I love doing mixed media artwork. I often feel confined if stuck using one form of media. Art like nature, in my mind, should be flowing, entrancing, organic in thought and in form. The inclusion of recycled elements in art not only helps the environment but gives a second life to pieces once forgotten. In my travels I am constantly looking for things to use in my artwork, such as dried plants, sticks, metal, stones, anything that might catch my fancy.
One of my favorite ancient Egyptian myths was how those long past and forgotten would live again if people would repeat their name and talk of their life. When I make recycled art I try to pick ancient ideas and stories to replay with modern recycled goods. I feel I am giving people glimpses of stories and worlds long forgotten, whispering ideas of times past using the tools of unwanted items of today.
The Recycled Princess:
In her former life this was a rather badly damaged Barbie doll. The toy had a major amount of gouges, scratches and was apparently chewed on. While I know many other people have done mummy dolls before I often find them grotesque and not well made. I wanted this one to be as realistic as possible, just in miniature format. Her wrappings are muslin scraps dyed with used tea leaves. Her jewelry is made from old earrings and all her pendants and amulets are made from polymer clay. All of the acrylic pant is from old paint bottles I found at a yard sale; they were somewhat on the “chunky” side but when layered on the plastic of the Barbie it looked like mummified skin. Her hair was also dyed with the old acrylic paints. To bend the arms into new positions I put them in a boiling water bath to re-shape.
Now this once forgotten toy tells a story of a ancient princess, carefully mummified, silently resting throughout eternity.
Beautiful Crone Maiden:
Found poplar tree sticks laying on the ground in a circular pattern was my inspiration for this piece. I collected those sticks and tried to arrange them as I had found them, using old hemp twine. The addition of beads and shells from broken old necklaces, dried weeds and found raven feathers all helped to give meaning. It took me tinkering around with polymer scrap clay to create the center piece. I gave her a headdress of rabbit fur salvaged from a rotting fur coat. I only use old recycled leather and fur in my pieces.
A story of a medicine woman, ever seeing but sightless, dreaming of visions of the future build on the past.
What wonderful stories might you create out of found objects and scraps?
Until next time, safe travels!