Sunday, March 16, 2014

Art That Tells a Story- Honoring Zitkala-sa

I heard a story of a Native American girl and a violin. Her name was Zitkala-sa.   I was given this broken violin and Indian doll head and knew they were destined to be a tribute to this remarkable woman's life.

A Native American bead design was recreated with paint. 

She was born in 1876 on the Yankton Indian Reservation in South Dakota. As a child she was taken from her family by Quaker missionaries to live at the White's Manual Labor Institute in Indiana.
The edges of the violin I hand beaded with glue and beads, one by one.
This part took over 4 hours. 

While at school she discovered her musical talents and learned to play the violin...eventually even writing "The Sun Dance Opera."

Zitkala-sa translates to "Red Bird",  I drew these with paint pens

She went on to further her education beyond the housekeeper training prescribed for all young girls. She obtained her diploma and gave a speech on women's inequality, which received high praise. 

Around the edge of the painted design I added more embellishments. 
 She went on to pursue a degree in higher education and played violin with the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. In 1900 she played violin at the Paris Exposition.

Adding to the design....

On the back of the violin I added a photo of Zitkala-sa with her violin from the year 1898. 

A quote from her writings reflecting on the time she was torn from her mother. All the writing was done with a white Signo pigment ink pen, that I got from my friend Marianne.
The entire back of the piece.
Zitakala-sa not only advocated for the rights of Indians but the rights of women as well and was a key figure in the suffrage movement in the 1920's.
At the top of the violin I added this porcelain dolls head which reminded me of Zitkala-sa before her braids were cut off at school.  The "19 crimes" wine cork which comes from an Australian Wine to me, represents the crimes against the Native Americans. 

Here is the piece in its entirety. I added some wind catchers given to me by a friend as well as a hand beaded bracelet on leather, and a piece of violin music, Beethoven's "Hymn of Joy". Because in the end she overcame her suffering and was a beacon of light for women and persons of color.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Reclaimed Shadow Boxes

8" x 12"
an original painting background done by a friend, 2 Russian Spoons from a thrift store in Boise.
A doll found in a  thrift store while traveling. and a little matchbox drawer with buttons and flowers made by me. 

5 1/2" x 7"
Puppy Love
box is lined with vintage hand painted dictionary pages,
original painting by a friend, an encaustic collage by me a glass heart, a 60's dog pin with rhinestones.

5 1/2" x 7"
Penguins Play 
a map of Bogus Basin ski hill lines the back wall, a child's vocabulary card, game pieces, a penguin made of soapstone and an encaustic collage that says play

5 1/2" x 7"
Strength for When the Wolves Come
The complete blog post on this one can be found here.

5 1/2" x 7"
Me and My Bike
The complete blog post for this one can be found here

5 1/2" x 7"
Grown in Idaho
The complete blog post can be seen here

5 1/2" x 7"
Pray for Me
Glass bottle that I bought at a museum gift shop, silk flowers, candle, icon painting, small wooden saint that I have had since I was a little child, (I think it was my grandma's) prayer cards.

12" x 8"
M.O.M (Milk of Magnesia).
This piece started with the broken glass bottle that my daughters boyfriend collected from an old trash pit in the hills of Colorado. The dress is made from a Christmas Ornament that broke and the black bow is a hair clip I used to wear back in the 80's. 

51/2" x 7"
This box is lined with hand painted vintage dictionary pages.
An original encaustic collage made by me with a postage stamp of Princess Diana.
A box that opens with a tea set on top, porcelain cat on a lace rug, glass jar with pieces of glass from HI. 
51/2" x 7"
Noah's Ark
complete blog post can be seen here

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Thirty Babies

My newest assemblage is based on the truly inspiring story of the Chinese rubbish collector who saved and raised THIRTY babies abandoned at the roadside

Read more: 
This piece started with the black plastic candle holder from the popular faux Mediterranean style of homes of the 1970's I purchased it from a junk furniture store a few years ago when I was looking for a desk for my daughter.  Last month I purchased a bunch of plastic babies from a thrift store in Park City Utah. They look like little baby Jesus' with the arms outstretched as seen in Nativity scenes.

