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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.  ❤

mixed media assemblage, doll parts, taxidermy, alicia caudle, doll box, shrine, frozen charlotte, doll parts, bones

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?

victorian doll parts, assemblage, handmade book, alicia caudle, bones, taxidermy, secrets, mixed media art

the book is made with bones upon the spine and a metal and shark tooth closure i fashioned out of miscellaneous found objects.

alicia-caudle-bone-book

you can see several more detail photos on my site, here, if interested >>

what did you create today?

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i always love fellow artists’ blog posts when they share images of their collections, shots of where they create, photos of the places they dwell, etc.  i don’t do that often, so today i will share a little piece of what my sister claims to appear to be “creepy explosions” and “creepy corners” all over my house.  she’s a weirdo (and is always begging me to make her some art so i suppose she’s a secret lover of creepy too??).

this summer we were supposed to remodel our detached garage and morph it into the studio of bliss and divinity (which was put off from the summer previous), but that didn’t happen.  soon this will happen but i’ve given up my dream of a new studio for myself.  instead it’s going to be a safe and cozy place for kiddos with aspergers and autism to come, hang out, express themselves and make some really cool art.  i have the windows picked out and a plan for a mini loft and wood stove (we’ll see how that turns out — i giggle while i type as the husby will likely roll his gorgeous brown eyes and walk away when i announce such things to him as my plan).  i don’t suppose the kids really NEED a loft, but it would be fun.  my point, which seems not to be a point at all, is that i now have WAY too much stuff as i thought i would be moving my art goodness to a space 4 times larger than what i have but it’s now not happening.  i should have some giveaways!

a shelf in my studio

anyway, i enjoy filling my space with many hoards of various bits.  this big compartment box sits to my left while i’m at my main desk (there are four desks in here).  these are the things that i use most often so they must be readily available.  figure one: compartment hoards.

a collection of curious items
this is my favorite multi-level box of goodies.  i have buttons from the mid 1800s, lots of completely random rusty and metal items, bugs and bones and things i have no clue what they are.  just stuff i love.

collection of goodies for art

below is part of my charlotte and charlie collection, some of my brushes and tools and other odd things.  this is a fairly old pic — i was using a VERY large canvas and a piece of plaid wrapping paper for a makeshift curtain for a bit there as you can see.  it’s all better now and i feel so grown up with real life curtains.  🙂

a collection of frozen charlottes

one of my other obsessions is boxes of old watch vials, filled with watch parts.  i have a few, but this is one of my favorites.

watch parts, watch vials

i have an ever-growing collection of bugs and bones, too.  oh, and a chicken fetus.  i’m not sure where some of this went which is super sad.  i started packing some of it up for the new studio but since that isn’t happening now, i’m going to have to go unpack.  it will be like a pre-holiday celebration, i bet!

bugs and bones to use in my art

this is to the left of my sewing area — a wonderful and gorgeous wing book from my sweet friend kerinny ninny, some of my favorite doll heads, cards from my pal debrina in new zealand and a host of other things.


oooh, and my leather-bound handmade books!  the goddess book is such a treasure to me.  it was given to me by my hear friend jo archer in england.  the ones below were gifts from my mother and father in law from their trip to russia.  i love them all!  they have inspired a new obsessive collection of leather bound books.   remember brain boy?  yeah, that’s him in the vase.  i need to get my arse in gear and finish that piece!

hand made leather books, doll head

this is the wall just outside my studio which i can mostly see from my main desk/work space.  there you can find art by many amazing artists: kim palmer, lisa jurist, kc willis, joanna pierotti, lisa sarsfield and this chick named alicia caudle i once met.

there is no way i could make the time to post all of the amazing pieces of art i have in my home but i will highlight five of my favorites this round, and do another five sometime soon.

this is one of my dearest, sweetest, most favorite pieces ever.  it’s called “three bird house” and was created by kerin gale, my sweet and wonderful friend.  i bought this from her when we very first met and we’ve been friends ever since.  i will refrain from sharing the whole nightmare story about it but here is the quicky (a testament to how amazing keriny is!): it arrived with the top shattered.  i sent it back and poof (poof = a year and a half, haha)!  she fixed it and you could never ever tell it was broken.  love that girl!

