Movember and the Wolf

I have spent a good few hours here and there trying to create the perfect for Ruby wolf fur, and so I empathise with all those two legged creatures out there who are attempting to grow their own. Here are some images of a few attempts of late to create Ruby’s Wolf persona.

The first one is kind of cute and scary and wild thing, but maybe too gonky…  I worked out that it was because the nose fur is too long… needs to be more close cropped.

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The knitted texture I think works well, it is important to my work to have the element of craft within the Ruby/wolf/animus persona. The following is a quote from an interview by Christine Kuan with artist Kiki Smith. It illustrates my own reasons for wanting to have an aspect of craft or woman’s work.

CK: Speaking of the ‘burden of history’, some your work incorporates materials and processes that have traditionally been identified with women’s productions for example, embroidery, sewing, etc. Do these materials and processes still retain vestiges of the art/craft divide today, or is that a barrier that’’s been broken down?

KS: Oh, I still think it’s a barrier, but one can still have a playful attitude towards it and try to some extent to disempower and disassemble it. Maybe in one or two generations it won’t exist. Those things that are barriers can give you energy as much as they can thwart your ambitions.

 

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In the images below I changed the nose fur and played around with some of the different textures to try and create the Wolf like appearance, yet not totally wolf. This is animus, not just wolf, and I must remember that there are antlers to throw into the mix too. I need to experiment with the wolf mask and the antlers. The ears are still to be arranged!

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I think with ears this will definitely look much more like the wolf/animus mask I imagined in my earlier sketches.

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I like the bits that hang down at the sides, they give it a feel of the hunter and yet not being fur they subvert the traditional hunting to kill, and turn it into more of a creation process.

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This last photo below really gives me an idea of the way forward. I think I know just how to attach the fur on the back of the head now. Many thanks to my beautiful daughter and close companion Phoebe Rose Anastasia, for her modeling and understanding of  her crazy mother. Nothing I do is strange to my children, all weird behaviour has it’s own category, entitled: The sort of thing mummy would do.

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Quote sourced from: http://www.oxfordartonline.com/public/page/smithinter

Knit Your Own Wolf…

I am experimenting with Ruby’s pelt, as it were. I have been playing with scraps of various types and colours of fake fur fabric, and also knitting with a variety of yarns to create a wolf/beastie/animal like feel, without the killing.

The good news about the wolf head hat mask is that it just about fits me… which will come in very handy for the New Years Eve fancy dress party!

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Here is a close up of the Wolf fur… I like the idea of different pieces and a combination of stitch, knitting and fabric, it adds to the layers of Ruby’s story as a female who confronted and assimilated her animus.

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The making of a wolf nose…

Well, after trying a zillion methods of trying to construct the wolf head mask for Ruby, I came back to good old cardboard and that most faithful of household staples, duck tape. I drew a shape, a sort of birds eye view of a wold head outline,  and then cut s strip of card about an inch wide, and folded it around the drawn shape. I fixed it with duck tape. Then I shaped more card strips around it using Ruby’s head as a guide.

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Next I worked on the ears but they are a bit strange looking:

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Finally I covered the whole thing with tissue and dilute PVA. I had to gesso over the duck tape first as the PVA wouldn’t stick to it.

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I think the nose looks a bit odd and long, but I will work on that when I add the furry bits! Wolf ears change in every picture I look at, so I decided that as cat ears are similar I would study my cats… but their ears change a lot too…

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Incidentally if anyone know the correct term for those wolf mask/hats I would love to know!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet Spike Deane

I am delighted to have discovered another fabulous artist who is influenced by folk and fairy tales, and who is also a fan of Jack Zipes.

Spike Deane is an Australian artist (yip, we are both in the same hemisphere!), who specialises in textile and glass art. I am totally in love with her pieces, her forest of glass twigs, especially struck a chord, as any of you who follow my rants will no doubt have guessed.

This is entitled: The Wolf I Knew Would Lead Me

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I am more and more convinced as I follow my path through art and life, that I have my very own guide leading me through the collective unconscious, to all the best woods.

Here is Spike’s tribute to my wee heroine with the red hood and her lupine companion in Into the Woods…

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This is Forbidden Chamber from the tale of Bluebeard, how fabulous is this?

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Images courtesy of http://www.spikedeane.com/

 

Shaping the Wolf…

I have been working on Ruby’s wolf headdress or hat. This is a rough sketch of what I envisage, but I cant draw wolves… No matter, Maurice Sendak couldn’t draw horses and that didn’t stop him.

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I have decided to make a separate piece for this, but getting the right shape is proving a challenge. Experiments so far have included using cardboard, chicken wire and polystyrene, to try and get the nose shape.

