Archive for January, 2017

So, I’ve been thinking about this group of taxonomy works for a long time (this is a project where I work on groups of 5 objects). It’s a real collection of loose parts.

There are a lot of loose parts in this project. It combines the following:

  • Pieces of a Sunday NewYorkTimes article about marriage proposals that went wrong
  • Prints made from cabbage leaves
  • Sheet music
  • Small images from a small-scale book of Audubon’s Birds of America
  • Advertising images of large jewelry
  • Boxes of various sizes
  • Fabric

Many of these items are regulars in my creations. This time around the theme is “Audubon’s Birds of America Propose”. Each creation is a little scene with a particular species of bird proposing with jewelry in hand or beak and is accompanied by text from the disaster proposal article. Here is how the idea came together.

First, I was doing some printing with cabbage leaves on vellum. Why? Because I like to print with cabbage. I was printing away, when I noticed that there was a special insert in the Sunday NYTimes that week to celebrate Cartier’s newly redesigned store on 5th Avenue. The was an entire 2 page pullout: the top was an old image of the store printed in black and white on vellum; the second page was the new store today with the red awnings printed on paper. I opened the pages out fully and added some cabbages to that too. I made it look like the trees were growing off the roof etc. Amusing. But, it got me thinking about jewelry and the trees/cabbage prints.

The next weekend, the Financial Times magazine “How to Spend it” (they don’t really mince words with that title) had some huge, glossy ads for Cartier. I cut out some of the jewelry from those ads and others. Then, for some reason I thought about the little (3×3) Audubon’s Birds of America book sitting in my pile. I think I got it for art projects, but have not really used it much. So, I got it out and started cutting up the images so that I had just the birds. I combined them with the prints and the jewelry cut outs. There were some pretty good combinations. In the “Sunday Styles” section of The New York Times there was an article called “The Proposal was Awkward (but the Answer Was Yes)” which was very funny and I thought I could pull from it to add a story element to the images. I planned to put all of this in a box of some sort, to go with the whole proposal thing and added a soft jewel tone fabric covering so that the whole thing would seem jewelry box-like.

For the box, I first pulled out some old cigar boxes I had scavenged years ago. I was working on that for a while. Then, because a couple of the cabbage prints were oriented differently on the paper, I started thinking about smaller boxes; tuns out that really works better–more contained, the birds and the trees/cabbage fill the space. The cigar boxes went back to loose parts pile for a while. I worked on the smaller format.

The first one here has the following text: On a private plane ride over the glorious Manhattan skyline . . . and that’s when he popped the question. Suddenly, a wave of motion sickness hit me like a storm and I proceeded to vomit all over myself. The name of the species (black headed gull) is under the text. It’s hard to see, but I sewed around some of the tree/cabbage print branches and sewed wide-spaced lines across the print.

Second, I added changed the box hinge so that it was cardboard and not just paper and cut off the edges so the top wasn’t so tight. Also, added green bias tape around the edges. The text for the great horned owls is: Turns out he had just proposed–and I had missed the whole thing. I asked him to do it all over again, and this time, I didn’t wear the earmuffs.

I did go back to the larger format cigar boxes after all. The first one is for the buffel-headed duck. Here is the text : He began his romantic proposal but was promptly interrupted by a goose attack. . . we ran and he finished the proposal in the car.

In addition, I tried something completely different in this one by cutting out the cabbage and adding a jewelry box as a stand. I again sewed around the text and species name. Text is: We were hiking at Zion National Park in Utah. It was a pretty intense hike, but he kept saying if I make it to the top he has a present for me. This was just making me angry.

And, here’s another different format. Fabric and paper cover opens with button handle. Species name is on clear covering over box (it was a box of cards), bird, jewels and ribbon/edge are all inside the box. The text is: I went into the bathroom, opened the shower curtain, and found a wet dog and a naked man on his knee with a ring in hand.

The pictures are not great; the things are more fun in person, although the glue is also more obvious.

Once again, the process of making a series meant that I thought about a lot of different versions and pushed my planning much farther than I would have otherwise. The first version of anything is rarely my favorite, but unless I keep at it, that’s where it ends.

I’ve already got two other taxonomy ideas that I am rolling around in my head. With winter break over, I need a snow day for a day of found time to get thinking and making.