Sunday, January 27, 2008

Not an inch was left bare, not even the ceiling had mercy...

Tabletop landscape in the apartment of J. Morgan Puett and Mark Dion, from the Rebecca Purcell book Interior Alchemy

Having made up my mind to move back to the city for a year or two (long story), my mind has- in it's naturally over-enthusiastic way- started decorating my new sharehouse bedroom. And to which, we go looking for inspiration.

'Story' -a concept fashion and interior design store in Spitalfields, London; created by Ann Shore.

Bedroom wall here at the cottage.

I've always been a maximalist really- when I was a teenager I asked for the smallest bedroom in the house and proceeded to decorate it with everything I owned on display- as well as branches and leaves (how my mother shook her head at my carpet strewn with leaves and glitter!) and whatever my Dad would permit me to take from the shed- a huge hulking beast (the shed, not Dad!) stuffed with 19th century bits and pieces waiting to be restored.

Rebecca Purcells' studio- another scan from Interior Alchemy (it's the best book ever!)

I must say what a joy it is to think that once again I get to stuff as much of my stuff as possible into one room. I love cramming things in, I love over-the-top collections and I love small rooms with open shelves and everything on display.

Some people see this style as claustrophobic or cluttered. I feel nested in these environments, safe and secret, like a ring in a hobbit's pocket. I have slight agoraphobia as well, so that might account for something. Plus I have a very absent minded way- if I can't see something, I forget I own it. Being an assembladge artist means I need to see all those elements in order for them to be considered!

Flim still from A Series of Unfortunate Events- Unlce Olaf's house is a dream of decayed glamour.

I really am a Weasley at heart -my ideal house dream is a bid old crumbly rumble-down mansion somewhere, with about 8 other people.

This aesthetic is I think an outward extension of my work- or rather my work is an inward extension. I have an inate need to take a small box and pack it full of tiny things.

Work in progress- antique postcard with mixed media including a rat skull, mirror shards, garlic skins, buttons and paper scraps.

I start out minimal and very design-orientated, and then one more thing goes in, and another, and another, and soon there is a tiny wonderland of Dickensian faery groves, and it makes me feel safe.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Art Exhibition

Finally I have access to come of my exhibition shots! They're mostly close-ups of the installation- and no long shots. After all this time I'm not so hot on how it came out as a whole, but elements are great. I should also mention that these aren't my shots- they were taken by a friend. The lighting wasn't very condusive to photography (oddly) so only a few came out well enough to show.

The Wonderful House- 1920s silk and velvet robe, dead roses, vintage floral trim, mixed media shadow box, chain, plastic deer, antique fur tails.

I can't remember what this one is called! I don't think it has a title, I made one up on the spot for the catalogue, but otherwise it's just...untitled. Fabric, acrylic, embroidery and sticky tape on book paper.

Ourselves- book paper collage in a vintage frame, decayed lampshade fringing, reconstructed vintage clothes, found objects.

Margueritte- mixed media including chandelier crystal, silk fragments, pottery shards, paper grass and an antique postcard enclosed in a vintage frame; decayed 19th century trim.

Margueritte displayed next to The Fall of the Romans- mixed media assemledge in an antique frame, mounted with reconstructed vintage clothes.

The following shots are all close-ups of the major installation piece: some media include paper moths, antique lace, scavenged weeds and dried flora, mummified rat, book pages, antique letters, broken pearl jewellery, crystal drops, vintage christmas decorations, a 19th century funeral card, bird's nests, a broken chair and an Edwardian wedding gown (not seen- I'll post a pic of it at some later stage).

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Inspiration- Design DNA

DesignDNA is an amazing blog I was shown only tonight, and I'm in love already. The delicate under-glass mixed media assemblages are just so pretty, the mix of machinery, Victorian sweetness and utilitarian scientific elements combine perfectly.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Technical difficulties

Beads on the work table.

Its always advisable when setting personal goals that you allow space for unforseen events. Being ill this past fortnight coupled with the weather really being too uncivilized makes it hard to make thing. The whole ideal of opening the Etsy shop in early February is, at this point, looking a bit uncertain.

Not to mention I keep forgetting to register for a debit card so I can actually register the shop.

I shall press on.

Monday, January 14, 2008


19th century button manufacturer's sample book, found via Florizel (Google translates through this link but it's not a great translation- it's more about the pictures really.) If that doesn't work, try this.

Beautiful necklaces from les bijoux d'odette -an artist only discovered last night.

Brian Dettmer's book autopsies, via Centripetal Nation.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Tarnished silver and stained book paper, that's what Dickens girls are made of.

My dear little's been far too long since I updated here. I must resolve to make this a daily habit.


Works in progress for the upcoming Etsy store are now strung around my Edwardian dressform in a tangle of trinkets and chain. I call them Works in Progress because my process is usually to do a 'base' (of which these are) and then come back to each one as I find new pieces, changing and re-arranging the elements.


This has always been my process, in everything I create. Doing my box works is the most involved variant of this; once something has been glued down, there is no going back, so the decision is even more loaded.

etsy work3

Let's hope I don't get too picky, these all need to be done by January's end. (Self-inflicted deadline.)

I also made up some great papers for collage last night. I had been dying some fabrics a lovely riverstone grey, and just as I was about to flush out the last of it in the bottom of the sink, I had a sudden notion to get some of my vintage endpapers and press them against the water.


I love how the age spots still remain; the bleeding and trickling of the dye brings out all kinds of shapes and characters in my cloud-spotter's imagination, I should think I will have no trouble drawing them in.

The colourings are pure chance and a bit of a mystery- the dye was grey (admittedly a purple-based grey) and there was a tiny bit of navy blue added later. The navy blue was a pre-mixed dye from over two weeks ago- sometimes I just can't bare to throw it out, even when it's spent!


This book cover one I am particularly pleased with. The circular part was where the plug hole was. Straight away I knew what this one would be- above is the dark woods, and down in the circle a rabbit and his family are all cozied in their burrow.

I don't know about the small stain on the other side. Looks a little like a fish, wrapped in dandelions.