Friday, May 24, 2013

Life is getting back to normal.

I did not get to work in the studio during the last two weeks but we had a wonderful time with our daughter Melissa, husband Jon, and our grandson Ethan so who cares! 


I went off to Sally Ann and St. Vincent de Paul yesterday and found these goodies. The brass goblets from , from St. V de P, were on a brass tray. The tray was ugly so I gave it to back to them at the counter so that they could resell it and make more money off of it.

That brass handle, from St. V de P, is the handle to a candle snuffer, I liked the look of it. I figured that I could turn it into a lorgnette for a figure that will be in one of the fancy Italian frames that I have.

The bullion fringe, this time from Sally Ann, was on an ugly handmade pillow. I took the fringe off of the pillow and put the fabric in a bag to go back to Sally Ann.


This tureen was from Salvation Army for $3.00! I figured that I could use it to create display vignettes for some of the large frame portraits, we shall see. I love the shallow oval shape of it.


Whenever I come across the old made in Japan paper-mache cocktail coasters I buy them. They are sturdy but light weight and easy to attach stuff to. These separate items will be assembled into a cake stand, the beads will be the feet. I decided to use the most paint damaged coasters because I will be repainting the cake stand when it is finished.


This wooden clock case will be used in conjunction with the cake stand. That is all that I am going to say because I will not be using the case the way you might expect.


Remember this metal base that I showed you in this blog post, well I am in the process of turning it into a bed of sorts for the levitation illusion sculpture.


Heavy cardboard has been cut to size. Those metal tabs will be great for attaching everything securely in place.


Last but not least I have been working on a mobile for our Swiss grandson, Aaron Leon Bentham. I have to paint the stars, add the arms, and then put the accessories in their hands. The Man-in-the-Moon will be holding two separate mobiles to create the entire mobile. Each star will hold one or two props that will refer to a nursery rhyme or children's song.

I have had that yellow plastic umbrella shape for a very long time and finally used it to create the paper-mache umbrella, it took forever!

  Note to self: do not use tissue paper for this ever again!  

The handle will be cut once I attach it to the stars hand. I'll show you the mobile once it is completed.

Well, to the studio to get some work done.

Friday, May 17, 2013

More thrift shop finds, magic posters, and ideas for sculptures.

I was originally going to do a post about exotic costumes and Oriental magicians but I realized that there was more than that to show you.


I have a feeling that my fascination with exotic Oriental costumes and props may have started with this Chinese Checkers game. Yes, it is the same game that I had as a child albeit in a very tattered condition. This may be from the late 1950's but is more likely early 1960's, I couldn't find a date on the box.


This is the inside of the box. The man looks Chinese, at least a lot more Chinese than the young woman! From these graphics I went on to an interest in Chinese and Japanese art. My work now is probably more like the Chinese Checkers box, quasi Oriental, than what I had an avid fascination with in my early youth and art school days.


One of the ideas that I have had for a sculpture was of the famous levitating lady. This poster showing Kellar performing the levitation illusion is beautifully designed. I love the assistants costume.


I have had this metal base for a while now. I purchased it at one of my favourite shops "General Salvage". Check this post out to see what the place looks like.

I was going to make a chaise longue with it but after having it around for a while with no other idea than that, well let's say it didn't flip my switch. I much prefer turning it into a lounge for the lovely assistant to have been reclining on as she levitates above it.

I picked up that glass condiment jar a couple of days ago. I have another one they may have been mustard pots.


What more could you want; exotic arches with tiled walls, hanging lamps and censers, palm trees, exotically dressed courtesans, and Nubian attendants fanning the air. This is eye candy to the max and is seldom seen on the stage any more.


I picked up these faded curtain tiebacks last year at Sally Ann for under $5.00. They will be taken apart and used for costumes as well as for gathering mini curtains into ARTISTIC DRAPING! I thought I would get a little dramatic and use some flourish, I don't want this to be a list of the ideas and uses for the goodies! Have you ever felt that the exclamation mark is underused?


I did mention in a previous blog post that I will be making a flying carpet with one of the small carpets that I purchased from Salvation Army. Here is a better look at three of the items that will be on the carpet. I will be using the wooden salt cellar with the three rows of holes, the ceramic urn, and the silver and blue glass salt shaker.

I almost didn't buy those wooden salt and pepper shakers because at about 5" they are quite tall for my sculptures. The silver and blue glass pieces were missing the rest of the set so they were inexpensive. I like the tarnished look of old silver.


Exotic textiles, cushions, and costumes; I hope to capture this in the Grand Illusions presented by The Man-in-the-Moon Productions. Several years ago The Man-in-the-Moon Productions presented "Princess Rosamund and the Attack of the Pie Zombies" to much acclaim and enthusiastic cheers, hoots, and applause from the citizens of Jollity Village.