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Johnny and I also took a very cool trip to Nelson Community Art Works,  an amazing art centre run by Faye and Karl Wulf, where they make incredible masks and other art from paper mache.

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Alas, not a wolf in site, but we did meet some amazing Burtonlings, hares, and a very cool unicorn with his friend the Cheshire cat.

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Wolves in the Shadows

Today in studio I was experimenting with large, shadow like drawings of wolves. I quite like the idea of drawing these directly on the wall of the exhibition space. I would ideally like to project them as shadows on the wall but given the fact that it will be a joint exhibition this could be difficult. I talked about this with my tutor, Will, and we discussed creating an enclosed space which would eliminate ambient light. It would involve having a viewing gap though which would create more of a voyeur effect which I don;t really want.

I think this vague shadow drawing is actually quite effective and can imagine it larger on a wall. I believe it would look pretty neat with the tree branches around it. I will have to experiment in the studio. I am running out of space with all my trees and branch antlers!

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Kiki Smith

Kiki Smith is an artist who I totally get. An American artist, born in Germany in 1954,  Smith occupies a unique place in the art world. Her work is varied, versatile, powerful, weird and wonderful. There is no artist I have found who works as she does, except myself, and I am a mere fledgling.

Kiki Smith works in several different media and her exhibitions bring together etchings, painting, textile art, sculpture, book art and photography. The glue for these works is a central theme for each exhibition. In the late 1980s  and early 1990s Smith worked with themes surrounding body issues, effluvia, and taboo. Her work has often featured female iconography and more recently the female icons have been plucked from the world of the fairy tale.

In the sculpture below we see a different take on Little Red Riding Hood.

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Image sourced on 4/9/14 from: http://tinyurl.com/m723ljx

This time a drawing entitled, ‘Wearing the Skin’, this image reflects how I portray the Red and the wolf in my own art.

Wearing-the-Skin-Kiki-Smith-2002Image sourced on 4/9/14 from: http://tinyurl.com/l8pjrqc

In an interview with Psychology Today,  Smith said:

Just do your work. And if the world needs your work it will come and get you. And if it doesn’t, do your work anyway. You can have fantasies about having control over the world, but I know I can barely control my kitchen sink. That is the grace I’m given. Because when one can control things, one is limited to one’s own vision. As a child I prayed that my calling be revealed—but not with expectation and not with a destination. I became an artist because I didn’t know what to do and I thought it was really fun to make things.

I like her words as much as I like her art. Making art, being creative because you have to, is the difference I think between being an artist and being anyone else. I am amazed that not everyone has this burning need to create, that not everyone obsesses over colours, shapes, light, shadows, the way I do, that not everyone regularly takes a hundred photos on a morning walk.

I was also very excited to discover that Kiki Smith worked with fairy tales, and that we had much in common in our media and themes, if not expertise. I had already planned that my personal work would be a collection of various different media and techniques around my theme. Finding out that an artist whose work I admire and respect, both creates and exhibits her work in this way, strengthened my concept for me personally.

More about Kiki and her work soon. I discovered her fairy tale work through a cover on one of my Jack Zipes books. The cover art was created by Kiki Smith in 2002, it is entitled Born

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Image sourced on 4/9/14 from: http://tinyurl.com/o7qatwa

 

 

& so the wolves keep a coming…

I started painting another book right away, trying to get more abstract, but again I am going with the flow. I like how this has taken on the look of the wolf becoming more of a playful puppy. I am taking up wolves as a cause, in all of their guises. Watch out for the begging letter at Christmas for my new charity. My daughter said that some of my wolves remind her of Maurice Sendak’s Wild Things, and *that* is a very good thing.

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Wolves are people too…

I spent a whole afternoon painting wolves, and I love them. These critters just came to visit my imagination and insisted on portraits… I chose my favourites and created a book, using recycled books pages, thread, and stitch. The substrate of the book is cartridge paper which I dyed using walnut shells. I thought this was appropriate for wolves in woods and I like to have reasons for doing things sometimes… just sometimes, not always.

I am not too keen on the cover at this stage… needs something, it’s that white squareness that is bothering me…

Wolves are people too…

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They are a strange combination of hidden sexuality… they are unnaturally tall

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Severus, he was a man. As gypsies go he wasn’t so bad…

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…until he got moody. He just wasn’t husband material…

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Colophon by yours truly…

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Antlered creatures

I made this collage with my own photographs, manipulated in Photoshop, and then I used oil crayon to draw on the images and the gel medium on top to blend it all together.

I like the way that the differences between the girl (my gorgeous daughter Tabby is the model), and the wolf/deer man are subverted by both of them having antlers. I like this piece. I definitely seem to be focused on Red Riding Hood, woods, forests and wolves at the moment, so I am going with the flow.

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