Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Pulse: Show & Tell 3

Welcome to the third edition of The Pulse: an artist survey. This collaborative project aims to introduce you to new artists, help you get to know familiar faces even more, and allow you access into the creative hearts and minds of a very talented crew of individuals. For links to the sites of the participating artists, please click here.


Today's question: Show and Tell. SHOW us one photograph of the object or objects that you collect and TELL us how your collection(s) came to be and/or what they mean to you. Feel free to include any anecdote about how you might have found/bought any of your treasures. The following is the third of four posts to answer this question.



Shona Cole I don’t really collect things, unless you include art supplies! I love and treasure my art supplies – paints, paper, brushes, oil pastels, 4B pencils, my Canon, my Mac.

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Andrew Borloz I have so many collections, and most of them are in storage. I have puzzles, architectural elements/sculptures, pop-up books, ampersands (new), and cookbooks, to name a few. One collection brings out the most number of memories is the Christmas ornaments that I made, collected from my travels, bought for a specific theme, or got from my friends. I never decorated a tree the same way again in any given year – it’s always different every year.

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Mary Buek I don't collect anything. I have too much stuff as it is. If a collection is having a lot of one thing, it would be reading material: books, magazines. But I don't consider those collections, because I take what I need from them and then give them away.

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Marissa O'Brien I am inspired by my friend Joy Raskin's collection of hammers. I've been to her studio and was amazed by all the older hammers she has. They have all been gently used. they feel comfortable in your hand, like they were meant to be used. I am on a journey to find recycled metalsmithing tools and to use them in my work.


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Angela Cartwright I have had several collections over the years…but lately it’s random postcards arriving in the mail from friends, the more obscure the better…. snowglobes…the airport kind…


and most recently, chairs…I’m really into chairs right now.



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Barbara Kleinhans I collect stones and shells from different places I’ve travelled or explored, displayed in small bowls around my apartment. The colors, shapes and textures vary from place to place. While the surfaces appear quite different, they share a similar core essence.



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Martha Marshall The only things you could say I really collect are bits of anything that might be incorporated into art, or might inspire my art. Things from nature, old lace, vintage fabrics, old well-played-with and broken dolls. This is a digital collage using two of my dolls from childhood, many of which I collected until last year, and then gave them to a great artist friend, who will do great things with them.

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Cynthia Gaub As I decided what to pick to show, I realized I have a lot of little collections. Of course there is the fabric and paper collections that seem to accumulate for the purpose of doing art, but some of which I can't bear to use. But I don't think those should count. I have been collecting artwork from swaps and trades for years now. One of the things that keeps me creating consistently is participating in these swaps. My walls are filled throughout the house with artwork of people I know from on line art communities. But I think the collection of things that I have in fact purposefully collected over the years is my pottery. I used to manage a gallery that was originally ALL fine art pottery (but grew over the years to be a retail gift shop of artsy home decor.) There I really became interested in the art of clay. I collected from local artists some functional and decorative pieces. I have since added to it with my own work as I explore creating in clay.

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azircaDoes collecting junk count? I have plenty of that! I don't have a huge collection of anything really just little pieces here and there that I've kept because they make me smile or hold precious memories for me. Things like an my Nana's vintage costume jewellery that I could never part with as it reminds me of her and instantly takes me back to my childhood. I have quite a pile of old buttons that I found in an opportunity shop, I'll probably never use them in my art but they make a lovely display in my studio.

I guess what I collect the most of would have to be metal and rusty bits and pieces that I use in my assemblages, so I've included a photo of these items. I've lost count at the strange looks and raised eyebrows that I've had when I've been collecting bits for my art. People can't believe that I actually want their 'junk' and when they ask me what I'm going to do with it, and I respond by saying that I will use it to create an assemblage or piece of altered art, they honestly don't know what to say. Often their response is just to say as politely as they can muster, "Oh really? That's different!" When truth be told they are more than likely thinking, "strange, crazy woman get away from me!" Some people really just don't get it, they don't share my joy when I find a fabulous piece of junk and that's okay with me, as long as they let me buy their unwanted junk!

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Max Ackerson I have always collected fossils and crystals, ever since I was around 5 years old. It started when my uncle gave me a piece of slate which was full of fossils, and ever since I have kept my eye out for different fossils or crystals. A few in my collection I have bought and others i have found or they were given to me.

