He's bigger than life size. And the biz card with the 2 little flying witches is from the company my twin sister adn I had called "Till The Wind Changes." A line from Mary Poppins, which is still among my favorite books. I still do moonface jewelry though. :)
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I ran across the work of Ron Pippin the other day. How could I have missed this man's work? It's beautiful, it's inspiring, it's powerful. It's as if he went into the attic of the world and pulled out our myths and spirits and stories, distilled them into evocative pieces that we understand without knowing really how we do. It reminds me of Joseph Cornell, another artist whose work I love.
Take a look at his website and enjoy. http://www.ronpippin.com/index.html
TINSEL TRADING COMPANY, 1 W. 37th St., NY, NY 10018
One of those secrets that everyone knows about, if you an artist or designer, is Tinsel Trading Company.Talk about a magical place- this is it! From antique tinsel, old military trim, bullion, flowers, glass glitter, passementerie, ephemera, ribbon- no one has the unusual and vintage trims that Tinsel does. And new items are often reproduced just for them. Martha Stewart once called it her favorite store. It's over 100 years in existence- check out the website: www.tinseltrading.com. I love her old bullion and metal threads. I use them to make my steampunk bird's nests.
One of the things artists consider is how stable their materials are. When I first fell in love with Shrink film, this is something I worried about. And to be truthful, I still don't know how long lasting shrink film is although i have a piece from 20 years ago that looks as good now as the day I did it. But in the course of researching shrink film I came across 2 brands (I know there is a third but I have never used it) - Shrinky Dinks (which every kid knows and loves) and Graphix Film. They have different characteristics and work very differently.
Shrinky dinks seems to become a little thinker when it's been shrunk, than Graphix film but Graphix Film shrinks with less problems. Even if it curls up, it separates more easily, and with less distortion. Both brands have printable versions, but Graphix is printable on both sides, I work mostly with the printable version since I do a drawing and then scan it into the computer. I can hen draw ad paint over the printout before I heat treat the film.
Both brands come in clear, matte clear, white and colors. But Shrinky Dinks has an extra think version I would love to use more if the surface wasn't so slick. I can sand it, but it would be even better if it were printable too.
I use a heat tool to shrink the film, not bake it in an oven. More working tips in a fwe days.
What never ceases to amaze me is the artistry of antique pocket watches. Not only for the sheer technical brilliance, and the level of craftsmanship, but the watchmaker's eye for beauty. I think you see that in many artifacts from an earlier age- there is a sense that things must not only be functional but they must be beautiful. I find this especially in tools and mechanical things but nothing really compares to antique pocket watches. bear in mind, horology is an ancient art and what watchmakers achieved without the aid of electricity and modern tools is close to miraculous. If you've even taken apart an old pocket watch and see the precision of the workmanship, you know what I mean.
The above 2 watch movements are fusee movements. they run via a tiny flexible chain. The most common movements run by a spring. Few of them match the artistry of the fusee. The bottom fusee dates from the later 18th century. It's diameter is @ 2 inches and yet look at the engraving and the pierced metal work. Even the tiny blue steel screws- this is a level of craftsmanship that is awe inspiring.
I love science, and I love old machinery. On top of that I love cats and costume and period art. And shrink plastic. When you start to work on a piece, it sometimes feels like the material controls you and not the other way around. That’s what happened here it seems. I found two watch pieces and suddenly they looked like a pair of pantaloons. That’s how it starts, I’m afraid. This was my first attempt at using watch parts and I loved it. So I’ve gone from making life size figural quilts and soft sculpture (early in my career) to small works using metals, glass and sundry bits and bobs. But I still sew- using wire. I don’t solder. It’s a tip of the hat to my mother and grandmother, master needlewomen, and my father- a NYC Garmento, the last of a wonderful and dying breed.