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seth apter's the pulse, style file

i am so excited to share that today i will be one of the many featured artists on seth apter’s “the pulse” for his weekly style file.  this is week 8.  (eight is a magical number.  if you knock it over, it’s an infinity symbol.  seth and the pulse and all participants are infinitely amazing!)

update: i’m a ditzy girl sometimes, despite my high IQ.  i posted this in advance, forgetting it was the STYLE photo, not the art photo.  so, you get a preview of a piece that will later be featured.  whoops!  sorry seth! after you see this, forget it entirely, ‘kay?  thanks.  🙂

the piece that i chose to submit is called “finding the rabbit hole” and is a play on my favorite story “alice in wonderland” (i’m sure you’ve heard of it).  🙂  but, this piece has the alicia-twist with a bit of taxidermy, a bit of nature, some watch parts and gears and lots of secret places.  the piece itself measures 6″ x 12″ and is the first in a series of 3 or 4 or 5 — i haven’t decided yet.  basically this is a rip-off of what i did in lisa jurist’s book for the pulp redux collaboration because i LOVED that piece so much — it really hit a personal note for me so i’ve created one for myself.  (i deserve it.)

alice in wonderland, taxidermy, nature art, skulls, bones, animal, white rabbit, rabbit paw, vials, steampunk, rusty key

in the piece you can see many representations of the story of alice: a glass ring that represents the looking glass, a mouse skull which represents the mouse she meets in the pool of tears, a broken piece of a pocket watch and taxidermy rabbit paw representing the white rabbit who is notoriously late, the rusty key, etc.  the little tree is the one she fell through the hole under its branches.

here you can see detail of the skull through the little hole (click to enlarge):

alice in wonderland, through the looking glass, mouse skull, steampunk, watch parts, pocket watch, gear, bones

when i was a little tiny girl, we lived in the middle of nowhere, oregon.  (it was actually called lorane — still is)  at the time, the population was about 47.  three or four of those were my family and at least 98% of the rest were “old” people (anything over ten is old when you’re 3).  i had really only one friend that i can recall (a cute boy named jasper pony p.) and the rest of the time it was solo going.  i would wander around our forest searching for gnomes, faeries and THE rabbit hole.  usually this would end in disappointment as i would typically only find things like caterpillars (who i would speak to as if i were alice), snakes, mushrooms, berries and deer poop.

detail of the taxidermy rabbit foot and rusty old key (the frame around the tree was one of the first things i made out of apoxie clay from a mold i created about a year ago — was saving it for something special):

alice in wonderland, through the looking glass, taxidermy rabbit paw, rusty key, tree, assemblage

after a long time of searching day and night for the rabbit hole (and probably not “night” — my parents were not neglectful or anything and would never have let me wander a dark forest alone at night as a small child), i gave up.  i thought that if it were meant to be, i would just find it.  instead, my flexed my creativity muscles and thought up my own stories of “alicia’s wonderland” and drew pictures of what it would look like while perched under trees with our goats, chickens and kitties.  that was equally as fun.

under the vintage photo of alice on the front resides a deep compartment — her photo being the door.  i have yet to finish the inside (shhh) but it will have these and/or other vials inside (drink me!) and a menagerie of additional skulls, bones and other bits.  probably a butterfly, too.

poison vials, watch part vials, animal skull, secret compartment

within each of the sides of this piece, there are four secret little drawers (whose faces i still must paint!).  inside the drawers: a beetle, a butterfly wing and a button, currently.  i am looking for a caterpillar and other pertinent items to fill them up a bit more.

alice in wonderland, looking glass, assemblage, nature, art, mixed media, secret drawers

 (i need to paint the edges of the canvas the piece is on, too!  how embarrassing that it’s STILL not all the way complete!)  i love all of the twigs, nature bits, flower petals, dried roses, shells, moss, feathers and wings that are between the layers.  reminds me of my forest.

alicia caudle, alice in wonderland, taxidermy, art, mixed media, assemblage, drawers, hidden doors, compartments, nature art

what was your favorite childhood story?

