Assemblage assembly tricks – and a place to get inspired

Stick with me, Kid – I’m been furiously creating assemblages for the last month for Marta Stafford’s First Friday opening in Marble Falls – be there!

“Assemblages” by definition mean you have to stick stuff together, and I’ve learned more about attaching stuff to other stuff than I ever thought possible. Here’s a quick look at some adhesives and glues and how I use them.

GLUE STICKS:

I use these to tack layers of lightweight material to each other before attaching them to more permanent surfaces. In this photo, you can see that the layers of amate paper are stuck together to keep them from shifting. I’ll go over the surface with beeswax soon, but right now a glue stick is perfect to keep them from shifting. I like Scotch Permanent glue sticks, BTW.

E6000:

If you have two different materials, such as clay and wood (below) and can weight the pieces for several hours, E6000 is a great solution. The self-leveling formula forms a powerful bond with most any material and will remain flexible once cured. You just have to be patient (which sometimes doesn’t work for me).

HOT GLUE GUN:

This is the method I most often use in my workshops because you get an instant bond. You can work quickly and It is the most versatile adhesive you will find. I have had some pieces come loose after a few years, so I discovered a trick that I’ll share.

When you are ready to hot glue two objects together, such as a clay face to a piece of archival matboard, put a small dab of E6000 on the substrate and then hot glue the objects together right over the E6000. The hot glue will bond immediately, and the E6000 will cure gradually and provide a stronger bond. And you get instant gratification.

2P10:

I have to thank my contractor for this tip – he told me about this stuff. Man, 2P10 is scary strong and scary fast! The piece below got its designed changed because I made a crooked bond, but it turned out great – happy accident.

You have to be absolutely ready to make the attachment and work quickly. I would advise you to practice with some scrap pieces before using the two-part system. Follow the cautions. But if you want to glue a Volkswagen to a tree, this is the stuff for you!

This piece has metal glued to paper glued to clay glued to wood glued to canvas – etc – but 2P10 works on almost all surfaces. Use with care.

Hope some of this helps you with your own assemblages.

BUT WAIT!! If you want to see some of the most beautiful assemblages in the universe, go to the Bijou Theater tonight at 6:00 for Celebration Circle’s Altar show!!

ONE PEOPLE, MANY PATHS: The Sacred Art of Altars 14th Annual Exhibit & Silent Auction is a must-see!

Tickets are just $15 and are available at this link.

Here’s a list of participating artists, and you can bet you’ll be inspired to get out there and glue stuff to other stuff after you’ve seen this spiritual altar assemblage exhibit!

Maria Alvarado, Zet Baer, Lyn Belisle, CeeJay Black, Bill Bonham, Pam Bryant, Susan Calkins, Sofia Dabalsa, Susan Damon, Steve Daniel, Lynn Denzer, Sandy Dunn, Jane Dunnewold, Dani Ferguson, Sarah Ford, Betty Franklin, Karl Franklin, Joan Frederick, David Anthony Garcia, Skip Gerson, Suzy Gonzalez, Martha Grant, Rudi Harst, James Hendricks, Jon Hinojosa, Dawn Horten, Jagwired Art, Julie Jarvis, Joy Jimenez, Stefani Job Spears, Amy Jones, Deborah Keller-Rihn, Mark Kohnitz, Kevin Lewis, Fontaine Maverick, Marcia Rae McCulley, Jeff McDaniel, Beverly Meyer, Kathy Miner, Jose Mojica, Susie Monday, Alexandra Nelipa, Ray Palmer, Cindy Palmer, Junanne Peck, Cynthia Phelps, Kathleen Pittman, Theresa Powers, Tomas Ramirez, Thom Ricks, Patsy Sasek, Ron Schumacher, Bill Simons, Chuck Squier, Jodi Stauffer, Melanie Strybos, Pamela Taylor, Dean Valibhai.

