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my dad has been collecting wasp’s nests for me for the past couple of years and i just happened upon them again a couple of weeks ago. you want to keep them in a plastic bag or glass jar for a good year or so after you “harvest” them, which is why i forgot about them (i didn’t do that with the first batch about three years ago and couldn’t figure out why there were wasps in my studio the following spring!). usually, nine times out of ten, i find perished wasps in the bottom of the baggies or jars after letting them sit.
anyway, these were ready and i decided to start a couple of pieces with them. this one is called “wasp’s gift”. click on any of the images to view enlarged versions, if desired.
at the top of this piece is an X. in the elder futhark, that rune is called gebo, which literally translates to “gift”. so, not a terribly creative name, really, but befitting none the less. (more specifically, gebo means gifts, both in the sense of sacrifice and of generosity, indicating balance. all matters in relation to exchanges.) the circles represent gestation and external growth.
the dots and markings on this piece are very textural and not just painted on. you can see peeks of vintage and antique book pages sticking through in a couple of places.
the wooden “frame” around the wasp nest protrudes from the wooden base. the first photo didn’t make that entirely obvious. it was intentionally cut and assembled roughly to give it a more ancient or primitive look.
here’s a little close-up of the crescent shaped wasp nest. i loved that nest the most out of my entire collection so was excited to use it here.
“in some african traditions, the wasp is a symbol of evolution, and control over our life circumstances.
some native american indian tribal myths indicate the wasp was the creator of the earth, and was a symbol of order, organization and productivity.
ancient european lore recognizes the wasp as big part of pollination. here the wasp is symbolic of fertility as this genre of earth-based believers honored the wasp for its role in continuation of certain plants and flowers.”
(Quote via What’s Your Sign)
this piece has been imbued with healing earth energy and the gift of protection for whomever’s home it ends up residing in.
the whole piece measures 10×10″. additional photos and information can be found here:
now available in my shop, the my first in my new series, a charlotte assemblage entitled “the keeper of dark and light”. i’m not very creative with my naming sometimes.
this wee charlotte is the older type, from around the 1860s i’m told, instead of the more typical 1880s-90s style (see her painted eyes). she has been partially rusted because who doesn’t love a bit o’ rust sometimes?
atop the little metal box charlotte resides, is an antique pocket watch winder (i have no idea what those are called)… which is all sitting upon a vintage gear. above that, a taxidermy eye on another gear i rusted and antique brass beads nailed into the wooden base.
here is a close-up of the charlotte and vial with porcupine quills and an animal tooth (love her eyes!):
vintage french book page text and crackle are behind the charlotte.
here is a close up of the eye. and (i blush!!) the little mishap of the hanger on the back poking through. it looks cool and intentional though, in a way.
at the bottom hangs a small fleur d’lis i aged. it actually hangs straight but i took this photo with the piece laying on its back.
here is a side-view of the piece laying down…
the whole thing measures about 4.5″ x 6″ and is available for purchase in my shop (at a reduced rate due to the hanger mishap — it still hangs totally perfectly though, of course).
sold. thank you so much, miss renee! 🙂
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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!
…and really a lot more than that!
i’ve been a busy bee, re-stocking the altered bits shop with heaps of new goodies, including but not limited to frozen charlottes, little victorian dolls, other vintage and antique dolls and doll parts, a whole new page of digital collage sheets (these were up weeks ago — i’m just slow to share), new embellishments and found objects, vintage photo bundles, textile bundles and vintage crocheted lace… all kinds of little pretties. if i add five things per day to my shop over the next seven months, i should be caught up. 😉
a few new items were added to my etsy junk shop too… cleaning out the house in a new year is a great thing!!
i literally have hundreds more dolls so if you’re looking for some, let me know. i’m not going to be able to add them all for awhile (takes a LOT of time to photograph, resize/enhance, write code/add to site, create buttons, etc.).
on a totally random note, wanna swap? i’m looking for a cute little boy cdv, cabinet card or tintype and will swap you for other photos (i mostly have adults), dolls of whatever sort, vintage lace, or whatever you may want from my shop(s) of relatively equal value. i’ll even throw in some digital collage sheets for fun. 🙂 i’m really quite picky about this photo… typically i don’t use children in my art, unless they are fetuses. in fact, this will be my first child. but in the spirit of accuracy, i need a little boy (around age 10 in the first decade of the 1900s, named sam) for the historically accurate ghost book i’m working on.
