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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:
november is art every day month. you can read about this here and see all of the participants here. please sign up if you feel you would like to — it’s such a great idea and i’m thankful to have heard about it before too much of the month got away from me.
i will be creating every single day of the month and will try to post at least every other day. this of course doesn’t mean i’ll have a new project completed every day, but i will be getting lots of things created.
right now i’m working on a series of ghost pieces… or haunted pieces. the first one i’ve completed is of a belly dancer (i’ve layered several vellum copies of her on top of one another, some wrinkled on purpose to give a more eerie appearance).
as you can see, i’m still quite obsessed with using these super cool old coin charms and tribal chain pieces. love them and for this piece, they felt quite befitting.
my second piece is in tribute to adella lineberry, 1885-1902, who died by getting trapped under ice while traveling with her husband and two small children. of course i made up this story, but i’m sure things like this have happened a zillion times in the past. i’ve always had a passion for memorial art, fact or fictitious (and i’ve done several custom pieces for people who have lost loved ones, which is some of my all-time favorite art — even though i don’t share it due to the sensitivity of it all). adella is not quite done, but here is a peek:
i’m kind of digging how the crystals look like ice (and yes, i’ve used that tribal chain again!). i’ll post more photos once it’s complete so you can see the silvery icy-looking cracks in the wooden substrate. today i have to write her obituary which will be included in the piece and then it’s almost done.
i have several images ready to go for this series and i’ll share two (these are more “haunting” than “ghost-like”). both of these images were taken on my new free phone’s camera and the camera sucks arse but it kind of adds to the effect, maybe. you can click to enlarge if you’d like.
and next, two sets of twins, or at least two sets of sisters. can you see the younger girls within the photo? i am thinking that this piece may have to light up from behind because it gives a hugely different effect depending upon the light you’re viewing the image in.
anyway, you get the gist. i will be posting each of these assemblages as i complete them, along with some of the other things i’m working on right now (the tallest handmade book in the world, some mini assemblage ornaments, and some new paintings). i’m taking this “art every day of the month” thing seriously (not that i often go a day without creating, but sometimes i get in too big of a funk to do much at all). i will not let my potential funks slow me down this time and with any luck this will give me more impetus to blog more often, too.
since i have to work cyclically lately between different mediums, sometimes i can’t decide if i want to create an assemblage or a book. they are, after all, the two things i’m most passionate about creating (though i’m still overly obsessed with the idea of creating a portrait i don’t hate). so this time i decided to create both in unison… a book inside an assemblage. it’s funny how i say that as if i’ve never done that before. i’m totally laughing right now. this is probably my forty-third assemblage with a book in it.
meet the second gal in my doll box series (the first, “exhibition of self” can be found in seth apter’s book “the pulse of mixed media” where i was one of the featured artists). i fell instantly in love with that little face of hers and had to create something special. at least i feel she’s special. ❤
like most people, she has her secrets; some are kept in the little drawer just above her heart, and others can be kept in the book within her belly. the drawer is actually not empty. can you guess what’s inside?
the book is made with bones upon the spine and a metal and shark tooth closure i fashioned out of miscellaneous found objects.
what did you create today?
first, the old.
the perimeter of my studio has been getting more and more cluttered over the past [VERY busy year] but now that we have a new pup and i want him to be a studio dog, i’m tackling the boxes and mini-piles. somehow, i managed to find a small cache of artwork that i never posted up for sale. this is round one of “the old”. since my walls are pretty much covered from ceiling to floor as it is, i’m having a “vintage alicia-art sale“.
charlotte in spring: i did do a blog post on this piece once many moons ago, but never ended up listing it. why? i’m ADD and am easily distracted by
shiny rusty objects (and i have plenty of those around here to catch my attention). otherwise, i have no excuse.
charlotte’s song #9: i did a 20 piece series called “charlotte’s song (late 1800s to early 1900s sheet music and frozen charlotte dolls, you see)… and this is the only one that remains. eighteen of the others sold, and one was given to my mum because she was in love. so sweet of her!
charlottle sometimes: i created this piece in late 2010, originally [i think] for kerin gale’s book “inspired remnants, curious dreams” but i ended up submitting a different piece instead… so she ended up in the “post this on your website when you have a spare hour box”… apparently it took a couple of years for me to remember to do what i had intended to do back then.
if you’re interested in any of these pieces, you can find them here >>
next, the new.
