Skip to main content

Posts

My latest creative project

Recent posts

Welcome Spring: A Field Journal

Spring has been dragging her snow-covered boots en route to Michigan -- and having some fun with "April Fool" pranks along the way. Last month she teased us with balmy weather and early primrose blooms, then threw some snow our way.

No wonder I'm fighting a case of spring fever; I can't wait for the start of gardening season.

The "field journal" shown here is an homage to spring. It was made from a children's board book I found at a thrift store. I covered the boards first with handmade paper, then added a variety of found objects -- twigs, feathers, shells, vintage jewelry, and an image from Botticelli's "Primavera."


Cycles of the Muse

Inspired by a slip of paper in a Chinese fortune cookie, "Cycles of the Muse" is a tribute to the creative process -- and a playful nod to Sandro Botticelli, one of my favorite Renaissance artists. I was happy to learn last week that it was selected for the Michigan Annual XLII Art Exhibition, which opens at the Anton Art Center in Mount Clemens January 30. Detroit artist Andy Krieger is the juror.

"Cycles of the Muse" combines many recycled elements: two thrift shop picture frames, broken costume jewelry, metal scraps, twigs, and bird feathers. (The "shell" from which this Venus emerges is actually a tin can lid I found in the street, while the crown on her head is an electronic scrap I swept from the floor of the studio space I share with my husband.) 

As a writer, I look for the beauty in ordinary life – and I try to bring that same sensibility to my artwork. I believe broken and tarnished things are magical, and that each one has its own story to tell. …

Self-portrait exhibit

Self-portraits created by members of the Berrien Artist Guild are exhibited throughout the galleries at the Box Factory for the Arts in St. Joseph, Michigan, now through September 27th.

The concept for the Box Factory exhibit began with the belief that every artist should attempt at least one self-portrait. My own "Autobiography"-- which was built around a photo taken of me in 1978 -- is included in this show. Whether you're creating a self-portrait or writing a memoir or an autobiography, the process begins with "I" ... so I had some fun punning around when I added an image of an eye to this piece. Did you spot it yet?

A three-part tutorial on how I started this mixed-media project is included on my blog, Cindy La Ferle's Home Office. Click hereto read the first installment.

Michiana Annual Art Competition

At long last, it's summer -- the season of outdoor art fairs and exhibitions. Last night I attended the opening reception for the Michiana Annual Arts Competition, which draws scores of creative entries from southwest Michigan and northern Indiana.

Two of my own mixed-media pieces -- "Fairy Tale" and "The Importance of Ancestors" -- were selected for the exhibition. Since this is my first time entering a show on Michigan's west coast, I was also honored to learn that "Fairy Tale" won an Honorable Mention award in the juried competition. Both pieces illustrate my passion for telling stories with discarded vintage treasures and natural found objects.


The Michiana Annual Art Competition runs from June 20 through August 2 at the Box Factory for the Arts in St. Joseph.




Circus acts

The circus rolls into town every year in March.I have many happy childhood memories of watching the circus with my dad and grandfather. And the heady aroma of cotton candy never fails to conjure the cheesy thrill of "the greatest shows on earth."

Early in my journalism career, one of my local newspaper editors asked if I wanted to interview a lion tamer at Detroit's Shrine Circus before the show opened. Of course, I jumped at the rare chance to explore the Big Top behind the scenes. That assignment remains a favorite of mine today.

For all its bright lights and vibrant primary colors, a traveling circus also boasts a darker palette, a legendary cloak of magic and mystery. Think of the great Houdini and his death-defying acts. Think of the autumn carnival in Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes, with its eerie gypsy fortune teller and sinister parade of clowns.

The pieces shown below are my homage to the mystery and thrill of the circus, past and present.

____…

Homage to the domestic arts

Vintage cookbooks and household manuals are another passion of mine...When I find them in good condition, they're given a place of honor with other domestic collectibles and keepsakes in my kitchen.

The Creda Housecraft Manual: A Treasury of Useful Recipes and Household Information was published in 1958. When I found it at a thrift store decades later, its cover and pages were badly damaged, making it a good candidate for an altered book project. Renaming the book House Wife, I painted its covers and embellished them with vintage trims, safety pins, buttons, sewing notions, a photo from a catalog, and an old silver teaspoon. The pages were altered with old fabrics, favorite recipes, and ads from 1950s women's magazines. 

Altering a cookbook is a handy project for beginners. Gather your own recipes, family photos, and stories about memorable meals, then paste them to the existing pages of a damaged book. For charm and interest, allow some of the original text to show.