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Marion Bockelmann I love to buy old cabinet cards and photos on flea markets. When I discover a booth that sells them it takes me a long time to go through all those pics - each of them illustrates a whole life, and I always buy those that are telling a story to me. Mostly I use the original photo for my artwork, but there are some pics that seem so precious to me that I cannot alter them. BTW, sometimes I avoid telling the seller what I´m planning to do with the photos I buy; you never know what they think about altering old things ... (photo attached: These two are too wonderful to put my hands on - I´ll only use scans of them.)

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Sarah "Flo" Harris I'm not convinced I have a collector's mentality. Although I do like completeness - for example I love to have all the available colours of a certain type of paint or ink pad, even if I know I'd never use some of them. I do love the sun though, and so have a fair collection of rubber stamps with suns on - the mounted ones are in the photo. There are perhaps twice as much again unmounted. They cheer me up on rainy days like today (you have to love the English high summer - it hasn't stopped raining for days, sigh.....)

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Patty Szymkowicz I have collections of swans, mermaids, wooden shoes, buttons, cabinet cards, odd jewelry pieces, doll parts, books, rocks, bowls, items from India, along with rusty bits of this and that...I could go on…. On a weekend trip to see a Frida Kahlo exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, my husband and I were entertained for longer than I would like to admit collecting metal clip on buttons from the grounds around the museum area. These are handed out as you enter the museum. Imagine people just tossing them away afterwards!!! We even had to dig up a few just peeking out of the dirt and almost stopped traffic for that cool fork. One man’s garbage is definitely another man’s gold!

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Debbie Mihalik Each day I wander around the property I live on and
search for nature's flotsam and jetsam. To date I have gathered: bird's nests, feathers from ravens, magpies and pheasants, an abandoned quail's egg, a dead salamander and the claws of what I assume is a gopher. Even though I am not sure how I will use all these items, they were too good to leave behind. Now they live in test tubes, petri dishes and drawers in my studio.

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Debbie Overton The old sewing machine drawers filled with antique and vintage photographs and postcards has been growing for 20+ years. This is just a very small group of them. The drawers and many of the photos are from my Great Grandmother. Even though many of the photos are adopted from antique shops and flea markets many of them have come from family and friends. Then the old wooden rulers were my Grandfathers. Because of those I started collecting them years ago and use them in my art, but those you see in the photo will remain as inspiration and remind me of his strength and character.

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Ginny Carter Smallenburg I am so drawn to numbers and letters, especially if they are big and graphic. For some reason, I keep finding the number "5", maybe it is the curve of the number that appeals to me. My homes have always had signs hanging on the walls. Right now I have a 7 1/2 foot high subway train destination sign on one wall plus several smaller sections hanging on others. When we went to pick up the framed 7 1/2 foot sign, we discovered that my Balzer wasn't big enough to bring it home. We had to go rent a big van! I have numbers on the walls, old post office windows with words still on them, gas station numbers and now that I am noticing it all, maybe too many words and numbers in the house! It also seems as I look around, that I am drawn to little people figures, but that will have to wait for your next survey! Oh, and clocks! Hmm...and old English post office banks...and.....how many more surveys will you be doing? Here's a photo of one of the train signs. The jar on the table has ceramic balls with letters on them.

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Elis Cooke I used to collect rocks and candle holders, but now the only thing I collect with any dedication is art supplies :)

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Valerie Foster Do I collect? Yes. Do I have any specific or unique collections? No! What I collect is just "stuff". Stuff I intend to use, or hope I can use for my art. And given the fact that I live in a small house, with not a lot of extra space, getting into altered/mixed media art four years ago has not helped me at all with the lack of space issue. I collect fabric, fibers, papers, paint samples, ephemera, junk mail, pizza cardboard, found items, rusted found objects, sardine cans, old jewelry, books, magazines, twigs, leaves, seeds -- need I go on? These are not specific "collections", but rather just a lot of miscellaneous stuff, or a lot of people (who are not altered artists) would call it mere junk. I don't consider it junk, per se, if I can use it in my art. But in any other respect, yes, most of it would be considered junk, that most "normal" people would never save or collect, but would quickly throw in the garbage. (But rather than throw things in the garbage, I retrieve things from the garbage. As a lot of artists do, right? I mean right?, because I need to know I'm not alone or weird in doing this.) And I don't have a specific "collection" of things I can photograph, because they are crammed into space all over my house, so I don't have photos of my so called collection.

