Monday, September 30, 2013

Wings and Finishing the Assemblage

The wings for this bird were made from seashells. I was concerned that the sea shell did not have enough surface area to stick to the violin body, so I partially filled the shell with Spackle. Once cured the wings were glued to the violin body. My final touches were to repaint the front of the violin body. It had seen better days and needed a bit of a remake. I glued a crack in the wood, and then painted it with acrylic paints. I also repainted some stripes on the handle. I am pleased with the way it all turned out.
Avian le bois
 This assemblage and other art work may be purchased at the auction for the New Life Project to be held on October 12th. The postcard for this fundraiser is shown below. It should be a fun event!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Head and Wings - Assemblage

The head for the bird was part of the violin handle, part of a saxophone key guard, and part of a wire photo holder. I bent the key guard so it curved to match to violin handle end. I then glued the wires to the key guard so they looked like top feathers on the bird. The top feathers and key guard were glued to the violin handle using gel super glue, and then I used jewelry cording to add some additional security to hold this in place, and add an additional design element to the piece. Here are photos of this work at various stages of completion.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Assemblage Tail Feathers and Bird Feet

The tail section turned out to be one of the more challenging parts of this project. I had to connect metal to metal, bend metal, weave ribbon and then wedge the finished tail section into the photo holder to secure it to the cigar box. Many thanks to my hubby for his help with several of these steps.

The tail section was made from a wire rack used for grilling, and parts of a vegetable steamer. I bent the grilling rack handle to make a "U" shape and spread out the tines. Then I epoxied the steamer parts to the tines of the rack. Last I wove ribbon through the holes in the steamer rack  both for artistic reasons and to adhesion. Here are photos of the front and back of the tail.

The feet were much easier. All I had to do was remove the business end from the handle of two spatulas. Husbands are very handy for that sort of thing. Then I glued these to the cigar box, and added some buttons. You can see the feet in this photo.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Making an Assemblage

I thought I would give some information on the making of my bird assemblage for the New Life Art Project. I was allowed to select from bins of old musical instrument parts, and when I saw the violin body it looked immediately to me like a bird. Perhaps this is because I love birds, spend a lot of time watching them, and like to incorporate them into my work whenever possible. Or perhaps it just looked like a bird. You decide. Anyway, the next thing I saw was what I believe to be a key guard for a saxophone. That looked to me like the eyes and beak of bird too. So, there was no fighting it anymore, I was going to make a bird from these parts.

Step one is to gather together the musical instrument parts and other miscellaneous found objects I had on hand.  The photo below shows the musical instrument parts I took. I ended up only using the violin body and key guard to the left of the violin. The other parts will have to wait for another idea to inspire me.
assemblage parts

Step two is to consult with my good friend Linda who is a genius with found object art. She helped me figure out what else I needed and then we were off to second hand stores. At the second hand store we found a spatula and grilling utensils that we thought could be feet and tail feathers, sea shells for wings, and a photo stand that would help to support the violin body. I also later picked up a vegetable steamer. That made for excellent tail feathers.

Here is a little bit of how I used these items:

The black shape shown below is the photo holder. It is in the shape of a person wearing a graduation gown and holding a diploma. It had three bent wires out of the top of it that you slid photos in to display. The wires were removed and used as top feathers on the head.  It may have started its life as a present for a graduate, but it is now holding the violin body to the top of a cigar box.

Here you see the wires secured to the key guard and used as  top feathers on the head.

assemblage head

I'll show a bit more on my next post. That's enough for now.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Assemblage - "Avian le bois"

This summer I participated in the New Life Art Project. This project is a mechanism for funding music lessons for underprivileged kids. Artists are asked to convert old musical instruments and their parts into art, and then donate them for an auction fundraiser.  I chose to create a bird assemblage from a violin body and other second hand objects. I call my piece "Avian le bois", which  is a twist on the violin term "Avee le bois", meaning "With the Wood" (source - .  Here are photos of my finished assemblage.

The postcard front and back for the New Life Art Project are shown below.  The art items are on display at the Showcase Gallery in Costa Mesa. The auction will be held October 12th. I hope you have a chance to go to the gallery to see the display and even attend the auction. Maybe you'll find something there you just have to have!