Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Toying Around In The Studio...
...3-D Assemblages

As you may have guessed from my posts, I love thrift stores, and I hate to throw things away. If you visit my art website:, you will notice I like to work in a variety of styles and media. Last Spring I started playing around with making pieces from found objects and dollar store and thrift store finds. It has been a nice break from my regular painting and photography, and it has allowed me to make some fun, lower-priced items to sell at fairs and to donate to fundraisers. I used to own a store, and learned the importance of 'smalls' (inexpensive, easy to carry items). Better to have a customer spend a few dollars than no dollars, or, as an antiques dealer friend used to say, "I'll take fast nickels over slow dimes anyday!"

I get a lot of my creative kicks from figuring how to use things in unusual ways and pushing the limits of what a product is designed to do and these projects have been a great way to stretch my creative muscles. I am sharing a work in progress tonight (but there are finished pieces on my website).

Every now and then a bottle or jar of an unusual art supply shows up at a thrift store at a really reasonable price. A few months back I found a bottle of a special primer for styrofoam. Intrigued, I bought it. Somewhere along the way, I bought something (not sure what) that was cushioned by a square piece of styrofoam with a shallow, bowl-like indentation. I decided this would be a perfect piece for test driving the primer, and to give a real test, I decided not only to paint it, but paint it with styrofoam's arch-enemy, spray paint (the solvents in the paint dissolve the styrofoam). My one complaint about the primer is that it is virtually the same color as styrofoam, so I wasn't quite sure I had gotten full coverage. Indeed, if you look closely, there are areas with recesses where the paint made it through an un-primed spot (they got re-primed and re-painted). The inner part of the bowl is a hammered copper finish and the exterior a textured metallic black metal finish.

(c) 2012 Eric E. Paige, All Rights Reserved

I suppose empty it has a beautiful simplicity, but my natural instinct is, "Oh, an empty bowl; what can I put in it?". Somewhere in my travels, I found three of these oak leaves (oddly enough, on two separate visits). I am not sure what they are, curtain tiebacks or napkin rings maybe? Whatever the reason for the loop on the back, the design was perfect for giving the illusion that the leaf was floating in the bowl.

(c) 2012 Eric E. Paige, All Rights Reserved
(c) 2012 Eric E. Paige, All Rights Reserved

I also changed the finish on the leaf to better match the rest of the piece. The final element is a plastic salamander that I gave a metallic finish. Oak leaves symbolize immortality and salamanders are a symbol of the creative process. Seems appropriate for an art piece made from a piece of plastic that would last forever (or practically forever) had it been put in the landfill. I am still playing with the finishes and haven't settled on the framing yet, so stay tuned!

(c) 2012 Eric E. Paige, All Rights Reserved

No comments:

Post a Comment