 

 

 

 

 

Behind the scenes for today’s workshop

It’s true – I usually show you workshops videos after the fact, but I thought it would be fun to check in BEFORE the workshop to show you how I work up a prototype.

Today’s upcoming workshop is called NeoSantos, and yesterday I played around in the studio with some ideas for construction.

Here’s the workshop description:

NEOSANTOS are small persomal icons that hang in your sacred space to bring you blessings.
“Santos” are found throughout many cultures. Some are primitive, some are very sophisticated, but all are sacred.

The Project – create a personal Neo (‘new”) Santo with your own intuitive creativity for yourself or as a blessing for another person.

The Process – Construct a neosanto sculpture on canvas using found objects, shard faces, paint and mixed media.

The Goal – Learn the secrets of 3-D construction on canvas while exploring your own sacred symbols.

I consulted my written outline, then I assembled some simple materials.

First step – painting an 8×10″ canvas that has writing and scribbles and scumbled acrylic paint for the background. This is set aside.

Second step – wrapping two small pieces of archival mat board in handmade mulberry paper using glue sticks.

Next step – attaching the two wrapped shapes together with gool ol’ hot glue.

Next Step – playing around with collage elements – in this case, narrow strips of paper.

Next – adding some unusual textures – in this case, a torn strip of a prayer flag from Tibet.

Next step – more stuff!! More acrylic paint to veil the collage elements, trying out different materials – you know, all the fun things.

  Next – lay a small earthenware face onto the construction to see where it’s headed – do I like it? Not completely, but I’m not finished. And the face isn’t attached yet so I can change it any way I like.

At this point, I’m going to stop with this prototype and when the workshop participants arrive this afternoon, I’ll show it to them, explain  how I did it so far, then ask for suggestions. It’s a great way to work collaboratively.

I’ll take pictures during today’s workshop and make a little video for you to see the results. Stay tuned!

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PS – The response to the Talisman Workshop eBook has been overwhelming! I’m making little talisman faces as fast as I can – thank you thank you!!

 

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In praise of nature

I’m lucky enough to live across the street from a woodland area, and when I go walking in the morning, my pockets are often filled with rocks or sticks or even little critter bones that I’ve picked up along the way.

These natural objects are like mysterious sentences in a story or lines in a poem without words. You do that, too – right?

Sometimes, these things end up in a big jar on my bookshelf, looking kinda creepy cool:

Jars of found nature objects on my bookshelves

Jars of found nature objects on my bookshelves – ok, so the face didn’t actually appear like that in nature 🙂

And sometimes, they end up in assemblages and little shrines.

Lyn Belisle: Nature Shrine

Lyn Belisle: Nature Shrine

So when Zinnia at Artful Gathering told our faculty that we would be teaching nature-themed classes this summer, I was ecstatic!! Artful Gathering is my favorite “summer camp” and online creative community. Here’s the description of my Nature Shrine class:

Session Two: July 16 – August 26

Lyn Belisle will show you how to make small shrine-like assemblages created from serendipitous finds in natural settings. Through the power of storytelling with symbols, Lyn will show you how to construct natural elements enhanced with her iconic air-dry faces. You’ll combine rocks and shards, twigs, leaves to create a meaningful non-verbal story.Then, using unconventional construction methods such as knotting, wiring and wrapping, you will create diverse surfaces on little 6 x 6 canvases that can be displayed in a variety of ways.

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As part of the Artful Gathering fun, we’re having a Blog Hop. That means that somewhere on my blog page, there’s a secret word for you to collect. It’s not too far, and when you collect all of the words, you can win truly nifty prizes. The secret word is right around here, AND it’s easy ( wink). Click here for more about the Blog Hop.

But wait, there’s more! In the first AG session, I’m teaching an encaustic portrait class called Natural Expressions – here’s the info:

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Session One: June 6 – July 17
Lyn Belisle guides you through the steps for creating mixed media portraits with natural materials, including layered beeswax. You’ll learn how to enhance digital images, tinting, preparing small stretched canvas substrates for layered collage, assembling a wrapped mat around a canvas substrate as well as attaching natural objects to a mat and integrating them into the mixed media composition.

