Category Archives: Found Object Art

Horizon, n.1. line where the earth and sky seem to meet.

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The place where earth and sky seem to meet – the place  only the birds can reach.

“Horizon “

Watercolor, acrylic, collage, beeswax.  I used glued down crumpled paper, a bird’s feather, various gel mediums and texture gels, with a final coating of beeswax, on hand-made water color paper. 6 x 6 inches

September always seems to bring me back to life – I love the summer, but this year it seemed long and I spent a great deal of time staring into space.  Not really knowing what I wanted to do.  I did some sewing and that felt good.  I did some sketching in my sketchbook, a little bit of art journaling, and a lot of staring…Although I did have one lovely week at the Oregon coast with my family and celebrated my oldest birthday to date! haha.

Now September is here and I’ve started these small horizon line paintings which have been on my mind before, but never seemed to really get around to doing.  They are all the same size because I am using pages out of a bound blank journal that has this hand-made heavy water-color paper .

The feathers were a gift from Jan Brattain, Laughing Dog Arts.  Thanks Jan!

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One more horizon taken on our holiday at the coast.

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Journeys,Unknown

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I have finally finished my little handmade recycled book.  I’ve called it “Journeys, Unknown.”  I used a cardboard box for most of the structure of this book.  I cut the box into smaller pieces and soaked those pieces in water and removed the brown paper layers and smoothed them out to dry.  Once dry, they were very nice flat heavy weight pieces of paper.  I saved them in a drawer for about a year, and then had an idea of how to use them!   I’ve used scraps of paper left over from other projects, found objects, leaves, twigs, stones, fabric, and broken crockery.

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This is the cover.  I made it from a piece of cardboard I cut from a box.  The little broken ceramic leaf was a small dish my daughter saved for me after one of her dogs swept it from a table and it broke.  She knew, as she said, that I would find a use for it!

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The back of the front cover.  A mushroom print I made on an old book page a few years ago one hot summer when I lived in Bend.  Another daughter and I went to the grocery and bought some large mushrooms and put them on pieces of paper, caps down, and left them for a few days.  This was the resulting print!  My computer is not processing the colors correctly, but you get the idea!

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Page 1 – I shared this previously.  A little carved rabbit, probably from some cuckoo clock I think.

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Page 2.

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Page 3 A.  A leaf I saved from my garden several summer’s ago.  I save them in a big book of Shakespeare.  This one was so thin, I tore it a little when I stuck it down.

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Page 3 B.  A couple of poplar leaves from Shakespeare.  Page 4.  A Gelatin print I did using a fossil saved from Fogarty Creek beach in Oregon.

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Page 5.  My favorite place.  The sea.  “…the sea whispers a cradlesong”

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Overlay leaf for page 6A.  I bought these years ago at some dollar store.  They were intended to us as a liner on plates for placing cheese upon.  They don’t glue down very well, and they don’t take printing on – so I glued the edges into a folded piece of brown paper and will sew them through the brown paper when I bind the book.

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Page 6 A.  A skeleton leaf my daughter sent me when I lived in Bend.  My daughters are always saving small things for me to use in my art.  The leaf is so delicate its like a fragment of lace.

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Pages 6 B Water over stones.

Page 7.  Recycled pieces of fabric, buttons and paper.  Darning is so beautiful to me in it’s utilitarian form , practical; but as art as well. “Darning our lives together with thread pilfered from our dreams…”

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Page 8.  Some scraps from leftover painted paper edges, torn into mountains, sky and foreground.

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Page 9.  Moths knocking against the screen on a summer night. “The moths have come calling, leaving their silver at the door.”

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Page 10 and page 11. “And the moth-hour went from the fields…” w b yeats.

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Page 12.  Seed pods and birds traveling on their unknown journeys.

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Another leaf overlay covers page 13.

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Page 13 and page 14 A.

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Page 14 B.

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Page 14 C .

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Page 15.  A copy of an old sketch I did and printed onto a piece of bright green vellum.

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Page 16.  These small journeys we travel without knowing where they may lead us; these journeys that connect us to one another, and to the greater mystery of nature.

Small Things of Wonder

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Moths bumping against the screen on a summer night.  Seeking the light from indoors.  What does it look like to them?  Is it a bright star they are mysteriously drawn to?Moment in Time 002

I’ve been working on another handmade book – a smaller project than the last one.  Was thinking about the little moments in-between the spaces of our lives. The small transitory and easily forgotten things we see in a blink and file away to be remembered or forgotten, but none-the-less, recorded by our brains.

This book is made mostly of recycled materials.  I used recycled paper from cardboard boxes that I soaked in water until I could strip the paper from the corrugated box sides.  Its a really nice heavy brown paper, that takes a lot of water and rubbing and sewing into without buckling or tearing.  I’ve had these small pieces saved in a box for the longest time – but I knew I would find a way to use them eventually!

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Found objects , leaves, stones, twigs, old pieces of darning…whatever seems right at the moment.  I’m sewing the pages together and binding it with cardboard backing.  For the backgrounds I’m using mostly watercolors and oil pastels – my two favorite mediums.  I’ve only completed a few pages which I’m sharing with you today.  I drew the moths on some scrap papers leftover from the last project.  I bought the bunny at a flea market – I think its from an old cuckoo clock.  He has a nice little red bead for an eye.