art by kerin gale

copyright kerin gale

this was a wedding present from our dear friend kevin who is an amazing and intricate collage artist and painter.  this is huge and is one of the first things you see when you enter our abode.  click to enlarge — there is SO much going on in there!  sorry about the glare.

art by kevin

copyright kevin

this, of course, is a seth apter original entitled “melt”.  i saw it on his blog last year and had to snatch it right up.  i will own more seth art one of these days!

art by seth apter

copyright seth apter

this is the only michael deMeng piece i own too, though i hope to remedy that one of these days… when i’m not poor and starving.  🙂

art by michael demeng

copyright michael deMeng

this gorgeous piece is one of my all time favorites too — miss joanne archer sent it to me very recently and i LOVE it.  it’s titled “the harbour” and is hanging in my living room in a very prominent place so i can see it every day and share it with all who come to visit.

art by jo archer

copyright joanne archer

i got a new cell phone a couple of weeks ago and i’m obsessed with playing with all of the filters and effects on the camera.  sepia is one of my favorites.  this is the wall of my living room that i see while perched on the couch — just look up and to my right and this is what i see.  the piece over the shelf and the other to the right are both by the amazing and talented lisa jurist.  if you click to enlarge, you will see a sweet clothes pin doll that miss debrina made me too.  and of course my ever-growing bottle collection.  i got many of these from jo archer’s shop maud and mabel on etsy.  go shop there — she has stuff to die for!

living room wall

a creepy corner?  nopes.  just another little collection of goodness.

new curiosity box

i am in love with african porcupine quills and have them all over my house.  such purdy little things they are, but sharp!  (yes, that is a raccoon penis bone next to them.)

a collection of goodness

i should have gotten more shots of my vintage and antique medical tools.  i have three surgery sets and more than just the four vaginal speculums i’ve shown.  sorry to appear so narrow minded in the medical world.  sheesh.  this shelf is just inside the front door but i am thinking it may possibly make a bigger impact if i move it to the bathroom.  is that too creepy and weird?

vintage medical things

now i’m obsessed with this photo filter.  lovely!  i collect daguerreotypes… well, this is a new thing.  i have only two at the moment but you have to start somewhere, right!?  i like this handsome gent.

i collect ambrotypes, daguerreotypes, tintypes, etc.

what do you collect?  have any “creepy corners” to share?  i want to see them.  🙂

taxidermy, articulated skeleton, skull, carniverous plant, erotica book, french postcards, cloche

about three or four and a half weeks ago i happened upon the coolest website i’d found in quite some time.  it was for a shop called paxton gate, which is located in san francisco.  they have everything from articulated skeletons to taxidermy eyes, carnivorous plants to fantastically cool books, peacock feathers to cloches, plus bones, fossils and minerals, science junk and art, etc.  if you know me, you know i was elated beyond words.  i loved this site so much that i kept the tab open for weeks so i could peek back every now and then to drool a bit.

taxidermy, articulated skeleton, skull, carniverous plant, erotica book, french postcards, cloche

taxidermy, articulated skeleton, skull, carniverous plant, erotica book, french postcards, cloche

taxidermy, articulated skeleton, skull, carniverous plant, erotica book, french postcards, cloche

taxidermy, articulated skeleton, skull, carniverous plant, erotica book, french postcards, cloche

taxidermy, articulated skeleton, skull, carniverous plant, erotica book, french postcards, cloche

fast-forward to last weekend and a friend tells me while out for a couple of drinks… “there is a new shop on mississippi that i know you’ll love….”.  long story short, it’s paxton gate!!  how i did not know we had one in portland is beyond me.  well, true confession: i don’t get out much so it’s no wonder i didn’t notice it.  so, we ended up going the very next day, the husb and i, and i rather love that shop.  i have to say, though, that it’s both odd and comical to me that i have always loved bones and dead/preserved creatures and everyone told me i was “gross” or “morbid” and now it’s tres cool to have a taxidermy baby skunk or mink skull or dead, framed bugs in your living room, for example.  who’s morbid and weird now, huh!?  yeah… not just me… not that i ever thought it morbid or weird.

