Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Brothers in (artificial) arms

Steampunk is powered by reimagined nostalgia -- but also by extremes. People and things are either completely covered up, or completely exposed. (Sometimes both at the same time.)
I'm fascinated by the exposed 'works: brass fittings and gears on reimagined machines. But there are also the accessories: prosthetic limbs (or tools that might as well be).
Via Skinz-N-Hydez/deviantART
So as I conceptualized my piece for the upcoming steampunk festival in Port Townsend, I drew inspiration from an antique sketch of a prosthetic hand, a "main de fer" (iron hand).
Then I found an image of two little boys in uniforms. Together, the images got me thinking about helping hands... and how hard it is for many (boys and) men to ask for help. Because that would mean risking exposure.
And that's how I got started on the "Brothers of the Iron Hand," as I decided to call this piece.

You can see the complete artwork at The Brass Screw Confederacy's steampunk festival on June 9th. For more details, go to the Events section of my Facebook friends page.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Steampunks and garages

Have you ever decided to do two exciting events -- and then wondered if you'd over-reached just a bit? 
Art in the Mother 'Hood takes some time and planning, if you're going to get anything done. So in April, I signed up for the Artists' Garage Sale in June, at the Schack Art Center. (You might remember the Schack is also the place I had to pull TwoBoo out of, kicking and screaming, before he accidentally broke anything in their masks exhibit. Boy, that was fun.)
Then Anna Nasset of AOT Gallery in Port Townsend put out a call for art, for the steampunk festival in June hosted by the Brass Screw Confederacy. And my internal dialogue went like this:
Hey, maybe she'll be interested in offering Miss Lucy Pettigrew for sale!
Oh, she is -- and do I have a steampunk wall piece to sell? Um...
The festival's a week before the Artists' Garage Sale. OhGodohGodohGod.
But I got the wall piece done! So at the festival you'll see Miss Lucy...
... and "The Brothers of the Iron Hand." Here's a sneak peek:
Now I have to pull together the items I plan to sell at the Artists' Garage Sale. It's pretty much what it sounds like: garage-sale prices on artwork, art supplies, and other items from their stash that the artists can bear to part with. 
Sure, it might be just as sunny as it is in this photo. But I'm still going to have a foul-weather precaution plan. I'll have assemblage work to sell, art magazines (mostly Stampington publications like Somerset Studio), and prints of my camera-phone photography.

So remember:

  • Brass Confederacy Steampunk Festival, "Bazaar of the Bizarre": June 9th, 10am-5pm, at the American Legion Hall (209 Monroe St., Port Townsend, WA)
  • Artists' Garage Sale : June 16th, 9am-4pm, inside and outside the Schack Art Center (2921 Hoyt Ave., Everett, WA)
Click on the Events section of my Facebook friends page so I'll know to look for you. I'll message you a full photo of the steampunk piece if you're going to the festival; if you're going to the Schack, I'll message you a photo of some items I'm selling there.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Coming to a storefront near you: art (and maybe wine)

I'm noticing a trend in right-brain-left-brain cooperation: art + nearby storefront = new creative enterprise that might drum up business in the surrounding area. Today on LivingSocial I noticed this:
Corks and Canvas Events offers a deal for a 3-course lunch and art lesson, usually $130 but only $65 with the deal. Alcohol not required for these events: you remember The Boy's seventh birthday party, right?
Notice the subtitle says "paint & sip studio." Besides kids' parties, Canvas in Kirkland, Washington also does grown-folks events.

If I remember correctly, the Canvas space used to be a pop-up art gallery to occupy a vacant storefront during the depths of the Great Recession. Business and city partnerships in Chicago and Seattle have also used this tool. And it's not just major cities: late last year Stephanie Lee coordinated a pop-up in southern Oregon.

Have you seen new art-related businesses in your area? Tell me in the comments.

Monday, May 7, 2012

It's their party, and he'll cry if he wants to

Happy birthday, Schack Art Center!
The kids and I went to the Schack's first anniversary celebration this past weekend, and like all good parties there was something fun for everyone.
A collage table for kids and adults...
... a print-pulling center...
... even the little guys like TwoBoo could color masks.
The art gallery featured some incredible masks from artists worldwide, both traditional (like the Baule mask from Ivory Coast)...
... and contemporary (by Margo Grothe and Marita Dingus).
But no birthday party for a one-year-old would be complete without a meltdown.
TwoBoo was happy -- well, not happy AT ALL -- to provide this service when I informed him it was time to go. I was just terrified he'd knock something over. Wood, clay, glass... so many choices.
Have I ever mentioned when he commits to a tantrum, he really commits? For about 45 minutes? As I carried him out kicking and screaming, one person joked TwoBoo is destined to grow up to be an artist. Personally, I think The Boy is already the artist...
... while TwoBoo, on the other hand, will be the agent who screams until the art gallery agrees to pay Rembrandt-level prices for The Boy's work. Plus TwoBoo's commission, of course.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Miss Lucy's debut

Isn't it time you had a little more steampunk in your life? Of course it is.
Let's join Miss Lucretia "Lucy" Pettigrew, relaxing in the garden in full Steampunk Sally gear, shall we?
Originally I was going to set the watch face, surrounded by copper tubing, on her chest. But it just seemed a bit much. Then I remembered, hey -- I have a ball tea strainer that would make it look like a pocket watch!
A green tag from my stash contrasted better against the rest of her clothing color palette. That tag turned into the base for a necklace hung on a chain of safety pins.
You might remember I said Miss Lucy's a bit of a firebug. She keeps a match within easy reach, in a bottle at the end of another safety pin chain woven into her curls. (Not gonna be easy to explain that to the authorities.)
And the goggles... putting them together from rubber scraps was so much fun I recommend making your own.
Miss Pettigrew will be joining me at the Artists' Garage Sale in mid-June. So if you'll be near Everett, Washington next month, come see us in person!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Faux mercury glass: fake it when you make it

Finally, a dry spring day on one of my days off! Time to try out the faux-mercury glass tutorial I found via Pinterest.
Anna of Take the Side Street beautifully lays out each step, so I'll leave the details to her. I tried out the technique first on some vases, to get the hang of it before I attempted it on glasses.
Kids, if you're an impatient person, this game is not for you. You'll have to wait a few minutes between spray paint applications -- the agony! -- otherwise the paint runs. Oh, and you'll also need gloves.
No, really. Your aim is not as good as you think it is.
Also: gloves when you're wiping away the diluted vinegar spray to create the aged look. You could forget the gloves off, but if you like your manicure... well, take a look.
Still working to get things the way I want them. When I have another dry day to spray, I'll do more show & tell.