This is a detail of my work-in-progress bamboo mosaic illustrating the growth of ideas.
Since the start of this project, which will be part of a 2-person show in September (details later), I’ve spent many weeks experimenting with ways to cut and use the bamboo I’ve been collecting. This kind of sustained effort is highly exciting and rewarding because, while you are busy working, the mind is tapping ever deeper into an ocean of creative possibilities. Ideas are growing and surfacing naturally while you’re in a state of focused exploration, so grab a scrap of paper and record those fleeting things, you can’t get to them all now.
This is how it works for me…Something got your attention? Absorb it, wonder why, do something with it – play, use it somehow. Chances are you’ll become obsessed with it and you won’t (can’t) quit until you invent something uniquely your own. Be you!
Since the last blog post I’ve been working with my natural palette by cutting bamboo stalks (see foreground) into thin, flexible strips. Bamboo can hold a very sharp edge or point, but the edges of each of these strips are hand-shaped by yours truly, and feel smooth to the touch.
I’ve also been cutting bamboo on various angles, creating interesting markings on the outer skin by sanding through here and there. All edges will be smoothed with a knife or sandpaper. The sides that will be mounted to the wall panel must be sanded flat. Each piece of the mosaic will be a finished “sculpture” in itself.
And, I’ve been de-barking twigs to create patterns, no sense asking why, and connecting these to bamboo rings. This idea came from something I saw in a Native American museum in Montana a few years ago – the teepee (tipi or tepee) tent flaps were secured at the entrance with decorative strips similar to this. Functional and beautiful. I couldn’t wait to try them myself!
It’s a long journey to simplicity! At this point, I have nothing in the way of a finished composition for a natural mosaic, still experimenting and doing quick drawings as the ideas emerge, but I can feel things coming together the more I work with my materials. Each step in this process matters to me, from collecting, selecting, cutting, composing…and each step is given my full attention over an extended period of time. I receive great satisfaction in developing an idea into something visible, tangible.… In this case, it’s a hand-crafted co-creation with nature.
Your comments and emails are always welcome!
Gathering a natural palette is my first step in creating any artwork, whether for a painting, or in preparation for a “natural” mosaic. I have in mind to include these and other found objects into future bamboo mosaics. Certain things attract my attention: the spiraling vines of varying thicknesses and textures, the neat thistle patterns, the round pods that seem suspended in these long thin twigs… The question of how to use them will come soon…for now I’m still discovering my palette, in the woods and along back roads.
As my ideas develop and expand I’ll post more images. Meanwhile, I pay great attention to intuition; subtle nudges help me make choices all the while. Right now I have no idea what will happen. But, that’s exactly what I love about creating!
Thanks to writer Gwen Shrift for putting my artistic output (so far) into a nut shell. No small task! Some of the highlights of my journey as an artist are in this article. It was recently published in the local Calkins newspapers: Bucks County Courier Times, Burlington Times, Intelligencer, and on www.phillyburbs.com. The photos were taken by Matt Stanley. Thanks Gwen and Matt!
Please email me if you have any questions, comments…
Original Oil Painting
6″ x 8″ canvas on panel
The most beautiful paintings are Nature’s own – this is my impression of an evening sky I once saw…
Please email Canal Frame-Crafts Gallery for purchase of this framed painting.
“Uplift” and “Blossoms” are my bamboo mosaics, currently at the Works in Wood 2011 Exhibition at New Hope Arts.
Please join us for the closing reception of Works in Wood 2011 this Saturday, December 17th from 5-7 pm. We hope to meet you there! Visit New Hope Arts for map and details.
Works in Wood 2011 runs through December 17th – there’s nothing like it! Visit New Hope Arts for details.
At the bottom of this poster you’ll see a detail of “Uplift” – one two bamboo mosaics I have in this show, which received a mention here. This article by Gwen Shrift gives a great description of what’s in store for the curious viewers!
Original Oil Painting
7.75″ x 7.25″ panel
Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving! Many thanks for your interest in my blog!
Feel free to email me with any questions or comments.
It’s that time again! You never know what to expect from artists who work with wood. Join us at the opening reception on Saturday, November 12 if you can. We’d love to meet you! See poster for show dates and all details.
Never cease to be amazed! Check out the current online exhibition – “Small Treasures” – on Crafthaus. It is wildly fascinating!
This is my submission to the show, a small bamboo container 2.5″ high x 1.75″ wide. Read more about this, and all the other artist entries at “Small Treasures 1” on Crafthaus online.