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Showing posts from 2014

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.

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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.


Art and soul, saints and shrines

Mexican milagros. Roadside shrines in Italy. Wooden santos tucked in the niches of Catholic churches....Religious shrines and icons have always fascinated me, and I seek them out wherever I travel.
When I began crafting mixed-media assemblages, I happened to be reading Beverly Donofrio's memoir, Looking for Mary, which inspired me to alter a small vintage photo album with Blessed Mother holy cards and found items (shown below).
I’d already started scouting yard sales and flea markets for castoff treasures to use in my altered art projects. And if luck was with me, I’d stumble on cardboard boxes or plastic bags stuffed with dashboard saints, broken rosaries, tattered hymnals, and religious medals. 
The beauty of these spiritual relics – and the comfort they once provided their original owners -- was never lost on me. While I’m not Catholic, I wanted to treat these discarded items with respect and give them new homes in my art.
Combining elements of the sacred with the ordinary, I'…

Telling stories with found objects

"The Importance of Ancestors" by Cindy La Ferle. Collage on canvas with old book cover, frame, and vintage fabric remnants. This piece is featured in the Jan/Feb 2014 issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors __________________

"Something Wicked This Way Comes" by Cindy La Ferle. This altered box was inspired by the Ray Bradbury novel of the same title -- one of my favorite books. It includes vintage toy wheels, carnival doll, hardware, and other vintage found objects. ___________________________

"Becoming" by Cindy La Ferle. Altered greeting card box with vintage costume jewelry and various found objects. The back of this piece is embellished with a copy of May Sarton's poem, "Now I Become Myself," one of my favorite poems. (Top photo: interior of box)
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"Damn Everything but the Circus" by Cindy La Ferle. Inspired by the e.e. cummings poem of the same title, this piece was made from an altered children's board book and…