A week ago yesterday when I adopted Lula — our third forever pup in our current pack — the first stop I made was at my mom’s for Art Friday. She was a hit of course. And invited back, any time. Of course.
So when Art Friday rolled around again — just between us, I think last week only had four days in it, I’ve never known seven to go by quite that fast before — we went, and she was just as popular as the first time. Of course.
Lula settled in immediately and paid close attention while mom kantha stitched a gorgeous pot holder — the Domestic Arts run deep in my family.
Then emboldened by her new knowledge of sewing , Lula easily pinned one of the rat girls in a wrestling match.
Typically Art Fridays are spent in Parallel Play, and this one was no exception. While mom stitched, Marilyn drew, I painted and Terry collaged, Lula spent a little time with each of us.
She surveyed the beginnings of one of Terry’s shredded and repieced collages which will transform old receipts into valentines — can’t buy me love?
Marilyn and Terry discussed an issue Marilyn was having with the angle of light hitting the line-up of kitchen utensils she was drawing.
Lula was consulted, but found the concept of “melon baller” complex enough. Dude!
And meanwhile I worked on a portrait of Lula. Of course. The first of many I imagine.
Little Lula. Big Inspiration.
Jewelry boxes and chests in all variations of delicacy and heft can be found crammed in with the mismatched sets of salad bowls and oddly shaped cutting boards from well intentioned children’s shop class Christmas projects at your favorite secondhand store. My personal favorites are the jewelry boxes which never saw the mass market. Like this one.
This is a wooden box with metal hardware, which I painted with acrylic paint. The kind of acrylic paint you can buy at any art supply or craft store for less than a dollar, in a hundred different colors with names like Tuscan Red or Bluegrass Green.
When the box was completely painted I sealed it with Minwax Polycrylic water based acrylic sealer. I go through gallons of this stuff. It comes in satin and gloss finishes, washes up with water, and forms a clear, hard, protective surface that you can literally walk on — it’s the same sealer I use on the rugs I paint on the floor, like the one I just finished in my dining room.
What made this project special was my inspiration. Ever since I saw a traveling exhibition of the Quilts of Gee’s Bend at the Art Museum in Milwaukee, WI in 2004 I have been over the moon for their patterns. I have a book of 30 postcards from that show which I refer to over and over.
I referred to at least six of the quilts for this jewelry box like this one called “Medallion” by Loretta Pettway for the top:
and “Strips” by Annie Mae Young for the inside front:
The inside of the doors was inspired by “Pig in a Pen” by Minnie Sue Coleman:
“Housetop” four-block “Half Log Cabin” variation by Lottie Mooney inspired the right side of the jewelry box:
A quilt by Martha Jane Pettway described as only a center medallion with multiple borders and cornerstones is on the left side:
And on the back, one of my absolute favorites, “Bars and String-pieced Columns” by Jessie T. Pettway:
So much of my surface pattern design is inspired or informed by patterns from other cultures, or as I’ve mentioned before from the traditional or domestic arts. My intention is never to copy exactly — though the element of “flattery” in this piece is obvious — rather to use the patterns together to form something new. The inspiration for this piece came from quilts but the end result would barely cover your lap, much less look good spread on your bed. The end result in my opinion is, nevertheless, a treasure.
Gaaaaahhh! Caught not quite finished with my project. I really only have one or two more colors to go and then the sealer, but for now I’ve got to call it a day. Here’s today’s progress sequence:
We’ll see how dedicated to this paint job I am tomorrow. NOT! It’s Thanksgiving and I am getting excited about that. I got my pies and the cranberry sauce made today and the only brush I intend to pick up tomorrow is the basting brush! Gobble Gobble!!
This week’s Second Helpings is another set of painted dishes, and in keeping with the theme which has popped up more than once in the last few days, their motif is quilts.
Hey, it’s that home + art + functional + decorative = Domestic Arts thang again. Somebody kiss me quick!
I personally love black as a background for color and so I bought pieces whenever I found them and put together a few different sets of dishes. Some cups and saucers, the odd tea pot, a few bowls, but mostly dinner plates.
For this project I used the same paint as for last week’s Second Helpings: the “pebeo PORCELAINE 150 water based colour for porcelain.”
With the black glaze you need to be tricky and do an undercoat of white, or Ivory in my case, BEFORE you paint your colors on top of that. Otherwise they are completely swallowed by the black.
Paint one coat of white, then one coat of the colors you want to see on top of the white after the white is completely dry. Let that second layer of paint dry and then fire the piece once. I have fired pieces more than once, but they get a little over baked and weird looking so I don’t recommend it.
Part of the fun of a project like this is its ongoing nature. Any time you find a little misfit black dish you can bring it home, paint it with your chosen motif and add it to your growing collection.
And now, it’s time to paint.
XOXO, Action Girl