Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Friends and Relations

African Cousins
I kind of forgot about these carvings that I had made in Malawi a couple or three years ago. What do you think? I'd actually really like to know, as I'm conducting some market research on behalf of my Malawian friend, who negotiated with the carvers and showed them Twelvemo. Please share if you like these!


Common Ancestors and Old Friends
This character below is one of the primary influences for the Twelvemo figures. This is an object in the wonderful Strangers' Hall Museum in Norwich (UK). 

I absolutely loved this figure when I was a child visiting Strangers Hall, but the strange thing is that I then forgot ALL about it. I had completely and utterly forgotten about it and was several years into the Twelvemo Project when I accompanied my daughter's primary school class on a visit one day and there it was! It was so astonishing to see this object that had been in the back of my mind all along, and to recognize it immediately like an old friend. 

So some time later (a couple of years maybe, I don't like to rush things) I got in touch with Norfolk Museums Service who took this out of storage (it is number NWHCM : 1969.495 in their catalogue) along with a couple of other strange, carved and articulated figures and allowed me to spend a couple of hours handling and taking photos in a quiet back room. What service! They weren't able to tell me much about the figures though, or how old they were, so if anyone can enlighten me I'd be delighted! I think they were artists' lay figures, for drawing from, but I'm not entirely sure. I'm fairly sure they were not playthings or dolls...

Doesn't she make Twelvemo look small? I can't help wondering whether I would have constructed Twelvemo differently if I had remembered this figure at the start of the process. She might have been larger for starters! I think there may have been quite a lot of  other differences too, so I'm glad I didn't go and research it earlier. It makes Twelvemo more original and more all mine too! 

This one was majestic really, in its size and weight. The suggestion of muscle mass carved into the wood is amazing. The joints are minimal but with a great range of movement, made of brass. I think they can all be tightened individually, if I remember rightly.

This one was less elegant but has pretty clever jointing and a rather cherubic face. Perhaps I should show these to the Malawian craftsmen too.  Their carving skills are pretty amazing but there is a little room for improvement with the jointing!
Had an email from the Chinese factory today (because I sent one inquiring).  Work is going well. He's expecting that I will take delivery at the end of July. That's a whole month! And two weeks longer than I was hoping/expecting. Ah well... he'd said 45 days from receipt of payments and I think I was counting all the weekends too. I suppose that's fair enough, but oh! I'm so impatient!
Must get on! I have done nothing else this evening yet apart from this (including taking some of the pictures!) and make supper. Oh, and chat to a friend on the phone. Sounding quite productive really but I have illustrations to make. Paid work! Should press on with that really. They will be images similar to the ones I did for More and Better Food a book for use in Sub-Saharan Africa, published by Strategies for Hope
There, that's neatly linked back up with the African theme at the start of this post! And I really HAVE to go!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Lost and Found

I found a couple of disks of images I though were lost, but the ones I hoped would be there are still nowhere to be found. Ah, well... Hope you like this one which was taken by a (former) colleague, Pete Sherwood, in 2009. I styled the image but he took the shot.

I want to print this one up really large , so Twelvemo is life size.  The 38 charms, collected since my childhood, would become gigantic pieces of lost archeological treasure! 

Still waiting patiently... It should be in mid July that I take delivery of my order., so it's not like it's late or anything. I sure hope that choosing a custom-mixed colour resin will be worth the bother, because that's the reason it's taking so long! If I didn't get that done I'd have had them by now.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Starting the Finishing

I couldn't resist trying out the antiquing finish on the figures and I'm pleased with how she's looking. This is still just the sample resin colour though, not the custom mixed Pantone colour that I've specified. They won't be so yellowish colored when I get the real thing.

The finish brings out the details of the face and hands nicely. Applying the finish, dirtying the figure down like this, isn't about pretending that the figure is a genuinely old artifact, but it does support the notion that she is, in a way, an ancient thing; she's simply a human and we've been around for a long time, relative to humanity of course. Humanity has been around since the beginning of history!


