The Daily Habit – coffee shop debris – 16″ x 18″ x 5″ – 2014 – $425.
This piece is made primarily with debris from a couple of local coffee shops. The path in the center is made with used coffee stir sticks, stained with coffee, tea, and cocoa. Contours on either side are built up with corrugated cardboard, and covered with papier mache’ made of newspapers, lightly used paper napkins, coffee chaff (a by-product of coffee roasting,) and tea leaves, with a small amount of caulk left over from a home tiling project, and some wood glue. Both are sealed with watered-down wood glue. Frame is an old drawer, sanded and stained with a mixture of coffee, black tea, and cocoa, and sealed with beeswax and olive oil.Working with these materials was fun, although I had some difficulties getting the texture of the papier mache right; newspaper is not very high-quality paper. I especially enjoyed making the herringbone pattern path, an ancient brick pattern I found in an article about archeological treasures of Afghanistan. The photo doesn’t show it well, since you can’t see the sides, but the ratty old drawer I started with became a beautiful object with sanding and many coats of coffe, tea, and cocoa stain, and a hand-rubbed finish.
The Pearly Gate – 36″ x 40″ – reclaimed materials – 2014 – $670
This is a playful piece, which was labor-intensive but fun to make. It is almost entirely made of recycled and reclaimed materials. It began with an old chain-link gate, which got spray-painted white. The paper “pearls” are made from strips of an old Japanese advertising poster, rolled up to make beads, and they are chained together with paper-clips, salvaged from a corporate file-shredding event. The infinity knot in the center is made from two pieces of oxygen tubing, one filled with kosher salt, the other with himalayan salt. Crystal drops from an old chandelier are hung with paper-clip wire, as are the shiny diamond shapes cut from old computer CDs. Also suspended the same way are cast paper medallions, which are made from toilet tissue; from the centers of large commercial rolls that get changed out before they run out completely. The patterns of the cast paper were made with molds of old buttons.
If you click on the image above, you should be able to see a larger version, and here is a detail:
The Pearly Gate – detail
Chalk Wall Mandala – 74″ x 74″ – chalk on wall – 2012
The week before my 50th birthday, I had a friend who is a house-painter paint this wall of my dining room with teal chalkboard paint. I spent the morning of my birthday drawing this mandala with chalk. I did not use any measuring device except my hands.
Next time I erase the wall and draw a new mandala, I plan to film it in time-lapse, so I’ll be able to post a video shown how it starts at the center and grows outward.
Pushpa – 24″ x 24″ – wall texture, watercolor , on recycled flooring – 2013 – private collection
Pushpa is the sanskrit word for “flower.” This piece was made for my brother’s house, to provide a focal point for a little room with a peculiar sponged-on paint job. The substrate is several pieces of salvaged flooring, fitted and glued together, which are covered with wall-texturing plaster. Watercolor paint is brushed over the plaster, then the design is inscribed through the color with a sharp tool; a technique that is referred to in ceramics as sgraffito.
The Blossoming of Silence – 23″ x 23″ – watercolor, wax, sequins, beads, thread – 2013 – $450
I really had fun making The Blossoming of Silence, partly because I got to work with so many colors at once. The blues, greens and golds of the geometric form were painted on separate pieces of watercolor paper, then cut up and collaged onto the the background, which is warm colors in the center, fading out to the blue around the edge. The texture is made by dropping table salt into the watercolor as it dries, and the little bright spots you see at the intersections are sequins and beads that are sewn on to the paper before the whole thing is coated with encaustic wax. Here is a picture of the under-painting, before construction of the mandala. You can see my studio assistant lying under the table at the right, and how I had the paper taped to an old rocket poster.
Under-painting of Blossoming of Silence
This piece was made for the 2013 St. Stephen’s Community Art Show, where it won third place in the mixed media category. Click on the picture at the top to see it larger.
Sowing Seeds – 12″ x 12″ – found images and encaustic – 2013 – $125
A second piece made with the combination of squares and diamonds that makes this lovely tumbling pattern. This one looks at first glance like it might be made out of wood, because of the colors. Like Liberty, it is named for the image on the central piece; a man walking behind a plow. The frame is made from recycled plastic bottles, the substrate is a piece of an old poster, and the images are from discarded magazines, making this piece almost entirely recycled.
Liberty – 12″ x 12″ – found images, wax encaustic – 2013 – $125
The pattern here is one I discovered in researching ancient roman tile patterns, and I fell in love with how dynamic it is. This is the first of two pieces I made playing with this pattern. Most of the piece is made with pieces chosen for their texture, color, and value (lightness or darkness,) rather than recognizable images, but the title comes from the image on the very center piece. Click on the image above to see a larger zoomable version.
The frame is made from recycled plastic bottles, which are transformed into a classy wood substitute, and the backing board is recycled also.
First Blossoming of Silence – watercolor – 12″ x 12″ – private collection
A lotus, painted one day when I was in a contemplative frame of mind.
Oak of Kildare – watercolor – 12″ x 12″ – not for sale
Saint Brigid of Ireland is a favorite character of mine, known for her generosity and hospitality. She founded a large double monastery (both men and women,) which is named for the sacred Oak tree near which it was located.