There is such joy in making something out of shards and discards, especially if they have a history. Remember my post about provenance? I wrote, “If you look up “provenance” as it relates to collecting art, you’ll find that it refers to the trail of ownership of an art object, or the history that got it from there to here. But every object has a history and a story based on where it is found. As an artist, you can incorporate those stories to give richness to your work.”
So I call these new assemblages “Two-Byes” because they are made from small scraps of two-by-four lumber found at the edge of the junk pile of a construction site across the street. The house that’s being built there is on the site of a lovely old brick home that was torn down to make way for this giant new structure. Sigh.
At any rate, these Two-Bye assemblages are full of stories about where the parts come from, and the whole is always greater than the sum of the parts.
The Two-Byes start with stamped random words from an antique stamp set that was a gift from my friend Jean.
Picking out words to stamp give me a creative kick start – it doesn’t mean that the piece will be about seven white horses or Japanese combs, but pictures start forming in my mind about how these words suggest stories, materials, and choices. I love this stamp set!
The heads are fired earthenware (Texas Longhorn White) and I have used the same base face with variations for these guys.
This structure lends itself to all kinds of media. Here is a Two-Bye called “Love Letter” with surfaces of encaustic collage.
Here is one called “Indigo Girl” – she is covered with hand-dyed indigo cotton and has rusted metal elements. Rust and indigo are such natural partners.
Here is “The Artist’s Cat” – it also has rust elements and a “heart box” covered with a mica sheet that reveals a murky portrait of a cat inside.
One of the things I really like about assemblages like these Two-Byes is that they are a playground for experimentation. They come from humble origins but tell glorious stories in all kinds of media languages.
If you’re interested in learning more about assemblage, I have an online course called NEO SANTOS: New Interpretations of Folk Art Saints and Angels that can give you more ideas. I now some of you have taken it and I see what you’ve done with it – good for you!
But you really don’t need a workshop to put together a scrap-and-shard story – just collect some scraps of wood and fiber and metal and write some random words to guide you. See what happens!