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The mountains were made from the paint over edges when I made paste papers.  They were the papers laying on the work surface to protect the surface from the paint.  I’d torn a piece from the edge and folded it down so it was the white torn side against the paste paper over brushing and I thought it looked like mountains.  I glued it over the scraps of over brushing, and painted it in blue, purple, and gray. I think it does look like mountains in the background, and strata in the foreground. I outlined the torn edges a little so they would show up more.

I’ve still got more to do – more to color  and layer over the brown base.

Placing Out in America – The Orphan Trains — an Artist’s Book

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I have finally finished my book “Placing Out in America.”  This is the front of the book.  I used a little piece of rusted screen to create the window with the flag showing through it.

This was quite a project for me, and very different from my usual type of art.  Mostly because I was not using any drawings or paintings of my own, but found objects, and old photos.  I collect old photographs mainly based on the expression of the face.  I have a lot of children, they tell such a story with their faces.

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I tried to age all the paper used, including the found objects.  I loved finding this little flag, and tea dyed it and cut off the stars to indicate the year 1854.

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This is what I placed under the flag.  An old piece of  handmade quilt, completely in tatters.  I thought it indicated the longing for comfort and for a home.

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This is what is under the quilt, a notice of distribution, which seemed a cold term to me.  “The distribution of the children …”

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Here I used paste paper I ran through my printer  to print a scanned photograph directly onto the paste paper.  Also a piece from a gelatin print with rows of little houses, and a corrugated cardboard from a light bulb box to fashion a collaged house– found objects!

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These pages look crooked, but they really aren’t.

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I enjoyed manipulating the old photos making them come  to the forefront by how I built the layers of collage beneath. The train is printed directly onto paste paper.  I used a little gel transfer also – but for some reason none of them came out very well so I gave up. That’s a St Christopher medal hanging above the children standing in line.

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I used silhouettes whenever I wanted to fill in with something on the page.  The little tags with numbers represent the numbers the children were given so they could be identified to potential families.

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If you haven’t heard of the Orphan Trains, it is a real part of American history.  The trains ran from 1854 until 1929.  The Children’s Aid Society was formed in 1853 to take some of the homeless children off the streets of New York City.  Unfortunately there were more children than resources available and the idea of shipping these “unwanted” children to rural America and finding families for them was born.  The trains began running in 1854.

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The last page in the book is only a half width page – I liked how the pages on either side looked so I left it half page width.

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The scrap of fabric under the little wallet is a piece of flour sack print.  I liked how the wallet said “Don’t Forget.”  All these small drawers of small things do eventually find a use!

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Outside back of book.  I used a copy of one of my own paintings and cut the figures out.  I thought they looked like they belonged with the rest of the children.

Messy Studio and Imaginary Flowers

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New page for the artists book “The Orphan Train”

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My studio is a big mess while I work on this project artist book, The Orphan Trains.  I’m going to share what a big mess I make when creating – I think because it really does bother me that I can’t maintain some kind of order when I’m creating!  I wonder if I had a separate studio that wasn’t an extra bedroom down the hall from my bedroom, would I be less constricted about mess making.  I think I probably would!

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My work table under seige.  The heavy iron/steel thing sitting on the red plaid paper is something I found at an estate sale – it weighs about ten pounds and makes a perfect paper weight to smooth paper or hold until glue sets!  I’ve no idea what it was originally intended for, but I use it all the time for weighting down glued pages.

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A close up of the paper I’ve been aging for this project.  I’ve squirted lemon juice on regular text weight copier paper and baked it in the oven til it reaches the desired aged-ness.

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The Dorothy Parker book has nothing to do with this project!

Now for something more fun than messy work tables!  Make believe flowers!

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I am ready for spring! Dreaming of planting my summer pots and creating my garden, I started to doodle some imaginary flowers that are unlikely to be found in any botanists catalog, or garden wish book.  Once I finish the  artist book project – I’ll begin to seriously do some gardening!

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A strange little kitty – not saying ‘hello’ either – maybe a naughty kitty.  I had to redo her eyes with a piece of paper pasted over the old ones.  They just looked too naughty! ( journal pages)

New project

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Putting together a new project!  A handmade artist’s book called “Placing Out in America.”  I’m using collage, gelatin monoprint, paste paper, old photographs, gel image transfers, and found objects – oil pastels, acrylic, watercolor.

This is about the seventy-five year history of the largest migration of minor children in the history of the world, and its popularly known as the Orphan Trains.  The history is astounding in our modern age of child protection laws, privacy, and legal adoption.  Children were placed out by the Children’s Aid Society of New York City, and The Foundling Asylum later called the Foundling Hospital of the Sisters of Charity in New York.  There was no legal adoption; anyone who wanted to take a child into their home was interviewed and the child was signed over for a period of a 90 day trial, after 90-days if there were no complaints, the child became their legal property.  Most children were placed hundreds or even thousands of miles away from their New York City homes into the farm country of rural America.

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I am having trouble with the gel image transfers coming away cleanly.  I’ve used this technique before with good results, but this time I am not getting such good results – however, I’ve decided to use them as it seems to work okay with this project.

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Many of the children were immigrants and had survived the trip to America only to have their parents unable to care for them once they arrived.  Poverty, destitution and death left many of the children orphaned.  The Children’s Aid Society rounded up children from the streets of New York City from 1853 through 1929 and placed them out to the rural farmlands in America by train.