In this sculpture "Decorating for the Costume Ball" Chuck is wearing a brown Japanese kimono of hand dyed silk under his colourful fringed robe. They are each carrying a handmade Japanese style paper lantern. I am not sure why but it was appropriate for Chuck to be wearing an Oriental inspired costume.


Even though The Great Leon Herrmann does look out of place in these exotic robes it is quite wonderful. I would have loved to seen the show.


I buy 1940's men's scarves whenever I can find them, sadly they are getting scarcer as the years pass. The designs range from plaids and stripes to paisleys and anything in between.

I pick up interesting beads, necklaces, and bracelets whenever I find them, who knows how I will use them. These four beads were part of two candle holders.


I love that colour of green on the ceramic urn, there is even a small chip in the lip that happened who knows when but the patina speaks of a bit of history.

The two footed items may be used for footstools or the base for an illusion. Farther down is a better picture of the pewter base, the design on it is an interesting zigzag Art Deco pattern.

A set of four linked brass rings will be used in a version of the Chinese Linking Rings. The other rings are hollow brass coloured bracelets, maybe two used as a pair of giant spectacles or they may be passed over  a floating object to prove that no strings are used, I'm not certain yet.


The discovery of King Tut's tomb inspired the costuming, sets, and props for this illusion. I like that incense burner standing beside Thurston.


Last year in December I picked up an interesting lampshade with glass bead fringe, most of the bead fringe used on lamps now is plastic. I stripped the shade of its glass bead fringe and damaged fabric covering. The shades wire frame is being covered with beads and will be a gift for our middle son and his wife. The glass bead fringe I will use for curtains or costumes.


There is much history around this particular illusion. There are stage productions featuring this illusion but from what I can understand is that it has never been performed outside as was first related by a traveller to India several centuries ago.

The illusion starts with the magician and a young boy assistant coming on stage. The rope is tossed into the air becoming rigid. The young boy climbs the rope and disappears. There is a sound of fighting and the boys limbs and torso are tossed down from where the boy disappeared. The magician places them in the basket and then the young assistant steps out of the basket restored whole. Needless to say my version of the Indian Rope Trick will end with the lad on the rope as in the poster above.


Here is a side view of that pewter base that I showed you earlier, it is quite interesting. The angular design is very Art Deco, it could be from the 1920's or early 1930's. I have it propped up on some sealing wax that is from the 1940's. I use the ceiling wax to seal small bottles of "chemicals"; coloured sand works beautifully for this.

The four metal napkin rings will be used at the top and bottom ends of cylinders for producing silk handkerchiefs, flowers, or even a beautiful assistant.
All of the antique posters that are in this post were featured along with many others in these four blog posts:





If you haven't checked out my Etsy shop please do have a look. I will be adding more items in the near future.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

more thrift shop goodies

Several days ago I photographed a bunch of Sally Ann treasures that I had picked up over time. I had quite a few images so I decided break the images into three groups. This is the second group of goodies. These three blog posts are by no means showing all of the stuff I have gathered but some of the items that are nudging my creative juices at the moment.


You no doubt have seen from previous posts seen that I like brassy golden metals with some patina on them. I picked up the three tiered picture frame about a month ago and then immediately set to taking it apart. Each frame is about 3" high with convex glass. Most likely I won't be using the glass. I kept the fabric covered cardboard for possible use later.

I love the vintage Italian picture frames and buy them whenever I find them unless they are overpriced that is. There were three 5 1/2" picture frames at Saint Vincent de Paul last week They were asking $8.00 each for them, I declined telling them that I buy them for half that price elsewhere. The cashier said that they go online to see what they are selling for and then price them. I am sure that someone bought them for their inflated price.

The large necklace/bracelet thingy I am going to take apart. It is made from small hemispheres of metal. I thought that I could sew them on to a background cloth with a seed bead in the centre to hold the metal piece on to the cloth. They will also work for visual texture if I decide to make an elaborate bead tassel.


The three rings are perfect for a small figure performing "The Chinese Linking Rings". The magician shows 5 or 8 single rings that link and unlink at the magician's will. This figure will perform with 3 rings!

The tiny pen knife is about 1 1/8" long. I have had it for quite a while and have not used it; there will be the perfect sculpture to use it with one day.

The bracelet was in the preceding picture but this is a much better look at it. The colour is perfect for a watch chain or to use for a necklace, belt or turban accent on an Oriental figure. The chain drapes beautifully.


The tiny broom is not for use with a figure but as an instruction guide on how to make a small broom of this style. It was bought many years ago and I have never seen another.

The bracelet was bought several months ago and has some wonderful exotic "Jewels" for an Oriental maiden or magician's assistant. Hmmmm... more brassy gold, I do love that colour.

I bought the vintage striped silk scarf last week, it is perfect for Hallowe'en costumes.


These two wood picture frames were bought last year. I don't buy wooden picture frames too often because the scale and detail just don't look right. These two frames I thought would be good for snowmen portraits. I love doing 3D portraits with the figure popping out of the frame towards the viewer. When I was photographing these the other day I noticed that there is gold paint under the creme paint. I may just leave them in the slightly battered condition, we shall see.

