Archive for April, 2010

Der Wunderkammer
April 20, 2010

all images link back to original sites.

In many ways I have always been drawn to the idea of displaying trinkets and collections in cupboards and diorama frames, but I was introduced to the concept of a ‘Wunderkammer’ a few summers ago by a friend and fellow artist, Blake. He showed me a Make magazine article about the displays, and I was enamored.

According to Wikipedia, “Cabinets of curiosities (also known as Kunstkammer, Wunderkammer, Cabinets of Wonder, or wonder-rooms) were encyclopedic collections of types of objects whose categorical boundaries were, in Renaissance Europe, yet to be defined. Modern terminology would categorize the objects included as belonging to natural history (sometimes faked), geology, ethnography, archaeology, religious or historical relics, works of art (including cabinet paintings) and antiquities.”

Historically, the best cabinets were displayed by wealthy collectors – those who could afford to spend money on expensive oddities.  The weirder the cabinet, especially in scientific terms, the more impressive and coveted the collection.

And here is my own Wunderkammer:

by clicking the image you will be taken to my flickr page, where you can view a much larger version of the picture as well as see notes detailing what each item is and where I acquired it.

My Wunderkammer consists mostly of natural elements like sea glass, pebbles, abalone, coral, and some agates and quartz. Most of the objects were found by myself, with the exception of some of the bigger stones. The cabinet I found at goodwill, in need of a good sanding and some door handles. You can’t see in this picture, but I painted the outside a nice turquoise color. I was especially excited about the glass doors! It hangs on the wall by my bed.

I’ve noticed coral is a hugely common element.

Here’s my take on the Wunderkammer: “It’s a place to keep and show off all your stuff! A reason to collect random and weird objects, to be proud of such strange collections, and to make use/brag of an obsessive hoarding habit!”

french artist Maissa Toulet – her site is worth a double, even triple look

I have a huuuuuge tendency to hold onto things that I find. Yes, some call this hoarding.  (Luckily, I have just enough self control not to end up like those people on that tlc show. ) For whatever reason, I am always excited to scour goodwill, thriftstores, garage sales, etc. for random trinkets and oddities. (I can just see my boyfriend reading this and groaning inwardly as his desire to someday cohabitate with me and – er – all my tchotchke… slowly dissolves.)

noteworthy: the bottle of teeth (!!!) on the top shelf

A lot of the thrill comes from the hunt. I love digging, scouring, and opening things up. I have an eagle eye when it comes to interesting things.  Also, in the vein of my love of vintage, I enjoy having things that not everyone else has. Antiques really intrigue me because I love to think about who has owned and used them in the past, and how they were loved or perceived by others. I like the fact that I admire something that has possibly been admired by someone of a different time or in a completely different lifestyle than mine.  I know that a lot of people are actually creeped and grossed out by old things for exactly this reason – “it’s so old, who knows where it’s been!”

mini globes! i want! i need! i exclaim!

I covet small, interesting items like treasures, and it shows up in all my art – especially my artists books.  Since I was young I have held this love for precious little things, the more pocket sized the better. It’s like keeping some sort of secret talisman, to draw inspiration from. I assign a small amount of power to certain tiny charms, and I like the whimsical belief that they may have some affect on my well being and luck. I’ll be the first to admit it, I find comfort in stuff.  And, weirdly enough – the Wunderkammer tickles another fancy of mine: organizing, cataloging, and presenting things in an attractive way. But that’s another post…

I’m always on the lookout for cabinets like this one, at goodwill.

See Also:

Wikipedia entry for “Cabinet of Curiosities”
long but interesting entry about the ‘kammers
Albertus Seba, “the most sumptuous and complete record of any eighteenth century cabinet of natural history.”
Wunderkammer
, Australian showcase that doubles as a retail store!
I highly suggest doing some extensive google research if you are interested in these awesome displays. All the above was found on just the first three or so pages of a google search!

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Needle felting project – update!
April 20, 2010

update from this post:

kinda weak, but here is what I have made so far in my needle felting ventures:

a little pink strawberry! i have been wanting to buy more colors of roving before I start other projects… Also I have been really restless with my crafting and have started multiple projects and am alternating amongst them whenever certain moods strike.

I did dig out an old project from last summer I started, and the outlook is good for finishing that sometime before next week, so I’ll post with an update.

crocheted amulet bag
April 12, 2010

In the vein of my native american inspired crafts appreciation, I have been on a kick of making these little amulet bags to store special charms and lucky stuff around your neck. I researched a ton of patterns online but ended up kind of making it up as I went… I figured out this really simple way to make a chain, slip stitch back down it, then crochet down the backside and keep going to the front without turning the work… it it essentially becomes crocheting in the round.

The beads are really easy to add, it never occurred to me that all you have to do is string up all the beads before you start, then literally just pull each one flush with your work as you go along and it secures it a lot better than going back and sewing each one in would. The lace on the top is just two rows of double crochet shells. These are real fun to make a wear, and hide treasures in! I have a few listed on my etsy.

Disgruntled craft store employee
April 9, 2010

We’ve been working on inventory this past week (thank god it’s over!) and the other day I walked into the backroom to work some overstock carts and found this.  We have to frequently check the craft wood and letters section of the store because customers are always leaving bizarre and/or rude messages spelled out, but this had to be an employee because it lives in the stock room. I swear it wasn’t me! Though I will admit to muttering such a phrase, while on the clock, on more than one occasion.

In One Year, and Out the Other Artist Book
April 6, 2010

I couldn’t find a suitable older model tv on google images,
so I went to a thriftstore and took a pic of my own 🙂

This is an artist book I made for a class assignment. I honestly don’t remember the actual assignment description.. I think it had something to do with looking at historical influences of the book/artist book vs. more modern forms of communication and expression, and I thought it would be interesting to see how these aspects might speak to each other. Kind of that stereotypical pun in bad movies with old people questioning the validity of the influences on today’s youth.

The idea of the book is that it meshes many recognizable faces and characters from TV, books, and pop culture.  I took advantage of the fact that the TV image is so familiar and used it to house some faces the average person might not recognize.

The book is actually a form of an accordion book, and pulls out to stand up and be viewed.  My professor showed our class some really cool old “peep show” books that were in this style but the front was covered and only had a small hole in the middle that you looked through once the book was stretched open, to see how all the panels layered up. It’s like a cousin to a kaleidoscope toy!  I really liked this format in terms of these things being housed and viewed in the tv, and the book literally opens up to sit in front of you for full viewing opportunities.

Apart from being visually appealing and impressive, I think the book would have been more successful if I had focused more intently on one type of image or message, rather than trying to include all these huge and overarching concepts – the hand holding the watches for time, notions of conventional beauty, and good ‘ole Mr “I went to the woods to live deliberately.”

Wonder how he would feel about being within six degrees of separation from Harry Potter?