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: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2181017/Lou-Xiaoying-Story-Chinese-woman-saved-30-abandoned-babies-dumped-street-trash.html#ixzz2r3VJMd6y 
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


Rebeca Trevino said...

Nicely done, Pam!
i love the story of the 30 babies.
good luck with the show.

emily said...

What an incredible story, love how you've honored this woman!