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we pulp girls have certainly been slacking with the book posts lately, but i have a sneaking suspicion that we’re consciously or sub-consciously trying to prolong the whole event.  i also know that we’ve all been some busy girls with HUGE things going on in our lives as of late.  i have been instructed to keep the peeks of the last book i work in (this very book) kind of cryptic as we have some secret future exhibit plans where all will finally be revealed, so i’m not showing as many photos as i typically would.  this is, however, round one of two posts i will be doing.

pulp redux, altered book collaboration, handmade book, roots beneath the layers, alicia caudle, lisa jurist
originally i had NO idea what i was going to do.  this was in part due to the fact that no natural bits (branches, flower bits, dried leaves, moss) could be sent overseas to new zealand or austrailia due to very strict postal laws and of course, particularly with a title like this, it was a necessity.  THANKFULLY i ended up being the last one to receive and work on this book so i’ve cheated and included heaps of nature bits in this so far.

pulp redux, altered book collaboration, handmade book, roots beneath the layers, alicia caudle, lisa jurist
several different fabrics (some hand-dyed by my very own natural dyes i have been making), fibers, dried flowers, moss, vintage book and handmade papers surround the edges of the page.

pulp redux, altered book collaboration, handmade book, roots beneath the layers, alicia caudle, lisa jurist
many watch parts, gears and vintage brass beads also adorn the page to depict “time”.

pulp redux, altered book collaboration, handmade book, roots beneath the layers, alicia caudle, lisa jurist
even rust gears peek out through the sandwich of nature yummies and organic wool.

pulp redux, altered book collaboration, handmade book, roots beneath the layers, alicia caudle, lisa jurist
imagine living in the victorian era… you are little alice searching for the rabbit hole.  i imagine she would find many secret things along the way, and many little hiding places and treasures.

pulp redux, altered book collaboration, handmade book, roots beneath the layers, alicia caudle, lisa jurist, alice in wonderland
two tiny drawers are hidden on the side of the book (i may add tiny “drawer pulls” but have not yet decided).

pulp redux, altered book collaboration, handmade book, roots beneath the layers, alicia caudle, lisa jurist, alice in wonderland
more treasures from nature, and even that “late” and elusive white rabbit hides in one of the secret drawers… ’cause in my world, he can.

pulp redux, altered book collaboration, handmade book, roots beneath the layers, alicia caudle, lisa jurist, alice in wonderland
this is a bit wider of a peek, so you get a slightly better idea of where i went with this.  the alice image is actually a door that opens, and there is about an inch-deep secret hiding place inside.

pulp redux, altered book collaboration, handmade book, roots beneath the layers, alicia caudle, lisa jurist, alice in wonderland
this is not the end result of the compartment, but i wanted you to see how deep it is — that is a deer knuckle bone or something odd like that, and of course a little vial.  not sure exactly how i will complete this section, but it will come to be soon enough, i’m sure.

pulp redux, altered book collaboration, handmade book, roots beneath the layers, alicia caudle, lisa jurist, alice in wonderland
i hope i don’t get in trouble for showing this much of the page.  BUT you have no idea what’s on the back, or any of the other secrets that alice and her friends hold, so that is good… for now.  every single little bit of this book has been hand-stitched — no sewing machine was used for any part.  AND i only bled once while creating it (so far).


i had SOOOOO much fun working on this first part of lisa’s book that i couldn’t stop.  my mind kept going and going.  as it now turns out, lisa’s book contribution is the first piece in a series of several alice-inspired nature/victorian/steampunk/forest/taxidermy/apothecary pieces.  they are so very alicia and contain all that i love.  none are 100% done, but i’ve started 6.

here are some very tiny peeks at my very first one that i started, called “finding the rabbit hole”.

alice in wonderland, steampunk, taxidermy, apothecary, forest, nature, bones, victorian, altered art, altered book, mixed media, assemblage, alicia caudle

i started mine on a 6″ x 12″ canvas — this is the 12″ side, with similar nature bits as in lisa’s book, twigs, dried flowers, moss, and other secrets.

alice in wonderland, steampunk, taxidermy, apothecary, forest, nature, bones, victorian, altered art, altered book, mixed media, assemblage, alicia caudle
here is alice’s key — all rusty with the number 41 on it.  maybe i’ll actually finish these 6 pieces before i reach that age?  it has no significance, of course… i just like numbers.  next to it, a real white rabbit taxidermy paw.

alice in wonderland, steampunk, taxidermy, apothecary, forest, nature, bones, victorian, altered art, altered book, mixed media, assemblage, alicia caudle
on the top left of the piece, there is a hole with a glass ring framing it.  if you peer inside, you will see a teeny tiny mouse skull and jaw.  this was taken while the adhesive was still wet, so there will not actually bit any shiny bits.  if there are, i shall fix that!

alice in wonderland, steampunk, taxidermy, apothecary, forest, nature, bones, victorian, altered art, altered book, mixed media, assemblage, alicia caudle
and of course i’ve found some of the white rabbits watch parts to include when i get a bit farther along.

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