Saturday, February 17, 2018

Cello Art

The blank canvas

In December I answered a call from the Treasure Valley Artist Alliance to Artists to make a cello into a work of art. 2 artists would be chosen and I was one of them! Below is my proposal: 

 A few years ago I was given a violin in disrepair to use in my art. I had fun turning it into an homage to a Native American violinist. Researching Zitkala-Sa I used paint, found objects and collage elements to represent the musician. In this project I would use metal gears and chains and other cast off items to turn the cello into a steampunk cello. This idea sprang from my research on famous women cellists and I came across a current cellist who plays in the style of Steampunk music. I was intrigued by the name she goes by: “Unwoman” taken from the book “The Handmaids Tale” Unwomen are the lesbians, feminists and others who wouldn’t submit to authority. I related to Unwomans answer when asked about her creative process. She said each song might have a unique creative process since there is so much experimentation. Some of it is on the fly and some of it is labored over. In my art I enjoy taking items that no longer have an intrinsic value in and of themselves and relish turning them into something new to be enjoyed by someone else rather than end up the in the trash. I would be honored to be chosen for this project.

My first step in the process was to gather all my bits and bobs and see what I had. I needed a focal point and created a little Unwoman character charm. 

I started laying pieces on the cello but didn't glue them down as I kept shifting things around as I would find yet another piece that would look better in place. 

The butterfly wings were the perfect addition to fill out the top and the colors blended beautifully.

It was at around this point that I started gluing items down. I would just glue a few at a time and let them dry. I am fortunate to have a room dedicated just to this project. I queried the "WorldWide Assemblage Group" on FB as to which adhesive I should use. Amazing Goop came out the winner. It is thicker than E-6000 that I had previously used.  

Then it was time to start working on the sides.

Almost there...and more and more stuff to work with surrounds it on the floor.

The finishing touches were adding dots of paint to strategic locations.

Lots of fun stuff hanging from the top.

I have been collecting small items from friends for years. Broken watch bands and jewelry, belt buckles, buttons and pins.

I went for balance but not complete symmetry as to add some interest.

The butterfly body is antique mother of pearl handle to a mirror or butterknife.

I used a mixture of steampunk gauges and gears mixed with feminine touches of flowers and pearls.

I have pieces wired and hanging to add layers of interest. Watches, musical instruments, bells and locks.

Watch parts and chains and bottle caps and meat grinder blade. 

Zipper pull, light bulb charms, washers and bits of this and that. I laid them out by color, size and shape to all blend together around the edges. 

The other side. 

Gathering supplies to make a stand, had to make 2 trips to home depot as the first dowel I bought was too wide to fit in the hole in the bottom of the cello. 

Screwing into the base I had from something else...

Then screwing the dowel into the stand and sliding the cello down over the stick.
All told I spent approximately 20 hours on it spread out over about 4-5 weeks. I'm pretty happy with it. I am told it will be on display at several shows and then will be auctioned off as a fundraiser for the Treasure Valley Artist Alliance. 

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