A Peek at a Letter

lost letter JessamaDesign 430x421 - A Peek at a Letter

Since we started out this week with a spooky something or other peeking out at us, I thought I’d try to make a theme of it and the idea of peeking into things is always intriguing. Spaces that allow us to look into things beyond is like the revealing of a tiny mystery, a look into a place that we might otherwise be shut off from. When this is part of a design, I think it automatically will draw the eye. Whether you can keep a viewer looking is up to the rest of your design.

The idea of a partly revealed letter that Samantha Burroughs chose for this beautifully textured pendant is certainly alluring. Who doesn’t get a little bit of thrill from the possibility of seeing the inner thoughts of another person? We are also very drawn to text in general as our brain wants to immediately read and decipher it so it was a good choice for the interior content of the holes here. It also creates a contrasting texture to the organic surface of the piece.

Samantha has honed her skills in a variety of established techniques and looks to be fully exploring quite a few of them. You can find her work on Etsy.

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A Many Layered Thing

jess kirkman 430x518 - A Many Layered ThingTo wrap up our week of looking at the effect of gathering a multitude of things, I thought I’d share an example that shows not just a collection of many things but also the proliferation of negative space.

This wall piece is the work of alcohol ink artist Jess Kirkman. Although the multiple layers are the physical aspect of the work, it is the many holes–the absence of material–that brings about the energy and texture of this piece. The negative space allows you to see past each layer and multiplies the colors and texture. The “cells” as Jess calls them allows for full participation of each layer in the composition. They create both shadow and light as well as density, in the texture, and airiness, with all the open negative space. It is a wildly enticing set of contrasts.

Jess has a whole series of these, scattered in among the more traditional 2-D work. But the colors and textures are all lovely to look at. Take it in on her Instagram page or her shop.

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Put a Little Heart Into It

Here is what caught my eye today.Anna Kokareva uneven heart earrings I decided to peruse Flickr this time and came upon the pages of Anna Kokareva (aka Annie Bimur) and although there were a lot of pieces to grab my attention, it was this pair of not quite matching earrings with the heart just hanging out among all the crackle that really grabbed me.

I was a little thrown by that initially since I’m not much of a heart girl but the contrast of the simple sweet heart in all that texture really spoke to me. The uncomplicated things in life, like pure love and joy, set against a back drop of chaos … this is often what life is like, isn’t it? We just have to stop and appreciate the beauty within the bedlam. And in this case, we can appreciate the differences between the two earrings and probably find a smile on our faces when the little heart catches us by surprise.

The one thing I would improve is actually the background of the image. It is usually better to use a contrasting background, especially where texture (and color) is concerned or your work can blend too much with it, as it tends to here.

More little surprises as well as a riot of color and texture can be found on Anna’s Flickr photostream.

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Holes Throughout

doolittle fan carvedAs a decorative elements, holes, more than anything else, reveal things. In some work, there is literally something that would otherwise be hidden, within or behind a layer the artist has cut a hole in. But sometimes, especially with a collection of holes, it reveals space itself.

I have presented work by Mark Doolittle once before but I look in on his work regularly. His work is very hole-y. He carves gourds and wood full of holes to reveal space not just inside his pieces by around it. Sometimes his holes break into the surrounding space, feeling unfinished and maybe even a little broken. But that there is a great metaphor for most of our lives. We gather these holes as we go through the years and maybe they widen or their borders break off but there is beauty even in the damage we endure, especially when we can embrace it for the experiences they represent.

I apologize for waxing a bit on the poetic and abstract this week and appreciate that you allow me to match my writing to my mood. It is hard not to have life creep in on our work some times but in talking about art, I can always find joy, especially when I get to share what I find.

I think you will find further joy in taking a moment to go to Mark’s website and see the huge variety of stunning pieces.

Weekly Inspiration Challenge: Explore holes or what you can take away from the pieces you are working on. See how they give you functional opportunities as well as added design interest. Try some pieces with and without holes. How does having those open spaces change how the piece feels?

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Something to Hold Onto

Cecilia Botton toggleIt’s official. I’ve decided that holes are not something to be filled but rather, they are for holding things or for us to hold onto. We make quite a few holes in our craft work but when we have a hole in our lives, we try to fill it up. Why? Why can they not be something that we utilize and gain from?

For today’s metaphor on loss, I give you the work of Cecilia Botton, who simply and beautifully, shows us the usefulness of a hole.  The empty space gives us a place through which we can hold things, like this lovely textured toggle pendant does, as well as being a serene and steady focal point. The rough texture and scattered color in this brilliant turquoise to cobalt blue  is enough to carry the simple design and bring our attention to center.

Cecilia uses holes for both design and function in quite a bit of her work. She what she has been up to lately on her Flickr photostream.

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Holes in our Lives

StaciLouiseSmith beadsFirst I must apologize that I didn’t get a blog out on Saturday. My father took a turn for the worse on Friday and that same day most of my siblings along with my kids and grandkids arrived to help me celebrate my recent marriage. After much deliberation, we went ahead with the celebration as there was nothing we could do and it could be weeks before the inevitable with dad. We toasted to dad at my house Sunday only to find out that as we toasted, he passed away. I’m not sure how I feel yet. We did not have a good relationship most of my life but we were friends in the end. I think that makes this easier to take but harder to navigate as I don’t know what emotions may surface as the days go by.

I almost took the week off from blogging but decided it wouldn’t matter much. Work and art is what often keeps us going through the many ups and downs that life throws at us. Art is also, for me and many others, a very honest thing, and I think, when you have a complicated relationship with a person who figured hugely in your life, art can be a refuge, an exploration, and a comfort as one figures things out when they are suddenly no longer there.

Right now, I am not sad, rather, I am relieved as he’d been through so much the last few years. But there is a hole that I will have to figure out how to fill or to live with. I don’t mind holes … you can see things through them, revealing layers and depths and you can’t help but notice them. So this week, my posts might be short, I just don’t know yet, but I’ll post pieces where holes and spaces play a large part. And maybe we can all look at what these spaces mean to us.

So today, with holes and cracks and imperfections that I think all come together as pure beauty, I have a selection of focal beads by Staci Louise Smith. The various textures could symbolize the complexity of our lives and our emotions. I love the way the central swath of crackle looks like a horizon and is also the point at which the holes appear. There is a lot of metaphor we could pull out of pieces like these. That is the wonder and beauty of art, that the best of it let’s us read what we need to from it.

For more of Staci’s work, you can wander over to her website or spend some time on her blog.

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