despite being mucho busy with family stuff and travel plans the past several weeks, i’ve managed to get a few new things made and posted in my shop over the past couple of days. i have TONS of new stuff to add (soon) that i find to be quite exciting. some examples are: vintage german cuckoo clock movements, vintage radio parts (variable capacitors, to be exact) that are ever so cool looking, vintage framed victorian prints, etc. i should probably leave some stuff out for an element of surprise… though those are, quite admittedly, the coolest things.
here is a peek of some of the other things i’ve already posted:
i’m sure you’d believe it when i told you that i got the brass bells , porcupine quills and vintage brass/porcelain knobs almost a year ago to add to the site. you know i’m slow!
i’ve also added several new collage sheets. these are just a few:
you can go peek if interested, but some of the new ones are vintage dancing girls, cemeteries and mausoleums, geishas and vintage men.
more exciting than images printed on paper, is my newest journal. it turned out so fabulously “alicia” that i was quite reluctant to put it in my shop — i kinda felt that i should keep it… almost. it’s not that i don’t have an over-abundance of art journals, but you know…
i also made some more of those addictive charlottes, among other stuff. i swear i can make 1000 of those before i tire of them, or at least 43. they are so sweet and fun!
next tasks: finish and post stuff for the pulp redux collaboration, finish a piece for a challenge my friend lish came up with, finish my new first couple of pieces in a new series i’m doing… oh yeah, and get my act together with the zine and post the info here so everyone knows where my head is. in the meantime, here is the teeny-tiniest peek at my new stuff:
that doesn’t really give any ideas, now does it? more soon. 🙂
to get over my hump of funk, i created a few happy things this weekend. i was thinking about the hundreds of frozen charlottes i’ve sold in my shop over the past year or so and the fact that i’ve only created TWO things with those lovely little lassies (and nothing from the charlie lads, yet!). so i remedied that — because they make me smile and i needed a bit o’ cheer. of course i had to give them hearts — anatomical art is an alicia thing, ya know.
first, i made a wonky little wishes and dreams tin. wonky because it doesn’t hang entirely straight. personally, i think that just adds to the charm, but that is probably not the general consensus. there are two little scrolls in a pocket, one to write wishes on, the other for dreams. charlottes are magical girls you know and can make things come true if you share them with her.
detail of her face, heart and one of the scrolls:
next i created a small fabric collage: charlotte’s song (i just made that up on the fly). somehow, while creating her i got “charlotte sometimes” by the cure stuck in my head and here it remains. how do we remember such things so vividly after 20 odd years?
because of this, i had to add the vintage sheet music to the top:
the bottom (recycled silk ribbon and crocheted bits created by moi), with a tarnished little embellishment:
her crackle cracks me up (no pun intended). the eye cracks remind me of childhood star-eyed cartoons for some reason. it just happened that way and was by no means intentional. because the piece as a whole is so light, i made her heart a bit more dark.
i wish i had a better photo of her as a whole. i’ll have to snap some new ones tomorrow.
lastly (though i actually started her second), on a 5″ x 5″ canvas, i created this piece. it is, as of yet, untitled as she hasn’t told me what she wishes to be called. maybe just “charlotte sometimes”. but that is neither here nor there.
the sides of the canvas are covered with painted vintage lace and have taxidermy tacks holding the recycled sari silk ribbon down. i learned how to use the drill press today. woohoooo!
at the top of the canvas, it says “monument to the memory of the” (the what? the charlotte? the thought? her head is in the way so that is where that ends — you decide to the memory of what) and in the mid-left, it reads “a harmonising companion – a genial friend.” i didn’t actually pick any of the verbiage out. i have more of a propensity to grab and glue. just so happens that it worked out, at least in my opinion. i think the sentiment is sweet enough indeed.
this charlotte, as a whole:
from the bottom hangs a pretty and rusted piece i received as a gift during the art exchange last year. i had it on my new journal that was somehow left outside and fell into the garden bed. i couldn’t find it for days and when i did, the journal was ruined and the “tassel” was gorgeously aged. i’ve had it sitting on my desk ever since and while assembling this piece, it got stuck to one of the papers i was using in the collage. to me, that indicated that it needed to be a part of the piece.
