Monday, May 30, 2016

Homunculi and other arcane things

To combat some burn-out, I took a class last year from the amazing Leighanna Light.  (Here is her website if you want to see her work.  She is awesome.

The class was about something else entirely but we used metal tins and stuff to make a figurative sculpture.  It was neat but frustrating to me as I missed my metal working tools where parts joined together, I wanted to use cold connections and other jewelry techniques.  I wanted to be more intricate and handcrafted with deep complexity and meaning built deep in the sculpture.

Since then I have started creating what I have come to call Homunculi (plural)/Homunculus (singular) - or informally "My little Mens".  I use all my metal cold connection techniques along with other jewelry making skills.  Many of the parts are fabricated from bits of metal I dig out of the recycling bin in the studio.  It often takes me a month of combing through the bits to make a sculpture. Then something will set me off and another thing entirely happens.

I start with an empty Altoid tin, take it apart and burn the paint off.  I add texture, patina, my own paint, stamp words, shapes - what ever moves me at the time.  Then I create a feeling or a impulse, or a suggestion of some sort using fabricated/discarded/collected/loved bits and pieces from a long life.  Almost everything I use has a story of when it was collected and why.  I love repurposing things I have loved and dragged along for the decades into a piece of art that will find a new home and create new stories. 

I just finished this one and am totally in love with it.   The face is a mold taken from a doll I had as a child, cast in paper clay, and glazed with many layers of paint and varnish.  I would tell that doll things I told no one else.  Sometimes even my dreams.


It's been a rough year, health-wise.   I have had three cancer scares, two have resolved into something else - one is still pending some time passing.  It's so frustrating there isn't a blood test for cancer - why do we have to go home and let time pass and then get another X-ray to see if it's grown?  So that is going on.  Another X-ray later this summer to see if the spot has changed at all, I'll keep you posted.

And I had a heart-attack, well, I thought I might be having a heart attack.  The symptoms women have are very different than men* so I decided to go into the ER when I started to faint when I was just sitting.  It was a well-oiled chute once there - all sorts of things just happen.  One of the things was getting hooked up with leads and my heartbeat checked.  Another thing was getting some serious X-rays.

The doctor came in to tell me I have the heart of a 30 year old (who I imagine will want it back some day) and sent me home.  The next day, I got a call about a spot on my lung.  So that is where this Homunculus started.

The left arm is created of the actual leads attached to my body sewn together with wire.  The face is hand-sculpted in paperclay and painted and patinaed.  I've actually shown you the story I create inside each sculpture, inside the tin - I put something special to share.  To tell more of the story.  To remind us to keep the focus on being alive for as long as we can.  Each of the parts, as with all the Little Mens means something, has a deeper story to tell.

Sufficient unto the Day
Still alive so live

This is PLU - the cash register key on the chest.  Various bits of this Homunculus were from the old electronic cash register my husband and I used to haul around to all the zillions of art in the park type shows we used to do.  It did good, helping us with taxes and making change.  But it eventually died.  I tore it apart and kept the cool bits.  This is one of my favorites with all the electronic parts and then the chip brush that kept ending up as the leg.  The switch is attached to the bit that held the bills in the tray.  You can also see "the rest of the story" inside the tin below.

Please look up

Created from a long thin tin which doesn't have more story inside, btw.   Raven has a hand sculpted face created from paper clay and heavily patinaed.  The bell is something I bought in the early 1970's when I was making macrame wall hangings.  It finally found a home along with a bit of turquoise nugget and the back of an old pocket watch.


Arcane drawings on the raven face.

It's almost dyeing season again!  I am really excited!  I pulled out my indigo pot and refreshed it and dyed some silk.  Ahhh. Better now!

1 comment:

Jester Jay Goldman said...

Very cool stuff. Art is usually meaningful, even when the artist tries to obscure the meaning. I like that your pieces have a story (and a history) that you share, but are evocative enough to feed my own reactions.

Love and health to you