Saturday, July 30, 2011

Buried Treasure

Here we are again for another round in Seth Apter's Buried Treasure experience and one I have enjoyed every year. It does have it's problems, for example picking one post that I felt a connection with that I hope you all enjoy again as well, but also the much needed butt therapy that derives from the hours spent in viewing all the posts of the participants, LOL!

Butt seriously...

here we go again...

Welcome to...

and my contribution

I hope you enjoy...

'The Descendents of the Dragon.

Did you all hear that spooky laughing and thunder too, LOL!
(Halloween is close, mwahahahahaha).

But, back to the world of reality.

The descendents of the dragon is a term that the chinese people have used for centuries in reference to themselves. The theme of the piece however, is actually inspired by the culture of the Chinese people. China is home to the world's oldest continuous civilisation. Leaving all the facts and figures behind for a moment, I wondered when doing a little research about chinese customs and culture, in a civilisation as old as this one, there had obviously been many changes over the centuries. What had changed I wondered? What has been discarded over time and what has survived and still holds a place in the Chinese culture of today? And so to research. Now didn't that just keep rolling and rolling along. Suffice to say that I found so much information it became an overload. In order to present a piece within the confines of the book structure it was necessary to do a lot of whittling of ideas, honing the project down to something achievable both in terms of dimensions, and information size but also in obtaining the support items required to do justice to the ideals I was trying to present here. The piece for Lisa's book here reflects just a small part of what I have found. And so to the piece.

Here it is, it just needs to be slid onto the book posts.

But wait I hear you say what's this? There's something that resembles a book structure and some red bag thingy, what is going on?
We'll get back to the bag thingy a bit later, first to the pages for Lisa's book. A piece always needs a good introduction, something to capture your attention. Here it's a set of doors, (yes Kim has done doors again! I love them, so effective and dramatic!)
The doors here are based on designs found within the forbidden city. I love all the drama of those huge red doors!
Under the doors...

a bit of an explanation about the piece for the viewer.

Over the page and...

meet Long, the chinese dragon.
Chinese dragons are fequently depicted with a flaming pearl under their chin. The pearls is associated with prosperity, wealth and good luck.

The dragon here is made from layers of fabric paper to give it depth and dimension. The flame surrounding the pearl is made from strands of silk fibres. The background colour, looking quite washed out here from the camera (it is much richer in person) is traditionally the colour retained solely for the use of the Emperor under Chinese custom as is also the figure of the five toed dragon. The background fabrics are all satins on this page resulting in loads of trauma for both the camera and yours truly at picture taking time.

Opposite Long, the key book. The key book is the depository of the rest of the piece for Lisa's book. It is a collection of fabric quilts sewn together as a book structure. Each page highlights one particular aspect of chinese cultural beliefs. All are still relevent to chinese customs and practices today although they have undergone some significant changes over time. Each page of the book has been designed so that each colour and embellishment used here is symbollic of current beliefs and practices. They were chosen to reflect and highlight the main theme of each page. Although mostly of a fabric construction, any paper used in the book structure was sourced from China to reflect the importance of paper in Chinese cultural history but also to maintain the ideals of the books original theme. Each page also contains a piece of literature also chosen to reflect the theme of the page, even if that theme may be a little obscure by western standards. With the exception of the last page, each page has a piece or excerpt of poetry attached. Most of the poetry here is from the Tang dynasty and many of the pieces were written by the master of Tang poetry, Li Bai. Poetry is regarded as the pinnacle of Chinese literature and reached it's height under the Tang dynasty. It is still held as the foremost form of the art today. The last page differs in that the quote here is taken from what is regarded as one of the four classic novels of Chinese literature, but more on that later too. All the beads in the book are made from bone, lotus seeds, wood or gemstones, including freshwater pearls, coral, amethyst, agate, and lepidolite. The fabrics include, silks, satins, cottons, a few man made pieces and chinese silk brocades.

The key book free of it's confines.

Onto the book.

Here's the book as it appears tied into Lisa's book structure

I decided that it would take forever to post all the pics and describe the embellishments in detail so here's a little slide show instead.
(You can click on it to bring it up to full screen size if you like.)

Oh and about that bag at the top.
Well, like I said there is so much background detail attached to this piece I decided to make a scroll with all of that information on it to fill the viewer in on the details. The scroll is made from linen, paper and silk and when finished measured over 2 metres. As it is too large to fit comfortably within the structure I decide to make a matching silk bag to house the scroll. So now the book has a doggy baggy for all the extras, LOL!

This piece was such a pleasure to make and work in. It certainly presented some wonderful challenges too. (Photography was one of them, all that reflective shine from satin and silk!!!) It is quite different from most of the other work so I hope Lisa likes it. Now to package it all up and send it on it's way. Yay Alicia, watch this space! Now it's back to the studio and onto the next pulpy book that's been waiting for me. Oh dear, hopefully I can find my way out of the studio a little faster this time!

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Beginning of the End. -Pulp Redux, Alicia's book, the 'Museum of Forgotten Things".

I have been deep in the darkest depths of the studio for some time now finalising the piece for Alicia's book, "The museum of forgotten things'. Suffice to say I think the rest of the Pulp Redux collaborator's probably think I have forgotten all about it! Not true dear ones! It has taken a long time to finalise this piece. It is quite large and required such a lot of detail. Of course if you have jumped over from the Pulp Redux blog you will know all about the before part of the story. If you haven't here's a quick wrap up for you...

