Saturday, October 11, 2014

One more mushroom, and "Behold, Beets"

I did tweak "Miracle of the mushrooms" a bit by adding some vintage Dresden stars to it. Here's a peek at it, along with "Behold, Beets," the second collage in the Everyday Miracles series …

© The Miracle of the Mushrooms (2014)
Mixed-media collage on hardwood panel by
Sara Caswell-Pearce. Made with hand-painted
antique engravings (Costumi dei Secoli, 1837;
Reference Handbook of Medical Science Vols. 2,3, 1886),
vintage magazine illustrations; vintage Dresden stars
ink, marker, archival polymer varnish, archival glue.
12" x 16"

© Behold, Beets (2014)
Mixed-media collage on hardwood panel by
Sara Caswell-Pearce.
Mixed-media collage on hardwood panel by
Sara Caswell-Pearce. Made with hand-painted
antique engravings (Costumi dei Secoli, 1837) and
antique illustration (D.M. Ferry & Co. seed catalog);

vintage magazine illustration; vintage Dresden wings
ink, marker, 
archival polymer varnish, archival glue.
12" x 16"

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Everyday miracles

A few weeks ago, I posted the photos above on Facebook. I was playing around with a grouping for a new collage series with the working title of "Miracles" that explores the awesome nature of things we now take for granted, such as the food we eat. But it will not be limited to food, that's just how it started a few months ago in my head.

The backgrounds are vintage magazines images of famous antique paintings. The figures are from "Costumi dei Secoli," an early 19th century Italian book that's been a big scanning project for me for far too long.

The hand-painted figures are remarkably vibrant, especially when you take into consideration that they are from 1837, were in a two-volume set that was falling part and had seriously foxing, and were not archival stored. I've been itching to use them for years, and thrilled to finally be doing it.

Here's a look at how the piece, "The Miracle of the Mushrooms" has progressed. The changes are subtle, primarily moving around mushrooms, debating whether the women should be holding them, etc. The mushrooms are from plates found in a variety of antique botanical and medical books, and recycled wrapping paper that duplicated mushrooms from an early edition of the Encyclopedia Brittanica.

Look for photographs of the second collage, "Behold, the Beets," later this week.

Note the addition of angel wings to the woman on the left.
This is supposedly the final version, but am testing
additional mushrooms on the bottom left, before I seal it.  

Friday, September 26, 2014

"Deja Boo!" New line of Halloween cards

These are not only new, they're also my first line of Halloween cards. They are adapted from antique postcards and anatomical illustrations, vintage bridge tally cards, and vintage decorations in my collection/archive/stash.

They're available, to varying degrees, at the Cincinnati-area shops listed below - and all styles are at my studio at Brazee Street Studios in Oakley, and can be ordered by getting in touch with me:

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Animal kingdom

During a lunch last month, my friend Cecie Chewning casually handed me a small packet of engravings that she had been given by her uncle. I didn't look at them until a few days later, and when I did, whoa! What a treasure.

They've been scanned them into the archive now, so it seemed time to share them. The pages are relatively small - 8.5" x 4.5" - and there are headings and table numbers on each, but no bibliographic information. Not even the engraver, whose name usually is at the bottom of a plate.

They are hand-painted, and exquisite, if a bit worn/foxed. I'm guessing circa early 1800s, and betting there were more in whatever book they're from, since fish, insects, etc. are absent from mine. Here's a look at what I have … they'll be turning up in collages.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Half baked? Not even warm. Making a Victorian marble cake.

I was up for a challenge. So, when asked to contribute a sculptural work of art for a late-summer auction, I said yes. The cause is a good one: Cincinnati's YWCA, and the benefit at which the piece will be auctioned Aug. 24 is being cooked up by some of the area's top female chefs. On top of that: all the art is created by women.

Besides, ever since making a trio of cake collages for an exhibit last year, I've toyed with the idea of creating a 3-D paper cake. Here was my chance. It turned out to be, um, a learning experience. It also turned out to take more time, much more time, than I thought it would.

I punched paper, cut it, glued it, braided it, tore it, die cut it, twisted it, made it double sided, wired it for flexibility, sewed it, curled it around pencils and paint brushes, played with color combinations and shapes, and even colored it. A bin of rejects attests to my experiments.

Book making, and sewing techniques were employed to cover the boxes, and to make some of the icing" trim (such as the pleated fancy on the middle layer). A look through newly purchased Victorian cake books, gave me almost too much to think about, After all, excess is a hallmark of the Victorian era.

Here's how it came together. And even though it's on exhibit in Brazee Street Studios' gallery one one through Saturday, it wouldn't be difficult to sneak in and tweak it. After all, the gallery is right across the hall from my studio.