Ok, couldn't resist that title! She started out as Mz @ but 'where it's at' just wouldn't leave. For many years my friend Helen and I bought each other things to make art with. A year ago or so, Helen dismantled her working studio and passed everything on to me – including many things I had given to her. This wonderful porcelain torso was among the bounty and recently, she decided to become art.
As usual, I walked around the studio looking for just what/who else wanted to be part of this piece. When I came upon the large @ symbol, I knew she was Mz @ is Where It's At. And somehow, the feistiness of that name, reminds me of Mz Helen too.
The face on the front is stamped into air-dried clay. The silver moon face on the front and blue moon face on the back is made with molds in polymer clay. These were all from a day in the studio when Helen and I made a supply of such embellishments.
With assemblage, in the end, individual pieces merge into the whole, but as you are working on a piece, each element is chosen and placed specifically. I have various ways of doing this. I begin with the key piece – such as the large @ symbol which became the head of the piece. The bronze on the torso and the @ piece begins to influence the color choice. I continue the studio search, looking and picking. I typically place these items in a tray as I go along After the first sweep, I begin trying various placements on the piece. Some stay and a few go to the 'return' pile. I often sketch the placements or sometimes photograph them as I go along. The energy of the piece keeps building in layers and this usually sends me off on another studio search. Sometimes I feel the piece needs a punch, usually a quality I can only describe as 'atonal'. The face on the torso front is one such piece, the lizard on the base, another.
With this piece, I began to hang the various pieces and added items glued to the torso in a somewhat random way. With a box assemblage you may have to have more of plan, since you have to pay attention to the actual construction of the glued pieces, i.e., larger pieces have to be glued before small pieces, etc. Eventually, the piece quiets and feels complete.
|Mz @ Is Where It's At torso assemblage 18" tall|
I get a great newsletter from Joanna Grant aka Joanna Banana – a wonderful collage and altered art artist, who I've mentioned before in this blog. Recently she shared about a new online altered art supply source and now I'm passing it along too. You will want to check out Retro Café Art. Under altered art supplies, I especially like all their masonite [a kind of smooth wood product] offerings, from a 7" tall hand shrine, which a little niche in the palm, to their unique 'stand ups' masonite designs with a base. You can use them for 3-D elements in an assemblage or without the base, as a dimensional embellishment glued directly to a piece. I, of course, especially like the hands, but there are large and small numbers, houses, people and more. All waiting for your paint, collage, beads, etc. There are many other delights, including actual vintage items. Enjoy!