all three of these are available in my shop. i’m trying to recoup a bit from last month’s income thieving incident, but i will not complain about that again. work has been ultra slow since i put three projects off to work on that stupid eco-travel site, so i’ve had lots of time to get organized around here and create. a clear studio makes for a clearer mind and THAT is worth a lot!
peeks at some of my other week’s creative starts:
tomorrow i’m getting my bum in gear and finishing a bunch of ATCs and ACEOs i’m doing for a swap with the ever so talented miss gaby. i should have done those this weekend but i was sidetracked with charlottes and family time.
happy week, friends! i’m off to catch up on YOUR blogs — that is always a highlight for me and the past several weeks have been too crazy for me to do all that i wished. what a blessing it is to have time to start catching up more.
…there was a lovely young couple who fell fast in love and were quickly married. he was a kind chap, though very forgetful, so just before their first anniversary he pre-purchased a lavish bouquet to be delivered to his lady every year on their special day for the following ten years. he spent hours hand-writing little love notes to accompany the bouquets, trying hard to make it sound recently written…
she adored the bouquet and his heart-felt words…
soon after their first wedding anniversary, he was tragically killed in a car accident, leaving behind his new wife. her heart broke and she felt she could not live without him.
every day she felt him near, and that was the only way she made it though the first year following his passing.
then one day, while already heart-broken that it would be their second anniversary that day, the doorbell rang. there, on her front steps, lay a bouquet a bit larger and more magnificent than the one she had received on her anniversary the year before. her heart stopped as she lifted the flowers to her chest, wondering who could be so cruel. then she saw her husband’s handwriting on the envelope of the accompanying card…
i will be posting this off to a poor, unsuspecting friend next week. hope she likes it!
i dried the rosebuds myself about 10 years ago and have been using them FOREVER. these were my last couple. the flower in the lower left is from my valentine bouquet from my husband last year. the wee crystal and bead on the right were given to me about twenty years ago from two of the children i used to nanny, the older saying “someday make something gorgeous with this”. the rose thorns are from my garden, harvested and dried last summer and all of the metal bits are rusted by me (though my camera is a jerk and generally removes rust hues — what’s up with that?)… except the mesh stuff which doesn’t rust. it just disolves.
i’ve been working for weeks on thoroughly cleaning and organizing my studio and have an ever-growing pile of fun things i will probably never use. i was going to post them on my etsy, but then i thought “oh, i can give them away!”. so, today will be my first of several little give-aways on my blog over the next several months.
first up, a 4.25″ x 5.75″ blank black accordion book still in its packaging, 8 custom quarter-page collage sheets based upon your favorite few on my site, and a couple embellishments (beads, buttons, fiber, etc.). in the spirit of halloween and goodies, i will also toss in a free download of my crackle tutorial, mentioned in this post. please note that this book was a gift to me and i never opened it or know how it’s constructed or anything. 😛
all you have to do to enter is comment, and if you feel like it, share your favorite, funniest, scariest, weirdest, grossest, most supernatural, or “whatever” hallowe’en/samhain story (or whatever you celebrate on this date). i will have my husband be the judge if there are stories so as not to have to feel the pressure of choice, and if no stories, i’ll randomly chose via random.org. the winner will be announced next weekend and the parcel shipped.
happy hallowe’en! happy samhain!! i hope you all have a great and safe night tonight.
listening to a ridiculous (ridiculously cool!) combination of the legendary invisible men* and dead can dance today kept me alert and on my toes. or dazed enough to stay on my arse in front of my computer for a zillion and a half hours straight while writing boring code after a mere three hours of sleep and a mild hang over. i wanted to art, but sometimes “the day job” must come first… and sometimes said day job means coding instead of arting or designing… and i don’t like that.
