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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Not Polymer and Not a Gourd so …


I know, I know … this is not polymer, but there was some question about that as it was posted on a few Pinterest boards under polymer. And that colorful inlay could be polymer, right? It could, but it’s not. It’s painted. The reason it was popping up under polymer searches was because it was posted to the polymer tutorial site, claylessons.com, in a message posted to encourage people to visit the Daily Art Muse blog (let’s see how many plugs and links we can fit into one blog post, shall we?). So there is the polymer connection.

But why am I featuring a non-polymer piece today? Because it’s nearly Christmas and if I can’t break some rules now, when can I? Well, yes, I do break rules on occasion for no reason at all, but let’s say this is because it’s a holiday week. And because this piece is gorgeous. It is all carved wood by wood artist, Joey Richardson. The detail is amazing. The form and intricacy are so fluid and natural you might wonder if it’s not alive. It also reminded me of my favorite gourd artist Mark Doolittle (we needed another plug and link here, right?).

But wait, there’s more! More incredible work like this that is (although more links will certainly happen).  After holding onto this, waiting for the right themed week to share it in for nearly a year, I finally found out who the unattributed artist was, opened her site and just got lost there.  I don’t know how Joey has the patience or hasn’t ruined her fingers with all this fine carving, but I am grateful that she does. What a treat. Treat yourself as well by heading over to her site and be sure to read her About page. Her feeling about her sources of inspiration really fit the season.


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Outside Inspiration: Unbelievable Gourds

Trying to figure out which of Mark Doolittle’s gourds to share with you was a serious exercise in restraint. I was inclined to post a dozen of them for he creates such a variety and this is no ordinary gourd art. Not that I even need to tell you that. You can see it from this one image:



Mark carves the gourds and his wife Kathy creates the paper appliques that add the color to the pieces.  I wondered as I looked through his gorgeous online gallery if he ever tried combining polymer with these. How wonderful would that be?

This has me seriously considering trying out gourd carving just so I can see first hand the possibilities with polymer. Of course, we could even make our own polymer vessels to carve and add to. The idea machine in my head has just been going full bore since finding these. You really must take a moment to go to his site and see the huge variety of stunning pieces. He does similar work in wood as well so there is a just a ton of eye candy on this site. Get a cup of something warm and explore!

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