The main charachter is Hester who has recently died. She found out her husband was having an affair years ago and murdered him in an arson incident. After the murder Hester finds she is pregnant to her deceased husband and gives birth to a son, Thomas who dies in infancy. After this Hester embarks on an affair with Hans, the affair peters out and Hester has a child, Charlotte whom she gives up thinking she will have a better life this way.
There you are that's the short version, LOL! Breathe!!! LOL!

Okay so now you are up to speed. The question is Kim, what are you going to do to wrap up this story?

(Good question by the way!)

It seems to me that the tragedies here are compounding throughout as each participant's pieces unfold.

Secrets by their very nature eat away at us.
We are consumed by them, both in wanting to know them, then being horrified by that knowledge at the same time.

But, in the end, the thrill of the secret is in the sharing.

Wise words indeed.

And so I have created the book of secrets.

Able to stand on it's own as a piece but also well able to join with the rest of the participants pieces here, a book structure.

(What can I say, I love books!)

Some sneaky peeks from the inside.

Ladies white lace gloves. What do they keep hidden?

A tragic tale of a family doomed by the guilt and secrets that they keep.

But what happened to everyone, I hear you ask? Hester, and the child Charlotte.

As for the tale, well as you peruse the texture images from the piece I will tell you a little about it.

You see Hester gave up the child to her younger sister Iva who raised her as her own, but renamed the child Anna. (Remember that Hester was survived by her sister and a niece Anna?)

But of course it all went horribly wrong.

Anna (Charlotte) grows up well loved and happy, never suspecting her aunt is her mother and her mother is really her aunt.

She follows the family tradition and becomes a seamstress.

Meets a wonderfully handsome young man and they marry.

They have a child, Anne, but soon after Charlotte's husband is killed in the first world war.

Life continues but Hester becomes consumed in her later life by what will later be revealed as guilt and rage, but for the present is thought to be old age memory loss.

On Hesters death, Anna, (Charlotte) and Iva are clearing out Hester's papers and Hester's secrets are revealed.

And so...

Anna, or Charlotte as she now discovers herself to be, is enraged by the secrecy. Unable to come to terms with the lies and deceit she takes her own life, drowning herself in a local river. Filled with grief, Iva confesses all to Anne who is ignorant of the whole mess. Saddened by the loss of her mother through suicide and the stunning news of Hester's secrets and her murder of Richard, Anne decides to leave and start her life anew. Somewhere where she can forget all the pain and secretive lies of the past. She constructs the book of secrets and donates all the pieces of the puzzle to the Museum of Forgotten Things, finding in the museum's title an apt place to lay to rest the pieces of the lives she is leaving behind.

And there it is folks. I should say that the piece here is part of an art quilt. Measuring 34" x 22" in size the piece detaches completely from the book base if preferred and can be hung complete on a wall as is if Alicia would like to. Now I guess you can all see why it has taken so long to complete. Constructed of three layers of cloth and a mix of both machine and hand stitching it has been a mammoth task to finish in any sort of reasonable timetable, but here it is complete at last, my needle population decimated as I have literally worn out about 8 handsewing needles in it's construction, yikes!

I would love to show you it all in detail of course but that's all you get for now. All the last pieces of the Pulp Redux collaboration will be shown together in an online exhibition in the near future. We will of course give you those details later as they become available and you will be able to view all the last pieces of each book in full at that time.
But for now that's it for the museum of forgotten things.

I hope Alicia enjoys the piece. It will be winging it's way home in the next week dear one!

I should add here that this collaboration has been an absolute joy. For me the prurpose of joining in was to both better aquaint myself with each of the participants, each and everyone of which I was already a fan of their work, and also to push myself. To tackle new mediums, ideas and make them work within the limitations of the structures provided. To boldly go where I had never been before...

Okay I digress, but you get the picture.

I must say the collaboration has in everyway lived up to those original aims and expectations. I have indeed pushed myself way... way, out of my comfort zone. Had to tackle completely new ideas to integrate a piece or problem solve the how the heck am I going to get that idea over thought. I would strongly recommend the process to anyone. Go into it with your eyes open. It will be harder and challenge you more than you ever thought, but the rewards...


Would I leap in again, especially so soon after just completing this one... you betcha!

In a heartbeat.

The bonds of friendship I have gained, and the insight into my own artistic abilities, creativity and concepts have been the singularly most insightful process I have ever had the priviledge to be a part of. Yup, as I said ... in a heatbeat. Thank you girls for the bestest and most creative fun ever. Mwah!

Soon there will be more exciting things to show you as I delve into some projects which have had to take a backward step in recent months.
Stay tuned.
Also don't forget to visit Seth's blog, The Altered Page for all the latest goss from his new editions of the pulse, which I am happy to say I have again taken part in. It is such fun to find out what everyone is up to, thinking, participating in. I love interactive sites like his and he does such a colossal amount of work to collate it all and get it out there to everyone. If you haven't popped in to join in the fun, where have you been?

That's it. I'm off! See you all again soon with more fun and games!
(Well, at least the latest doings here anyway)!

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