over the holidays i ran out of time to work on my “keepers” series of little assemblages, but now that my weeks and weeks of company are gone and craziness is over, i’m back at it. part of this was created awhile back, but i’ve just now finished it. i bought two pairs of these eyes that i used in the piece and lost one, so only have one left. if only i remembered where i bought them!! these were among my favorite taxidermy eyes ever! even worse, i had 6 of these little round metal bits that they fit perfectly in, and now at least three will go eyeless. about time for a taxidermy eye shopping spree again if i do say so myself. if you have a favorite taxidermy eye shopping place, please let me know. van dyke taxidermy is fantastic, but i can’t remember the other place i’ve gotten them.
the keeper of color. 5×5″, handmade box on collaged canvas.
click to enlarge if you’d like to check out the detail. my favorite part? the eye. i covered it with several layers of resin and crackled it around the edges. see:
this piece can be found in my regular shop, here: http://alteredbits.com/alicia-caudle-art.php, along with several additional detail photos.
i always feel like such an ass when i got extended periods of time without blogging or checking out other people’s blogs but the beginning of the school year is beyond insane and i’m not the courageous and omnipotent mult-tasker i used to be. in short, home school kicks my arse. and then it’s weeks later…
my arty to-do list is sooooo huge, but here is my plan (in response to email inquiries, some i’ve responded to and some i have not):
- catch up on the tallest book in the world project (two people did not include email addresses with their pages, by the way, so if you didn’t hear from me that’s probably why.) MUST finish this soon! this means: finish my pages, do the dedication/thank you/participants page. make covers. bind it. post it up for auction (after emailing everyone whose contact info i have to announce that my head has now been removed from my bum and things are proceeding, like seven years late, or so…)
- catch up on the zine and get it published for all of us! i didn’t forget or drop the ball, it just takes a bazillion hours and after the loss of my computer i lost my momentum. promise i’ll get it done, just can’t promise when.
- create some of the arty tutorials i’ve been asked about. more on this later… have to figure out where i’ll start.
- catch up on the 4.524 unread emails i have in my inbox (for some reason i initially typed “undead emails” and got a comical vision of zombie messages clawing their way out of my monitor — i think i need a nap!)
- initiate my next give-away — i already have a small pile of goodies, just haven’t gotten around to photographing or posting it (i wasn’t able to move my left arm for over a week, so that has something to do with it, but i’m fine now — it was just a pinched nerve, two misaligned vertebrae, a dislocated rib, a wrecked rotator cuff and a grumpy handful of tendons is all).
those are the main ones. just a few, but they mostly all big and cumbersome and scary due to lack of time. next item, post some of my most recent creations (that’s easy!)…
this one is the second in my keeper series, called the keeper of beach and bone. i like bones and beachiness.
and some side shots (i’m clearly obsessed with frozen charlottes, victorian era doll parts, bones, teeth, taxidermy eyes, shells and other such things):
and… (i haven’t decided if i should leave the bottle of teeth as a removable element or a permanent aspect — it’s currently removable because i like interaction, but the husby says that’s a not-great idea…)
the keep of beach and bone is now available in my shop: alicia’s art on the altered bits site >>
next, i’ve been obsessed with art dolls lately and have finished four (then started a fifth and sixth). this one is flying off to the other side of the continent next week. her name is… actually, i don’t know what her name is yet. i’ll let you know when she tells me… but she is the first of my waxen dolls.
(i’m still a horrible photographer!) her head is from a victorian era doll and i made the rest with lace, fabric, embellishments, found objects, wax, acrylic, and all sorts of other goodness.
this little gal’s arms and legs move and i totally love her stripey lace-bottomed leggings… so very alicia! her arms are tied on with little bows.
i’ll post more of my dolls this week.
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! 🙂
that [subject] just came to mind and now i want to paint something called just that: good and bad under a happy umbrella.
this year has started all chaos and thorns. it’s not entirely proper or professional to share, but i’m not always proper or professional, so there. plus, i felt i needed an “excuse” for my silence and such.
- my grandma passed away, which i already shared
- our family got screwed over for a couple thousand dollars we couldn’t afford to lose
- my computer crashed and i lost all software/operating system (it took a whole day and a half just to retrieve passwords for email accounts, my blog, facebook, twitter, paypal, website ftp accounts, etc.)
- i had to buy a new computer (is being built as i type — i should receive it by the end of the week, woots! it’s going to be a beast!)