 I knew I wanted to use those two items in a piece of art. I  googled "baby legends" and horrible story after horrible story of murder and mayhem and baby ghosts haunting people popped up. So I narrowed my search to "good baby stories" and this article from the daily mail  about this woman and her husband rescuing newborn chinese babies that were abandoned in the rubbish caught my attention. Perfect! Just what I was looking for, and such an inspiring story!

AND (insert serendipity here) I have had these pair of Chinese Cloth Dolls that came from my childhood home that would be perfect to symbolize Lou and Li.  I emailed my three sisters and my mom for details on the dolls. No one knew anything about them other than that they sat in an oversized chair and my younger sister remembered playing with them. I looked them up on ebay and they are vintage '50-'60's cloth dolls that sell for around $10 each. 

First I painted everything with white gesso. Then I got out Michael DeMeng's Book Dusty Diablos for some inspiration and color combinations. 

Then I had to do something to the babies. First I painted them all with gesso.

Then I added a wash of colors to make them look more natural.

The fun part of adding washes on top of the gesso.

I left some area's black. On top of the bright colors I added another wash of Golden Fluid acrylic to tone them down.

I glued the 30 babies down and added rhinestones to each forehead to symbolize each precious life that was a treasure found in the trash.

The dolls would sit but I didn't like how their legs stuck straight out. 

Luckily, I have a friend that makes doll's. She suggested I put a few stitches behind the knee.

I hate to sew but gave it a try. (I had to borrow my husbands sewing kit, as I don't even have a needle and thread to my name!)

Yes, it worked, thanks Micki!

In the center is a small battery operated candle with a lantern shade over it. The lantern shade came from a string of lights I used to have. 

Detail shot of the painted dots and jewels that were added. 

Detail of babies with rhinestones.

As I was working on this piece a call for artists for the new Treasure Valley Art Alliance show "Metamorphosis" came in and I knew this piece would fit the bill! 30 Babies lives transformed from certain death to life because of one woman's commitment to do the right thing.
Thirty Babies 24" high x 12" wide $325

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Repurposed Art Journal

I have been making artist journals since 1995. I try not to buy anything new, but reuse and repurpose what I already have. Well my journal for 2013 is all filled.

So I was looking through my books and sketchbooks to see what I could use for this year. I came across this one that was my daughters that she had given me to store or throw out or whatever. Well I'm going to use it for whatever... Voila, My new 2014 art journal! 
I started by cutting up a shopping bag and glueing it on handles and all. I used a credit card to smooth out the glue. 

Some pages of the book was used for random drawings, some I am keeping, others I'm just working over. 

Here is a page where she has counted out all of her halloween candy and added up the different types. (and I thought she was in there just gobbling them up!)

It will be fun coming across her random things as I go through the year. This is way better than throwing it away. 

I collaged and painted over the shopping bag and even added a bow. Last night I had the privilege of getting together with some artist friends and finished the first two page spreads. Marianne, I left your little doodle on the cover! 

The first 2 page spread is all about the new trailer we just bought and look forward to taking out this year on many adventures. 

The next 2 page spread is my first adventure of the year going cross country skiing in Oregon. (not with the trailer) 
I'll have fun sharing this with you through out the new year!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

First Thursday in January

Tomorrow is the culminating show of my time as a Boise Open Studio (BOSCO) participant in the Artist in Residence (AiR) program. 
I had one month residency in a really nice studio space in downtown Boise (BODO). 
We are located just above Cafe Ole and across the hall from Bodovino. We will be open from 5-9 pm on Thursday January 2, 2014. I will be facilitating a make and take Artist Trading card activity and Bonnie with have the Red Light Variety performers posing for her project.

Wood floors, brick walls. and right across the hall from a brand new wine tasting room.

 3 artists per month in the space with plenty of room to work uninterrupted. i.e. no computer to lure well as ....

 Plenty of room to display our art....

 Our signage...

 I shared the space with Bonnie Peacher and Anne Sorensen, both local painters.

My goal was to complete a series of 12 -12" x 12" mixed media assemblage/collage based on mountain biking in different states out west. Below is my completed art. The only one missing is Arizona, which I unintentionally forgot to photograph. 




Sun Valley/Ketchum






Canadian Rockies