Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Light (detail) by Dina Barzel. See more at the Francine Seders Gallery, here.

As far back as I can remember I've been intrigued by texture. In fact one of my earliest memories is of running my hands over newly sawn logs, feeling the rough bark under my finger tips and watching wide eyed as the wood cutter chopped the logs into smaller pieces for kindling. So intrigued was I that I got too close and the inevitable happened. A flying splinter went into my eye and all hell broke loose.

I have another memory of thrusting my hands blindly into the mealie crib, savouring the cool knobbliness of the dried corn on the cobs ..... and the warm fur of an unsuspecting field mouse. All hell broke loose yet again.

My mother's voice still rings in my ears .... RobynnnnnDear, will you please keep your hands out of trouble!

There were so many wonderful things to touch and feel on the farm. Nests of downy feathers, warm smooth hen's eggs, baby animals, wriggly frogs, sacks filled with coarse mealie meal, orchards of good climbing trees and sun baked fruit, rusty wagon wheels, squishy clay moulded into oxen, warm prickly haystacks, cool stone walls ..... In fact the farm was one long tactile adventure.

No surprise that I love the tactile qualities of art. Delicious textures in many forms.

En masse. Recycled Book Sculpture by Yvette Hawkins. Website here. Etsy shop here.

Yvette Hawkins, creates tactile sculptures and installations from folded paper.

Carved vintage bricks by Chris Berti. See more of Berti's work at the Tory Folliard Gallery, here.

Danza Vessel. Handbuilt stoneware by Alexis Strong. See more here.

"I’m drawn to ancient vessels and containers because they hold a secret and mysterious history. The exquisite "art" that emerges from their utilitarian purpose is what inspires me." - Alexis Strong

Plate 21. Oils and mixed media on constructed board by Sam Lock. Website here.

30h3. Oils and mixed media on constructed board by Sam Lock. Website here.

Earth - Repition of an act of mourning (detail) by Barbara Wisnoski. Website here.

"I am interested in the relationship between texture and time. The process of building a piece, whereby a fabric loses its singular quality and becomes part of the whole, reminds me of how time washes a harmonious patina over objects and memories. The prospect of decay is key to the work: seeing how pieces done long ago have changed over time reminds me that they were made from living fibres and, like us, evolve and deteriorate. Also like us, these pieces become more themselves, therefore more beautiful, with age." - Barbara Wisnoski

Sharman's Dress by Mar Goman. See closer details here at the Francine Seders Gallery.

Lyle introduced me to Mar Goman's work. These pieces remind me of my own Hunter totems, here.

Installation by Fred Birchman. See the rest of the installation photographs at the Francine Seders Gallery, here.

This installation made me yearn for a studio where I can spread all my tools and wood about so that I can always feel the creative buzz ..... instead of having to set up and pack away.... set up and pack away on a daily basis.

"Although I am not interested in the nostalgia of these places, as most do not prompt memories of dramatic or trivial events, the alchemy of sawdust and grease, the haphazard organization of wood and metal objects and their mysterious functions attract in me a primal way." - Fred Birchman

Installation by Fred Birchman

Hollow Notes by Marc Wenet. See more of Marc's work here.

Carved Totem by Robyn Gordon :-)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Inside the Birdhouse by Kathryn Campbell Dodd. Kathryn's website here.

The door swings open,
you look in.
It’s dark in there,
most likely spiders:
nothing you want.
You feel scared.
The door swings closed.

Le Strade Di Firenze. Mixed media collage and acrylics on wooden door panels by Naomi Rachel Muirhead. Website here.

The full moon shines,
it’s full of delicious juice;
you buy a purse,

the dance is nice.
The door opens
And swings closed so quickly
you don’t notice.

Assemblage by Robert Rauschenberg

The sun comes out,
you have swift breakfasts
with your husband, who is still thin;
you wash the dishes,
you love your children,
you read a book,
you go to the movies.
It rains moderately.

Green Door by Giancarlo Venturini. Website here

The door swings open,
you look in:
why does this keep happening now?
Is there a secret?
The door swings closed.

History Repeated. Mixed media, encaustic wax and recycled materials by Michele Ledoux. Website here.