taxidermy, articulated skeleton, skull, carniverous plant, erotica book, french postcards, cloche

taxidermy, articulated skeleton, skull, carniverous plant, erotica book, french postcards, cloche

taxidermy, articulated skeleton, skull, carniverous plant, erotica book, french postcards, cloche

taxidermy, articulated skeleton, skull, carniverous plant, erotica book, french postcards, cloche

anyway, this is a cool shop.  a bit sterile and open, but very cool none the less.  you should check if out if you’re able.  at least check out the site

taxidermy, articulated skeleton, skull, carniverous plant, erotica book, french postcards, cloche

taxidermy, articulated skeleton, skull, carniverous plant, erotica book, french postcards, cloche

taxidermy, articulated skeleton, skull, carniverous plant, erotica book, french postcards, cloche

all images copyright paxton gate.

phew!  what a summer!  things are always crazier this time of year, aren’t they!  travel and kids home (mine and half the neighborhood), move travel and no time to work or art it seems.  at least we’ve had some adventures to spokane and coeur d’alene and long beach and corona and san diego and la and such… though not all were under the best pretenses (though that’s neither here nor there, i suppose).  i haven’t had a lot of time to art or hardly any time to visit my favorite blogs, but soon summer will be over and school days will reconvene.

crackle paint, crackled pearls, frozen charlotte, collage, assemblage
i’ve at least gotten to finish four more charlotte pieces for my attempted 100 piece series (now if i stopped selling these i could maybe actually have 100 someday!).  i have photos of numbers 9 and 11.  at least i have plenty of 1900 and 1901 sheet music to do twice that many so we shall see where i end with these.

i just did a PDF tutorial that i’ll be posting in a week or three on how to crackle and age frozen charlottes and other bisque or porcelain dolls.  as a result, i had lots of new little girls to play with.

mixed media art, frozen charlotte, fabric collage, rusty metal, crown, red, black

charlotte’s song #9: heart song

lots of vintage lace, naturally dyed and aged, metal bits and pieces that i’ve rusted, antique sheet music, recycled sari silk ribbon, etc…

mixed media art, frozen charlotte, fabric collage, rusty metal, crown, red, black

charlotte’s song #11 (i really need to photograph 10 and 12!)  this is just a simple one, but cute none the less.

mixed media art, frozen charlotte, fabric collage, rusty metal, crown, red, black

detail: a rusty or metallic charlotte and pretty turquoise stones.

mixed media art, frozen charlotte, fabric collage, rusty metal, crown, red, black

i have a 20 to 30 piece show with these little girls next month but the left-overs will surely be going up in my etsy shop (aiming to have 30 done just in case there is room but may only have room for 20).  better get to sewing though, huh!!

i also had the time to start three books, but just barely.   i gave a mini peek of book one a few days ago and will show it soon, completed.  that one is for me and is entitled phantoms and shadows.  i dig ghostly things, ya know?  book two was supposed to be for a collaboration that kerin and i are doing (see below) but she is a silly and fickle girl and wanted to change the size so this will be a different alicia-book which is just [almost] as thrilling ’cause i’m already loving it.  i’ve had so much fun working on these covers and am looking forward to hearing what everyone thinks once i get them done.  i still need to come up with a title and better theme for my big huge book with kerin (okay, not HUGE, but decent sized — i think they are 9″ x 12″ and will probably be a foot or three thick, hah), especially since the cover is nearly done.  we’ll be posting those in the weeks to come, huh keriny!?  other than these and my art journals, that’s really all i’ve gotten to do as of late.  but i shall not complain!