Playing around with the depth of field

Stands alone in some positions, even on one leg!

A couple of pictures so you can get a good sense of the scale of the figure

That's all folks! For the moment...

Only a few more weeks to go now. I must be patient. And I really ought to get on with something else, because I'm not going to want to do another project once they are delivered, am I!

All images  on this blog ©Sarah Beare 2012

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Every Little Helps!

I've just sold another piece of work! 

This piece is called Mermaid's Purse. It's a black box, 8 x 9 inches, with clear acrylic and a rectangular magnifying lens attached to the front. Hanging within it is an antique silver chain-mail purse and five dancing female figures 31 mm tall called Dolossies. 

Each of these silver darlings has one foot caught in the mesh. (Silver darlings is what some people in the East of England call the herrings that swim round here.) The purse was given to me by a very old friend of our family many years ago, so I am sorry to see it go, but I'm pretty sure she'll approve of this use of it.

The Dolossies can be purchased from my Etsy shop. 

Twelvemo Shop

Some of them have a ring in their hand so they can be worn as Jewelry, and they are lovely hanging on a slinky snake chain, either singly or as a small group.

Now that I've taken off the commission and paid for half my daughter's 16th birthday bike (she knows she's getting it) there's not quite so much left but it's still more than I had when I came home from work this evening, so I'm happy.

Thanks Luke Emery for inviting me to show.

This photo in the exhibition was printed so that the Bone Idol Twelvemo figure in it is human size. (I've wanted to do that for years.)  Someone asked me where I got the snake and when I described the tale of finding the it on holiday in France, they laughed. They'd thought it was a really large snake, not a tiny one a few inches long!

One more thing! The guy that bought the Mermaid's Purse, came round bearing a gift of some beautiful pieces of real fine snakeskin leather, dating from the 1930s. What a very nice little extra! 

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Going for broke (just a bit!)

Oh me, oh my! 
What have I gone done now? 
I've only gone and ordered 100 Twelvemo Figures, haven't I!
So I'm just the tiniest bit excited and the tiniest bit broke. For tiniest bit please read massive enormous amount!

I haven't taken any more photos of the factory sample though, as I've been too busy having massive enormous fun with lots lovely people in  Co. Wexford in S.E. Ireland! The occasion was the very first exhibition at the new Sweet Shop Gallery in Rosslare Strand, and I sold a piece of work at the private view which was an extra good start to my little holiday! 

This is the work that sold, called Dandelion Clock. It's an old clock and barometer housing from the 1920s, with a falling white Twelvemo figure in one side and a parchment rose, laser cut from three layers of high quality hand-made paper, in the other. Both the circles are glazed with magnifying glass lenses. 

So, that was rather pleasing. What I don't understand though, is that having taken this item out in my hand baggage  (it must have been taking up 75% of the space available) and left the work there, my bag was every bit as full and heavy when I packed to leave again! It's not as if I cought anything really while I was there, and a friend has brought my beach souvenirs (a few rocks) back in his car, so how come?

It's so sweet, it really is! And Serena is going get so fit serving up the sweeties (stretch and twist and lift and so on) proper old fashioned ones ones, while the grown-ups can look at the art work. 

Go visit the Sweet Shop Gallery's Facebook page and 'like' it if you like it, and visit it in real life if you really like it! 
The Sweet Shop Gallery (facebook)

Anyway, when my holiday got too exciting I went to sleep in a bed made up with silk filled duvets and pillows, imported from Thailand by my friend where I was staying. How luxury is that! I'd never heard of such a thing but they are really lovely to sleep in and very surprising prices! Surprising in a good way - I thought they'd be way more costly! Have a look if you fancy really pampering yourself. I will when I have sold enough Twelvemo Figures. And paid off the massive overdraft - that probably should come before silk bedding, to be honest.
The Silk Connection (website)