Tag Archives: hanging sculpture

Trial Balloons?

Late Arrival Ornaments

As I shared last time, now is of course the season that the gallery gets decked out for the holidays.  I had put in some overtime in the creation of new art dolls earlier in the fall, and then turned my attention to some other gift type items for installation at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts in mid November.

I was still doing some design work on one additional type of ornament when we hung the holiday show a couple of weeks back, so I didn’t get the chance to share them with you last time.  I had been toying with the idea of a steampunk style vintage hot air ballon that would combine several of the media I like to play with in the studio.

This is the result…

Steampunk hot air balloon ornament

Steampunk hot air balloon ornament

There are currently three of these hot air balloons flying among the ornament selection in the gallery, and I’ll be getting started on a new batch over the weekend.  I’m quite pleased with the end result, though they did take a bit of working and reworking until they had exactly the look I was going for.  In fact, the one pictured was the very first I completed, and I tweaked the design with each of the subsequent. I think I finally have something close to a formula, but as with all of my work, each one is a unique one of a kind sculpture all its own.

Each balloon starts with a paper maché ball that I smooth out with a coating of paperclay.  After sanding, I hand paint and antique each. The baskets come to life with some light metal fabrication, and decking out with some goodies from my embellishment stash.  Lastly, I create a beaded wire net and connect the ballon to the basket with some chain.

They are perhaps a bit labor intensive for just a holiday ornament, but there is no reason they can’t be hung to fly in the home year round.

 

Holiday Treats and a Circle

I have mostly been busy creating items for the gallery for the holidays the past few weeks. Along with new art doll sculptures this includes a few extra jewelry creations, and several types of ornaments. Even though these are smaller pieces that I make several of at a time, I do hand craft each as a distinct original piece.

holiday ornaments and ornament cards

ornaments and ornament cards

I think that my “ornament cards” illustrate this best. The small metal repouseé panel that is on each starts out as a piece of blank tooling foil. I sketch a design on each with a dry erase marker, and then use a variety of stylus tools to shape the design front and back to create a relief sculpture. A sparkly card stock backing is then attached by edging the two panels together with metal foil tape.  With the addition of an eyelet, a hanging ribbon, and attached to a card it becomes both a greeting and a gift.

I also forge copper stars and hearts from copper stock, and pierced aluminum. These are finished with a variety of found objects from my steampunk-y materials stash.

This year I wanted to add an ornament with a nod to my art dolls. I created the little “snowflake dancers” you see in the photo. Each starts out with a wooden bead and a couple of pieces of twisted wire. Brads for eyes, tinsel hair, a wrapped yarn leotard, and skirts of copper and tulle complete these miniature hanging dolls.

My latest art doll is also a hanging piece. Following our first ever Juried art show at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts (more on that in a couple of weeks); HGA will host “Art All Around” in January. This gallery group show will feature works that in turn feature circles.

art doll Cirque III

Cirque III

My piece for the show is “Cirque III”, she is the third in a series of aerialist dolls fashioned in the style of a “cirque” type circus. This doll I purposely balanced and positioned so that while hanging, the slightest breeze or air movement will cause her to move in a circular plane. This of course made photographing her all the more of a challenge, but I do like the effect. She will be in the gallery starting the last week of January.

 

Back to the Gallery

My weekend forray to the land of re-born baby dolls was an interesting experience. I must admit that the ultra realistic baby dolls there were not my cup of tea, but there does seem to be a very dedicated group that practices the craft and/or collects the “babies” as they refer to them.  My sculptured art dolls were most definitely different from everything else there, and they did receive a very positive response from those walking around the exhibit floor.

Yesterday, several of my pieces returned to their usual venue, the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts.  They do look much more at home atop their pedestals than all grouped together on a table.  With a little visual room the viewer is allowed more time to take in all the details of each figure.

art doll Steam wall display

Steam wall display

I did take the time to do something different with the display of one of the returning dolls. In the gallery we have a room that we use to display member artists’ printed pieces like prints, note cards, books etc. Along the walls of this room, we have acrylic card holders that hold artist bio cards for visitors to help themselves. Above each card bin there is a bit of wall space where each of us can display one or two small works.

I usually hang a mixed media wall sculpture, but this month I decided to put one of my seated art dolls there. Steam looks pretty comfortable atop her shadow box display, and the interior of the box provides a great space to store the display block she usually perches on, and her information label.

Now it is time to get back into the studio and create a few more pieces for my featured artist show that opens at the end of July.  I’ll be sure to give you a sneak peek right here.

Photographing a Moving Doll

art doll cirque 2

Cirque II

“Cirque II” is my latest art doll figure.  Like my original “Cirque” she is a fanciful aerial silks acrobat. I enjoy occasionally creating dolls like these that hang rather than sit or stand on a base.  They allow for movement to enter into the design.  Properly balanced and positioned, a doll like Cirque II can catch the slightest bit of air movement and dance or spin.

I like how this adds another dimension of interest to the piece.  It also allows for greater flexibility in display. However, it does provide a unique challenge in the area of photography.  Obtaining that crisp and clear photograph of a sculpture that is moving, no matter how slowly, can be vexing.

Thankfully, the dolls are not very large, or heavy. The addition of a couple more strands of mono-filament at strategic locations to tether her in a fixed position seems to be the answer.  Trying to give the illusion that she is still moving while she is not was the goal.

Here is a shot of her predecessor…

art doll cirque

Cirque