oh, the book… i almost forgot about these photos.  this is of course not at all done, but it’s a pretty fun cover, i’d say.  i am going to singe the lace a bit, for one… maybe do something to the bird skull but it’s so lovely natural “as is” that i’ll probably just leave it.  you can’t tell in this photo but the skull and vials are inset about 1/2″ or so from the rest of the book…

bird skull, taxidermy, animal teeth, porcupine quills, pewter frame, black vetvet, altered book cover

and i’m going to do that waxy alicia-thing to the ends of the vials before i actually attach them (they currently hold porcupine quills, something green and nature-esque, and some animal teeth — yeps, i like taxidermy parts and bones!)…

bird skull, taxidermy, animal teeth, porcupine quills, pewter frame, black vetvet, altered book cover

hopefully i’ll get at least two of these books done before summer’s end, and a handful more charlotte pieces.  i’m not sure why i like them so much but they are quite fun!

does anyone know where to get taxidermy bird wings?  i really, really, REALLY need one for this book.  have found nothing on ebay or anything else and know a lot of bird parts are illegal to sell (wings?) in some places.  if i wasn’t so sweet i’d sick one of our cats on a crow.  totally not serious!!

what are you working on this summer?

what a “treasureful” couple of weeks!  thank you again, seth, for such a wonderful collaboration!  i still have a couple more blog posts to peek at but it’s been such a blast to see all of the new and wonderful things i have, and to “meet” a few new people.

so, getting back to my treasure hunt from a couple of weeks ago, i really didn’t find much to speak of at the beach to be perfectly honest.  one day was lovely and stormy and although we tried to go out and hunt for goodies the sand seemed to enjoy stinging my legs and eyeballs as the 900 mile per hour winds slammed them into me.  i sound like a wimp, but seriously — would you rather be pelted by sand or go back and have nakey movie time?

visual intermission: too much text so peek at photos from my garden.

echinacea, foxglove, heliotrope, hydrangea -- my garden

what did i find?  i found a kitten for kerin, but i left it at the beach, and a weird shell and really cool rock (well, it’s pretty when wet, not as as vibrant when dry).  i found seth a rusty key and a shell that looks like a heart when opened.  i found debbie (debrina) the dumbest thing ever — a quarter.  but since she’s not in the US, she would like it more.  and a part of a claw to make up for it.  (hey, this was all left to fate!)  i found laura a claw too.  and tracey lucked out — i am not sure what type of vertibrae i found for her but it’s dang cool!!  and a shell.  i have a couple of extra claws too if anyone is interested.  i am just worried that they may not be dried out enough to send just yet.  anyway, send me your addresses if you would like your beachy-scavenger-treasure-of-fate.  i wished i found something really, really cool, like a shipwreck filled with amazing goodies, but perhaps that will be next month, when we return to the sea again.

(speaking of bones and treasure…) guess what my genius little boy did on monday!? he decided to jump down a flight of hardwood stairs at his friend’s house.  “only the seventh step” he keeps reminding me.  long story short, i got this LOVELY set of x-ray images from the radiology clinic on a shiney new CD this afternoon:

small bone fracture of a six year old arm

that boy sure does keep me on my toes.  BUT now he can be calm for a day or so and i can get back to blog treasure bliss and responding to emails AND EVEN a wee bit o’ client work. xx.

okay, today is so way better than yesterday with regard to found objects. after weeding in the gardens for a few hours i came in to work on some ATCs i’m doing for two swaps with debrina and deryn. my little guy ran in to tell me that i was not allowed either a) in our back yard or b) in the basement because they were “excavating a present” for me. after about 20 minutes i got bored waiting for paint to dry so went back out to weed in the front, and oh my gosh! my husband “interrupted” my efforts and… yeah… i have the best, most amazing husband in the world, let me just tell you. look what he found for me buried in the back yard!!!:

found bones for altered art and mixed media projects, opossum bones, skull, teeth

he painstakingly dug up each and every one of these bones, cleaned the soil and some fur off, bleached them and re-rinsed them before setting them in the sun to dry. look at all of these! vertebrae, skull bits, portions of jaw, teeth and fangs, ribs, leg bones, a shoulder, and all kinds of bits. i’m going to have soooooooo much fun with these beauties!

found bones for altered art and mixed media projects, opossum bones, skull, teeth

our orange cat even found interest in them:

found bones for altered art and mixed media projects, skull, fangs, kitty

i’m super excited today. 🙂

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