Obviously, I’d love to work with you in one or the other of these classes. We have an online classroom for questions and critiques and extra resources.

So here’s your homework:

1. See if you can find the “cleverly hidden” secret word to collect for the Blog Hop

2. Check out the Artful Gathering catalog to see the class offerings. Besides mine, there are some great classes by pals Debby Anderson, Michelle Belto, Monika Astara and Luthien Tye, among others.

3. Get out there in nature and collect a little object that calls to you and write a one-line poem about it!


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It takes a few eggs to hatch an altar

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My altar from last year titled “Illumination”

Celebration Circle’s annual invitational event, One People, Many Paths: The Sacred Art of Altars, is a personal favorite. It’s a challenge to take one of 50 plain wooden boxes and transform it into a personal artistic statement with meaning, maybe some humor, and a visual appeal that will encourage people to bid on it to benefit this very cool group of spiritual creatives. Last year’s altars show the amazing variety of artful offerings.

My altar for this year started with some eggs from the next-door neighbor’s chickens. I loved their shape and texture, plus there’s always the notion of what will hatch. When my friend Zippy found a nest that seemed made for the altar box, it started to come together. Want to see? Here’s how I made my altar titled “Brood, Hatch, Fly.”

Lyn Belisle "Brood, Hatch, Fly - wood, earthenware, plexiglass, found objects

Lyn Belisle “Brood, Hatch, Fly – wood, earthenware, plexiglass, found objects

Here is the quote that inspired “Brood, Hatch, Fly”:

“It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.” C.S. Lewis

You can see all of the Celebration Circle altars (and bid on them) at the Santikos Bijou Theater in Wonderland Mall from September 1 – 30, 2015. Now go hatch and fly.

 

Creating with invisible directions

It’s hard to explain how it feels when the parts take over and show you where they need to go – sounds kind of weird. But I just finished a Shardian assemblage that did just that. This figurative piece had never existed before, so there were no directions, but the pieces fit together so smoothly that every piece that was put in place felt exactly right. I love it when that happens! Hmmm . . .this piece started right after my visit to Papa Jim’s . . . (hearing theme from Twilight Zone) . . .

 

Simple altars and luminous objects

The completed piece

“The Guardian of the Golden Bough” – Altar Assemblage, Lyn Belisie, 2013

Celebration Circle’s “One People, Many Paths: Sacred Art of Altars” exhibit opens on September 1st, and I am ready! Last year, when I was invited to participate in this wonderful event, I struggled with several ideas, including putting a Spirit Doll inside the box, which, unfortunately, made it look like a coffin. Yikes. My (finally) finished altar from last year was called The Guardian of the Golden Bough (left). It was a good solution and popular with the silent auction bidders.

This year’s altar, “Luminosity,” came together almost all by itself – I found a small branch in the driveway as I was bringing in the bare altar box and propped it against the side. Perfect – and after that, everything just came together, including the quote mounted on plexiglass which says, “It is when the ordinary becomes luminous that we are transformed.” The altar is white, simple and luminous, made from ordinary objects.  Simple is good. I am happy!

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“Luminosity” – Altar Assemblage, Lyn Belisle 2014

But I often wonder why some pieces, such as last year’s altar, are such a struggle to make, and others, like this year’s, seem to fly into your hands as if they knew they were supposed to be there. It’s a mystery. Let me know if you have the answer.

DSCN3240PS – No Friday Freebie this week, but if you are around, don’t miss tomorrow’s Show and Tell at the Studio from 2-4 – it’s definitely free, and you’ll get all kinds of free tips and techniques from the participating artists. The resident chef will be there, too, to show you a cool culinary trick. Hope to see you at Show and Tell!