Brian East and I collaborate on so many art projects, I figured he'd better have a place of his own on the website. Despite the fact that he was asked to "pursue other interests" rather than continue playing trombone in his Elementary School band (he always had a few extra notes to play at the end of every song), he cannot escape his artistic foundations and finds himself compulsively creating in multiple media. Perhaps his most unusual medium was when he spent 20 years bringing lifelike, natural appearance and expressions to the dead as a professional embalmer. Now he works more conventionally, carving stone, bending willow, and working with me on needle felted projects. He's deceptively handsome and charming. He is also witty, but don't encourage him. Honest. This corner of my website is for Brian, it is his to edit and though I will check it from time to time to clarify blatant exaggerations and even litigous statements, I can only hope your sense of humor prevails.

Thursday
Apr092015

Work in Progress, Deinonychus in Willow

 

Our local nature center is creating a dinosaur exhibit. It is well established that dinosaurs had feathers and are ancestors of birds. One species more than any other moved scientists in that direction. Deinonychus Antirrhopus lived over 165 million years ago over most of what we think of as North America. It hunted in packs and was an agile predator. The discovery and subsequent research on this animal advanced our understanding of dinosaur/bird history. It's almost too bad that when represented in the Hollywood movie, Jurassic Park, it lacked its feathers and was called by the wrong name!

I needed to create a dynamic scene and was at a loss at first over what to do. After a few false starts, I began the real project by creating a wire frame. This is the first wire frame to go into one of my sculptures. I chose to add it for the stability and longevity of the piece.

 

It's a solid upright, intended to be buried 20" when installed. The beam, hip and shoulders are meant to simply allow the tucking and binding of willow.

I've been adding a "heart" to my work and this time, I wanted something from Wyoming. With my rock wall buried in ice, I called on a rockhound, Mel Gustin at Rock Solid Lapidary in Riverton Wyoming. He sent a box of jasper and agate hearts for me. Thanks, Mel.

I then built an internal framework of native branches. I put them up the neck, into the tail, and throughout the body. This would give me more anchoring points inside the sculpture. I called it the Cardiovascular System.

The next step was to build a willow frame that started to take the shape of the animal but was loose enough to allow a lot more willow later.

 This is when I had to start worry about the teeth. Getting them to bend backwards and look more like teeth than "teef" wasn't easy.

The teeth also needed to be the head and lower jaw.

I also worked now from the nose down. The benefit of building on a frame meant I didn't need to worry about the legs until this point. Amy helped me figure out where they should be.

 

Both wings needed feathers and that meant taking the feathers up the shoulder and therefore down the body. This is when everything slows down. Lots of feathers. Not done yet.

The scene I decided to make needed another dinosaur. As I am nearly out of willow I decided to make the second one a juvenile.

Another heart:

Another frame

I didn't take pictures along the way, but this is the juvenile as of April 6. The teeth were easier this time and everything I learned on the big dinosaur helped make this go better. The idea of the scene is to have the juvenile chasing a dragonfly. I needed to have it in a "ready to leap" position. This is what I came up with.

Both together, showing their size difference.

 That's it so far. More to come.

 

Saturday
Feb082014

Inky Pete

When Inky Pete left the warren, his parents hardly noticed. He could have left days before and no one would have cared. His brothers and sisters were happy to spend their days painting eggs, munching dandelions. He heard his mother’s warning, that hawks and snakes were waiting. That foxes were faster than any rabbit or hare. He was paas-itively sure that the longer he stayed it would get only worse. Mom was carrying another litter, and Dad wasn’t trustworthy - he’d hump anyone. Maybe she didn’t care, maybe it was all the poppies she ate, but Pete hopped away determined to be his own rabbit.

He traded some egg work for the Chuck Taylor’s and outran a coyote just to see how they fit. He hung out down in the sticker bushes, snickering with the loners he met about how no one really hides eggs like they mean it. If they hid eggs no one would ever find them.

Pete’s his own rabbit now. He just got his first tribal ink. If you can’t find Easter eggs this year, or happen upon one sometime in June, it was probably Pete who visited your house. He might start a warren of his own someday. Right now he just don’t care.

Tuesday
Nov052013

Shoggoth, with your protoplasmic bubbles so bright...

Our Christmas Cthulhu project, something I should have started months ago, needed something to pull a sleigh. Something that kind of glows. We decided on a Shoggoth.

"It was a terrible, indescribable thing vaster than any subway train—a shapeless congeries of protoplasmic bubbles, faintly self-luminous, and with myriads of temporary eyes forming and un-forming as pustules of greenish light all over the tunnel-filling front that bore down upon us, crushing the frantic penguins and slithering over the glistening floor that it and its kind had swept so evilly free of all litter."  -HP Lovecraft, At the Mountains of Madness.

Best part about making a Shoggoth is knowing that I am capturing it for only a moment. Worst part is knowing that it will one day mutate and rebel. Take a good look, it won't look like this for long. Partly because it is hard to know when I am through working on something that is suppossed to be everchanging, and partly because I might start all over at any minute.

The white spots on the head are for the eyes.

 

Under a blacklight.

 

Monday
Oct082012

Scarecrow

Our hometown Fair is a delight. It is among a circuit of "Agricultural Fairs" and features oxen pulls, 4H kids, and all the traveling carnival attractions. Last year, I saw that the Scarecrow Contest was a little lacking for anything scary. That's the point, right? Something scary to crows? I thought about it and decided that nothing would be scarier to a crow than something that swats them out of the air and eats them. This is Eating Crow. It won Best of Show and the People's Choice Award.

 

Monday
Jul022012

Clown Pumpkin!

I've made a few pumpkins. The Anglerfish pumpkin with the red eyes and dangling candy corn, the one eyed, one horned, flying purple pumpkin eater, the Elvis pumpkin... but they were all just missing that certain aire of menace that only a smiling clown can bring to the party.