The snow falls,
you clear the walk while breathing heavily;
it’s not as easy as once.
Your children telephone sometimes.
The roof needs fixing.
You keep yourself busy.
The spring arrives.

Wellfleet Abstract 3 by Michele Ledoux. Website here.

The door swings open:
it’s dark in there,
with many steps going down.
But what is that shining?
Is it water?

The door swings closed.

Behind Closed Doors by Jane Simpson. See here.

The dog has died.
This happened before.
You got another; not this time though.

Where is your husband?
You gave up the garden.
It became too much.
At night there are blankets;
nonetheless you are wakeful.

Toria by Clay Ketter. See more here.

The door swings open:

O god of hinges,
god of long voyages,
you have kept faith.
It’s dark in there.
You confide yourself to the darkness
You step in.
The door swings closed. - Margaret Atwood

Door by Susan Lenz. Blog here. Many amazing things to see!

Street art on doors. See more fantastic street art here.

Friday, July 9, 2010


Steine by Einhorn 3. See Flickr photostream here.

I've come to the conclusion that artists will stack almost anything for the sake of art. From rocks and bones to driftwood and tree trunks.

The City. Assemblage by Wayne Chisnall. See Flickr photostream here.

Found objects to furniture, boxes and shipping containers.

Book Tower. Wheeled sculpture by Wayne Chisnall.

Books, newspapers, concrete blocks, glass bottles .... you name it, it's been done.

Gloria's Piece by Kate Hunt. Newspaper, twine and steel.
Kate Hunt's series of work, made with stacked and bound bundles of newspaper is quite extraordinary. Visit her website here to see more.

Detail of Gloria's Piece by Kate Hunt.

Colony 45 by Randi Parkhurst. Website here.

Velma Bolyard's beautiful handmade papers. Blog here.

Sculpture by Tony Cragg.

Tony Cragg is master of the stack. See his impressive website here.

Assemblage by Tony Cragg

Beauty in unexpected places. Photograph of stacked sleepers by Craig Williams. Flickr photostream here.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


Tool Mark. Graphite drawing by John Whalley

I am fascinated with tools .... with wooden handles worn smooth by use 

Tool Belt. Graphite Drawng by John Whalley

..... flecked with paint ........

Art History. Oil painting by John Whalley

.... chipped, scratched and patinated with sweat and grease.

American Vocalist. Graphite Drawing by John Whalley

Lyle sent me a link to John Whalley's website and I was blown away by his exquisite drawings and paintings of old, forgotten tools.

"Since I was a kid, I have always been fascinated by old tools and found objects. At the same time, there's something about pencil and paper that I love. Just holding a pencil in my hands feels right. The pencil is something I have gotten to know so well. It's second nature." - John Walley

Class of 54. Graphite drawing by John Whalley

" His Maine studio is a bastion of detritus stacked neatly on shelves and tables - seashells, screw-drivers, hammers, balls of twine, assorted locks and keys, musical instruments, oxidized spoons, baskets and jars, buttons and more. Nothing is too distressed, tarnished or lost to obscurity to escape Whalley's attention and sympathy; when he draws a strand of frayed twine, you can almost imagine what it might have held together." - M.M. Cloutier

When I emailed John about using his images in this post he graciously sent the photograph (above) of some of his collections and a wooden dancing doll he made many years ago. If you are drooling over this photograph you will love the documentary about John's work here .

Still Life with Brushes by Jos van Wunnik. See Flickr photostream here.

Whenever I experience a bout of carpal tunnel syndrome I'm extremely aware of how precious my hands are to me as a wood carver or artist in general. My hands are my means of expressing myself. Without them I am rendered useless. My hands are the most precious tool's of my trade.

Pray for Rain by Asbestos
The artist, Asbestos is known for his beautiful series on hands. I have featured his work before in a post about Expressive Hands, here.

I Will Inherit These Hands. Mixed media on board by Asbestos

"This series of paintings focuses on the hands of street artists and my friends around me and serves to draw out the expression and personality that is ingrained in each and every pair of hands. They're the tools that seperate us from other animals, they can create and they can destroy, that's why they're so fascinating to paint. Every pair has it's own unique grain that highlights the personality of it's owner." - Asbestos

Dark Hands. Mixed media on found wood by Asbestos