* paul buck is the king of the universe.
around precisely 12:08 this morning (or so my clock claimed it was), i received a delightful telephone call from my sweet debrina friend while on my way up to bed. you just have to ring her — she is the cutest ever and has the sweetest accent and is so fun to talk to. 🙂 i wanted to smooch and hug her right through the phone for soooo many reasons.
earlier in the day i had received this package from her. she had filled a miniature suitcase for me and i had filled a lunch box for her. of course due to my own stupidity that i’ll only partially admit, my package from her arrived probably four days before she’ll get hers from me. we chatted while i opened my fabulous box as was the plan (except, uh, she was supposed to be opening mine too BUT this just means i get to call her in a few day’s time and we can do it all over again in reverse).
this is what the package looked like after i went through each and every little individually wrapped present. look at how many beautiful bits and wondrous goodies there are! on the bottom left, is the wonderful wee book she made me!
of course i adored EVERYTHING in my suitcase, but just above are some of my favorites. i totally forgot to get the precious pin cushion she made me in the shot — it’s brilliant! the book is so sweet! i should have made a decorative book for her rather than a blank one. how rude of me! but all the more reason to start a new bundle for her (which of course i already have).
look how precious the wonderful little thing she sewed and put in the last page of the book! okay, that’s it! between miss debrina‘s brilliance and kc willis and her fabulous online workshops, i now need to start an “alicia needs a new sewing machine fund”. oh, i am serious, just you wait.
self interruption: at this point i appear to be a liar. but i assure you i am not. when i said “this morning” i really meant it. now, i must say “yesterday morning” because i was hit with several bouts of ADD and it’s now tomorrow.
moving right along… i didn’t really like my beeswax collage the other day when i looked at the really dumb close-up photo. it was fine from, say, twenty-three feet away but the i’m-so-close-i-can-see-your-pours view was a bit ‘not right’. i don’t know if this is entirely better, but somewhat, and that’s good enough for me. i think i give up on beeswax collage.
and some of the side-view-texture (ignore the shadows — i’m a crap photographer):
my friend jo archer has recently started her new blog, the crow road and i love it! almost every day (certainly more regularly than me) she posts fabulous art, videos, links, etc. yesterday (for real this time) she posted an amazing video i’d never before seen or heard of with a girl creating sand animation. holy crap — just go watch it. she’s one talented little thing indeed! you’ll want to link to jo’s blog, i already know. ❤ she also had a wonderful ken nordine video a few days back that i wish i could cram into the black and white zine. here, i’ll repost it here so you can see, but i got the idea from jo who rocks more than i could ever dream of rocking.
back to sewing machines for a second — what should i get? seriously. i am so sewing ignorant. i want to sew art and journal covers and skirts sometimes but i’m not terribly sure what i should get. my machine rocks for a vintage singer! but it’s older than me and only sews straight which is boring. anyway, if you have any ideas let me know. in the meantime, i’m starting that official “alicia needs a sewing machine fund” or whatever i called it. i think i’ll just auction things off cheaply or something but i’ll get back to you on that. 😉
to give a wee flashback, we originally did two pieces for seth’s disintegration collaboration. we = my son and i. he wanted to do an “asian scroll” so designed this all by his five year old self (he’s six now, for the record). i did this little doll arm fetus “thing”.
and now for the now. i assembled this little… assemblage out of most of the disintegration bits and a few others i’d found along the way (all old and or aged to keep the theme). i first made the box out of a cigar box, mat board and foam core for compartments that are “raised”/less deep:
it’s not actually ALL the way done but i am already two days behind schedule thanks so our 100-106 degree heat wave and a wedding we attended this weekend, so i figured i should post it as is rather than wait any longer.
this little “nest” was the arm’s bracelet as you’ll recall. and the branch was a copper thing i found at an antique store around the same time (along with the grapes in the lower left as shown above), and among the first round of things i rusted with vinegar and water. i love the little bottle, which i found at another antique shop, but i’m not sure if i’m going to keep it there with a scroll/secret note in it or replace it for a different bottle (i wanted to make a necklace out of that one).
i never washed the dirt off the arm, but rather painted over it to preserve its disintegrated appearance. i think it looks pretty darn fab. this photo is crap so i’ll re-shoot one of these days. you can see the tiny book i made in the small compartment.
i made some tiny scrolls out of the paper from the large original scroll, and added a spring i recently found on my beach combing trip. i added a charlotte because it needed something and having been buried for so long it felt like it fit the feel of the piece.
here is the book out of the box:
and lastly, some of the texture on the sides of the box:
i’ll post more photos when i have it complete. i haven’t decided if i’m going to figure out a way to hang it or put it on a small base with feet. i think it needs something added to the top as well, but we’ll see.
thank you so much, seth! this was a lot of fun!!