Saturday, November 20, 2021

JOYEUX – the process

‘Tis the season – and time to show the creation of my Christmas piece from my ‘bears&boxes’ series. Jay constructed the box for me and I lined the inside with paper. I really liked this pattern – kind of rustic, kind of vintage. And thanks to him I had a nice blank slate with a hole in just in the right location.

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I knew I would be lighting the piece with battery operated lights so I began with the word JOYEUX behind which the battery and lights would be located. Some #idea-ology stencil letters with alcohol ink adorned the hinged shelf. I added some distress glitter for a bit of shimmery goodness.

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I added another shelf close to the top where a small vignette would eventually reside.


Parts and Pieces:

I painted the resin deer pink because you know, it goes. And this teeny tiny deer will live happily in a ‘snow globe’.

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A Santa and a snowman, all part of the #idea-ology line began as unpainted resin figures which I painted, and added more distress glitter.

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The bottle brush tree began life in a natural state, unadorned and sort of a cream color. With spray stains and some alcohol inked baubles, the tree was transformed. Thanks @timholtz !


Behind the tree, a vellum winter scene accented with glitter. Love the icicles too!


It seems like everything received a coat of paint – white paint (and glitter) - this time on wooden snowflakes.


I also tittivated a couple of rather ordinary Christmas ornament deer with paint, glitter, bells, and ribbon.  They seem much happier now.

Then it was on to make the little, tiny village houses. I only had a small ledge, but they fit perfectly, and I was happy I was able to use some of my favorite paper from a previous project.



Chipboard die cut adornments and some icicles rounded out some of the interior details.

On the outside, I covered the box with coordinating paper to which I added stenciled snowflakes with molding paste and glitter.

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The teddy was joy to make, and it was my first time creating a tiny, toboggan hat. She looks quite cozy.





Basic ingredients: paper, paints, stains, pastes, glitter, glue. And lights!  Don’t forget the lights! Throw in some sticky fingers, a few sighs, and some finagling and you have the recipe I used.

To cap it off, this piece won first place at the Hunt Valley Holiday Show and now happily lives in Brooklyn, NY. Here are the three gallery winners – sweet friends.  I am in the middle of these two lovely ladies.


Now it’s time to celebrate and decorate! JOYEUX NOEL!

As always, thanks for reading!


Tuesday, August 17, 2021

“The Workshop”: How It Came to Be

“The Workshop” took quite a bit of time to create.  Perhaps you viewed the minute long video I made of the finished piece.  If not, you can click here and watch it if you’d like.  But that was the end.  Here I aim to show you the process through photos I took as it progressed from an the beginning to completion.

I started with the idea in my head of an industrial warehouse space with a steampunk inventor designing a set of wings that would send his assistant aloft.  From there I began to construct the building.  I used foam core and styrofoam to eliminate excess weight.


I wanted the warehouse to have the appearance of a brick exterior so I added it through the use of stencils and paint.  It was time consuming because in between applications it had to set.



In the meantime, I worked on other details.  Here you see the beginnings of the shelves that will hold the various tools, trinkets and other things the inventor likes to have around.


From the very beginning I wanted him to have a desk for his drawings and a desk lamp appropriate to the steampunk era.  Inspired by ‘real’ life lamps, I fashioned one from tubes and gears.  The tube allowed me to thread the wires for the light bulb – because it had to actually work, of course.


Steampunk naturally has pipes and often rusted ones so I made some to hold the shelves and provide some interesting visuals to the back wall.  I especially loved creating this part, no matter how maddening and tedious it could be at times.


This little font, which arrived as a kit, seemed like the perfect thing an inventor would have in his space.  Luckily the diameter of the opening was exactly right for the globe I happened to find afterword. Some things you just can’t plan and it makes the resulting lucky find all the sweeter.  This was also going to be lighted so I added a tube to the center to accommodate the wires.


Painting, adding gears, more painting.


A central feature of the workshop was going to be the lighted steampunk clock on the back wall.  I have done something similar in the past, and I learned that first comes the arrangement.  Then I document the design with a photos.  Then everything gets disassembled for painting, only to be reassembled with glue.

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Here’s my tentative layout before all the shelving boards were stained.  I used different kinds of wood and stain so they were all different in the end.


I also created a guide so I would know how many pipes I would need, what shape they would be and where they would end up in the arrangement.


Back to painting pipes!


The clock has a subtle map which you can see if you study the finished piece. It is sandwiched between the interior and exterior walls with gears and cogs.


The warehouse also needed some ‘steel’ beams that spanned the ceiling – and they had to be a bit rusty too.


The room is lit during the day by natural light which comes through the skylight which I made from acrylic.  How my brain resisted the math needed to figure angles and cuts!


A few more photos of details.  A steampunk telescope.


The steampunk globe.


The chalkboard for calculations, notes and such.


A pulley – it is a workshop after all.


A bulletin board for drawings and sketches.


Tiny pencils – a necessity.

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The assistants wings under way.


Here’s a photo of the inventor, Tiberius.


His assistant, Anna.


And “The Workshop”.


This piece was part of the opening night gallery at TBAI, in Binghamton, NY.  I invite you to follow my adventures with bears – whether I am making them to exist on their own or in bears&boxes or in vignettes.  For Instagram, click here.  For Facebook, click here. Thanks for reading!

See you next time!

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