Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Feathered Friends

The theme this week seems to be Love Birds. My little fellow Papageno is pictured here. It's the first time I've combined my love of primitive art and opera (Mozart's Magic Flute)-- which proves that nothing is impossible in art. I wanted to make a little music box for his magic chimes, like the one I saw in live performance, but I didn't have time to find the proper inspiration. So he has a birdcage and rusty bell instead.

Rose Mary's lovely little lady holds two love birds in her arms...they sort of inspired me with Papageno. I love their soft colors in pale green and pink. They seem on the verge of kissing (very romantic)....

This is also the week for Alice in Yellow (the looking glass version) and the Mad Hatter -- he was so complicated to finish, I almost willed him into being. Somehow Tenniel's sketches seemed harder to match than usual, trying to paint all those little checks and sculpt his broad nose on a flat doll's face. But I'm quite proud of his finished expression, his heavy top hat and perfect little pocketwatch. Pictures of the tea party will be posted soon.

The workshop has been covered in sawdust lately (literally abuzz, if you'll excuse the pun), since we're trying a new wood pattern for the shop and auctions. Poppy-the-cat wanders around in the wood shop, even when the saw is running. His profile makes me want to sew Tuxedo cats, since he's white-chested with white paws and toes.
{-- Poppy squeezing through the gate and into the yard: neutral ground and haven to all cats and four-legged/two-legged creatures.

Monday, January 28, 2008

"Tagging" Artists Worthy of Praise ... The Cart Before the Horse and Other Art Inspirations

Following our artist friend Summer's footsteps, we've added The Cart Before the Horse blog to our links page. These amazing Ebay artists are worth visiting, and owning one of their pieces is beyond measure for art lovers. Please check out their blog and their weekly Ebay listings for more details. They've inspired us with their craftsmanship and creativity... we watch for the new listings every Sunday to see the latest concepts from their workshop and the debut is never disappointing. Their blog at http://thecartbeforethehorse.blogspot.com/ also includes "back issues" of their newsletters so you can catch up on previous projects, photos, and personal reflections.

For fellow artists in search of new creative measures, we also recommend visiting Prim Mart's online forum -- their Learning Center link is full of free tips, patterns, links, and projects for traditional and alternative arts. With everything from needlsculpting noses to paper-mache pulp, it's a virtual troubleshooting guide for artists in need of answers and tips. Follow the Online Community link at http://primmart.com/ .

Last, but not least, alternative artist Karen Hatzigeorgiou's website is filled with unique artistry in the form of books and collages. Her work is creative and personal, drawing inspiration from forgotton treasures and art long ago forgotten and tucked in nooks and crannies. She also devotes a page to copyright free images for artists to browse through and incorporate in their own projects. The old-fashioned illustrations, vignettes, greeting cards, and sketches are beautifully rendered and perfect for primitive projects (special thanks to her site for providing the image for the Love Bug's Valentines card). Visit her creativity at http://www.karenswhimsy.com/.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Alice's White Rabbit and Valentine's Prim Ladies

Alice's newest friends is finally ready for auction. The White Rabbit was something of a challenge to do differently...we wanted to give him an "old wooden toy" feel, so we sculpted his limbs from paper mache. With a little paint and primming, it looks almost like the real thing. Originally, I had planned a waistcoat and gloves, the White Rabbit's first appearance in the story. But Tenniel's illustration of the Knave's trial was perfectly in keeping with the Valentine's theme these first few dolls created.

Speaking of Valentines, the early primitives style gets a nod from Caroline and Tilda. The "Bee Mine" doll is my favorite, but our little Valentines postlady (seated above with the Love Bug and Alice's White Rabbit) is soft and plushy like a little girl's doll of old.

The lady Love Bug finally gets her chance at auction, along with the others this week....I'm looking forward to moving on to March's "Jitter Bug", since I love making those little boots like the Cold Bug's. And the newest installment of the Plain and Prim series will be coming up soon, along with a special feature or two when our shop opens this month -- only a week or so left until debut!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Welcoming Our Newest Friends

We've added some new links to our blog that we'd love for you to check out. Our newest friends at http://www.windlewood.com/ have a unique and beautiful line of dolls, alternative art, "ornie" trees, household decor, and much more. Their work is stunning and perfect for fans of primitive arts, old-fashioned decor, and a hint of Victorian magic in the home.

Also, artist Summer's blog The Artfull Life at http://artfulife.blogspot.com/ features her beautiful sketches and scenes from her everday life. Her posts are an online journal of an artist's life, finding the art in everyday life's busy schedule. We at Cordwood Cabin say thanks again to Summer for being one of our first friends in the online artists' community.

.....Stay tuned, the first real post for "Plain and Prim" is coming soon, as the second Plain and Prim Angel makes its debut.....

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Alice After Rabbits... And the Love Bug's Debut!

Above is Alice in Wonderland...only half-finished in the picture. It's always fascinating how prim and rough the basic dolls, yet how delicate the details that give them character. The personality of a seam line, the texture of cloth, the exact measure of pull to a thread defines the piece more than the picture in your head.

Also, the February Love Bug is finished and ready for her auction. Her little loose-wrapped limbs seem to move as we pose her, almost as if she was trying to wiggle away from us. Lots of heavy wire and make-do patches can be glimpsed under her paint, making her even more primitive than the Cold Bug. One of her pictures is posted above, a little ahead of time to show you what her fi
nished features look like.

The forecast calls for snow this week for the Cordwood Cabin. Good news for Angus, with his shaggy black coat, but the cats will be retreating inside the workshop for the heat from the wood stove. They have no interest in frosty blankets or snowdrifts in the woods.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Workshop After Christmas....

We're hard at work on January's auctions and the new shop, now that all the Christmas cookies have been eaten. A half-finished needle-felted llama waits for his black bead eyes. We tried a new method of wrag-wrapping to create his knobby little legs and a wire skeleton built into his body to make him really flexible.
We have fun making them "run", "jump", and sprawl out wide since they're so poseable.

Speaking of poseable, the February bug is half-done and posing for a picture above. Her limbs aren't wrag-wrapped yet, but she can stand with support behind her back. I'm currently button-holing her wings so they'll be poseable -- her features were quilted on the day before. She's quite a ham -- much more so than Jan's the Cold Bug, who looks so mournful on his auction page. Feel free to stop by Ebay and check him out...there's lots of close-ups of his face and blue bug body.
We'll be issuing a new line of grungy vintage-style pincushions (hopefully!!) along with a new line of folk art dolls, so keep watching for them!!!