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Lelainia Lloyd I am pretty obsessed with buttons. I can't help buying them whenever see them at garage sales or in my travels. When I look at buttons, I know that every human being down through time has worn a button in some form or another. It's the one humble little object that connects us as a human race.

I've have acquired my collection not only through my own relentless hunting and gathering skills, but also through the generosity of friends. One friend sent me boxes of them from Wyoming, another from an estate sale in NYC and yet another bartered her personal stash for a private art class.

There's nothing I love more than dipping my hand into a jar of these little treasure. I have a whole jar of brightly coloured Bakelite buttons. Did you know that you can discern Bakelite from plastic by running it under hot water and then rubbing it? After you warm and rub it, if you smell formaldehyde, then it's genuine Bakelite! I also have vintage celluloid buttons that came from NYC in white and cream that are beautifully designed. Each one is different and a good number of them are floral themed. My most favourite kind of button are really old mother of pearl that have left over bits of thread still running through the holes. Those are the buttons that speak to me most and when I find some, I feel like I've hit the jackpot.

My obsession with buttons stems from my love of vintage sewing Ephemera. It connects me to my prairie upbringing and to one of my great grandmothers who was a seamstress. Buttons are my signature in my work-I use them whenever possible.

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Kathy McCreedy My husband and I both collected green Fire King dishware, waaaaay before Martha made it popular. We actually love any sort of pottery/glass ware/dishware from that era. I knew he was the man for me when one day in conversation, neither one of us could recall the name of the company that made
Fiestaware; and about two weeks later, in the middle of the night, he sat straight up in bed and said "Homer Laughlin". The strange thing was, without explanation, I knew exactly what he was talking about!

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Kelsey O'Mullane Masks have always intrigued me. I’ve been collecting them since my first trip overseas about 25 years ago and luckily my parents have travelled a bit so I have masks from different cultures. After my last acquisition of a wonderful Indian mask in Alaska recently, my current count is 27!

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Gina Petterson We have a fantastic flea market in out town and a very large population of elderly people. There are lots of eclectic and personal items that end up in the store. My fixation right now are cabinet cards and old post cards. Most of them are original issues from the early 1900's to the late 60's, They have personal messages in several foreign languages or the name of a studio where a distant relative may have been photographed. I have amassed a few but only use copies in my art. I feel compelled to savor the history of the items, even if I don't know of their origin.

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6 comments:

LostLuggage said...

I love this, Seth! Looking down so many names on the participant list at the get-go was over-whelming initially...but now as you get to see a little piece every day into that person's life..I love how you can get to know the artist! I find myself clicking on more links with every post.

Suzan Buckner said...

This is turning out wonderfully!! I really look forward to getting up every morning, and seeing what is new, and what you have posted!

Thank you for all your time and trouble!!! You are wonderful!

Chris said...

okay, Kelsey, if I had masks on my wall which actually had eyes in them, I'd never sleep. Never. Did I mention I can't sleep with MASKS staring at me?!



would you keep my masks for me? mine are in the trunk in the garage behind the ping pong table under some blankets with a large mallet on top of them. But they sure are neat-o!

cookievf said...

Seth,
I know I speak for so many of your faithful readers, myself included, when I say how THRILLED we are to have another PEEK INSIDE what makes these artists "tick!"

Hooray for all of your hard work and dedication & the newest edition of THE PULSE!!! This one's dee-lish!!!
- vicki xo

mansuetude said...

this is awesome! Gracias.

~*~Patty Szymkowicz said...

This is TOTALLY awesome Set!!! I am away on holiday, traveled from VA to the west coast, starting out in SF. I will have to browse all of the links when I get back home.....bad timing on my part....but OH, how we Love it here!!! On to Vancouver next! Laptop not working so well here :) :) :) Your Altered Page Review is just AMAZING!!! Thank you a bunch for your time and energy. LOve reading about YOU as well! oxxo