- lost my $1800 adobe suite software and had to buy a new copy today (goodbye savings account — our brief acquaintance was too short-lived!)
- i have to start over on all of the layout/design of the altered bits zine which is going to delay things (if you missed the deadline, i will still consider your work since i can’t start working on it again for another week or so)
- i’m really poor now 😦 (i typed that with a giggle ’cause i don’t care so much about that other than the fact that it makes me nervous — today is good though — we get meat instead of rice for dinner)
- i have been working my arse (or fingers) off with new web client projects and am finishing my last two projects in the queue this week — fun times!
- i could actually afford new computer/software/etc. due to heaps of work and otherwise would not have been able to do any of it (thank you universe!!!)
- i finally received my copies of seth apter’s book and it ROCKS
- i’m a redundant back-up queen so lost no client files or photos or fonts or anything with the computer crash (phew!)
- i have the best son and husband in the world
- my in-laws rock and are taking both kids’ families on a cruise! (i can’t wait! we’re taking a train to seattle then cruising all over alaska and going to canada)
- i started 10 new assemblages, 3 new paintings and 6 new books last week
- i’ve been volunteering at the public school doing art with the special needs kids. the past three weeks we have been doing mixed media portraits. we finished today and they are all so fabulous! i so wish i could share, but i cannot due to confidentiality laws/rules/etc. i may sneak and share my son’s though. actually, i don’t have to sneak. it was so much fun!
- i have almost finished lisa’s book for the pulp redux collaboration
- i get to see my great friend kerin gale this week and we are starting a super fun art collaboration
- by the end of this week, my studio is going to look better than it ever has — i’ve spent about 30 hours organizing and cleaning and making piles of stuff for a yard sale. sometimes less is more, plus the $ is going to new siding for little bug studio. woohoooo! a definite easy sacrifice to make for the kiddos.
- we are trying to adopt a dog from a rescue and we may have the ability to get a service dog for the boy! i found him on pet finder the other day and applied. cross your fingers for us. we’re excited!
and the best of the best news is so great i cannot help but share even though i typically hate sharing ultra personal stuff in such a public fashion (it deserves a whole paragraph instead of a bullet). background: i was a single mama for four years, from my son’s birth until i married my husby. most people don’t realize this — they have such similar ear lobes and chins and knee-caps and body shapes that they appear to share dna… but they don’t. the husby was around since right after little man turned three, but we weren’t married until he was 4. anyway, just before the husby and i got married, he said he wanted to officially adopt my little bug and we paid heaps of money to an adoption attorney (who later stopped communicating with us, keeping our dollars, then claiming we never paid her — good thing i’m a receipt keeper!). i won’t go into that though because it’s pointless and negative and i’m happy and not easily sucked into other people’s poo. so, long story short — we hired a new attorney and in THREE WEEKS he did what the other attorney failed to accomplish in five years and now, my sweet little boy is the official, legit, true-life son of my beautiful husband. we just got the adoption certificate and will be receiving his new birth certificate listing my husband as his father any day now. how exciting is that! it makes me weep and giggle in unison — it’s like i just gave birth again but didn’t feel it, only better. we’re having a big celebratory party in honor of the completion of the adoption in a couple of weeks. wanna come? and if you need a referral to the best adoption attorney in oregon or washington, let me know ’cause i just so happen to know him.
so, there is way more good than bad. and most of the bad isn’t horrible anyway. just hugely annoying and expensive, hah. the only bad thing is the zine delay but this one was totally out of my control. the only files that somehow didn’t manage to get backed up was the design file i started. lovely, eh? it’s still going to rock though as i’ll just redo it. i was only about 20 hours into it anyway.
i hope your good is outweighing your bad too, or it’s all just good — that would be way better!
i’ve just finished a new little assemblage today that is part of a several piece series of doll assemblages. it’s called “death of the apothecary”.
i’ll probably end up adding some subtle text and numbers to the orange wooden disks at the top, but i’ll have to think about that one for a moment. the nails on top left little rusty remnants around the holes on the top — love that part.
here is a detail of the charlotte, complete with a little humanesque heart and red thread.
the little bottles inside the assemblage are topped with waxy goodness, and one a skull i fashioned from a bead and apoxy clay (that’s how i adhered everything — thank you kerin for turning me in on to this magnificent stuff!!).
can you tell what is in the bottles? i LOVE mixing mineral oil with colored water (the first bottle) — it’s kind of like a mini lava lamp when you shake it up. woohooo!
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.