I am getting more images ready for my Etsy shop and should have them up next week.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

I have been collecting bits and pieces to replicate antique magic props.

I love stage magic. When I was a young teenager I took lessons with a local magician from the Victoria Magic Circle. I didn't last to long at it but I did realize that what I liked was the magic apparatus, costumes, and stage sets. It is interesting that the things I liked as a child and young teen are becoming the areas that I am looking to for inspiration.

This early poster shows the set for one of Frederick Bancroft's performances. The early magic apparatus was much more elaborate and exotic than the magic of today. It was a simpler time, I am not certain that this style of stage magic would be popular with todays technology savvy audience.

The magician is producing ribbons, flowers, playing cards, owls, a rabbit, as well as a beautiful assistant from the elaborate brass bowl on the stand.

During the last couple of years I have been collecting things to be used for my magic themed sculptures. These two brass items I believe were once used as parts to elaborate lamps. They will make perfect table bases for the magicians tables.

I love the elaborate table bases and magic props that Prof. Bollini, the Italian magician used for his stage show. There is a hint to the scientific with that large sphere on the left of the picture.

I have collected quite a few brass pieces as well as the occasional pewter item such as the candlestick holder on the left close to the back of the picture. Those brass covered pot metal feet will be used as the base for the lamp shade that I showed you at the end of this post.

A pan overflowing with roses, a large flowering potted shrub, a rabbit, a chafing dish that has produced two live doves, and a bowl of goldfish have all been magically produced from the suitcase at the magicians feet.

This double sided portrait rattle was my first magic related piece that I produced, it is in my personal collection. The first side is titled "The Amazing Levitating Lantern" and the reverse side is called "The Man-in-the-Moon Loves Magic Tricks".

I would loved to have seen the magic shows presented at "The Egyptian Hall" in London, it is long gone. It was a theatre owned by the magicians Maskelyne and Devant.

This cloisonné napkin ring has two great dragon images on it. I have made a cardboard insert to create a cylinder to produce silk handkerchiefs. The brass bowl in the back may have a large production of flowers produced in it, I'm not certain. The small cashbox was going to be used in my shadow box sculpture "The Magic Shop" shown at the end of this post but it was a little too large and just didn't look right. 

Draped velvet curtains held back with cords and tassels, heavy bullion fringe edging the curtains, and cherubs standing on claw footed bases holding elaborate trays above their heads to create a table all typify the elaborately elegant evening shows held in the theatres of the Victorian and Edwardian eras.


Brass rings to be used with a figure doing a trick known as "The Chinese Linking Rings". The brass footed tray will be turned into an exotic stool. I am not certain what the green vase will be used for but I love the exotic look of it.


My shadow box sculpture "The Magic Shop" was inspired by the early businesses that catered to magicians offering them the latest tricks available.

I remember as a young teen going into "The Trick and Joke Shop" on Fort Street in Victoria with my mum, dad, and brother. The interior wasn't as elaborate as this by any means, seedy would probably best describe it as the fellow behind the counter showed us crude "joke" items to begin with and then changed his sales direction. Needless to say my mum left the shop. I much prefer my shop that only caters to magicians.

All of the antique posters that are in this post were featured along with many others in these four blog posts:





If you haven't checked out my Etsy shop please do have a look. I will be adding more items in the near future. Our daughter, her husband, and their little boy are visiting us from Toronto for a while so it won't be as soon as I had hoped but personally I don't mind and I know that you understand as well!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

I haven't deserted my blog!

Just to let everyone know that I am NOT missing in action yet again. I have been working on a few blog posts as well as getting our house and yard tidy. Actually it has been more getting everything ready for company and a little bit of working on the blog posts. Our daughter Melissa, her husband Jon, and their little boy Ethan, our grandson, arrived today from Toronto. I will get those posts done but possibly a little slower than anticipated. Thanks everyone, have fun whatever you are doing.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Church of the Advent Garage Sale

I went to the Church of the Advent garage sale today. I had a good look around and did not see a thing that I would be able use for future sculptures, that was a sad moment.

I was talking to an old friend who was selling the picture frames and happened to look down and saw more boxes of frames under the table. Usually there are only empty boxes under the tables but not this time.


This was the first frame that I pulled out. I almost didn't buy it but thought that maybe I should, in other words I would be crazy not to buy it!


A 1933, the date has been written on the back, Art Deco inspired frame was the next one in the box.


The frame on the left I think may be leather. It is about 4" high. The metal picture frame with the Chinese dragons on it is slightly smaller. The backing papers inside the frames are quite beautiful as well so they may be used in some way, I'm not certain.


I saw these metal beads earlier but dismissed them. They are just over a 1 1/2" in diameter, they may get used as exotic lanterns.


When I saw the metal frame with the dragons on it I immediately thought of this 2' square embroidery that I bought last year at a Salvation Army store up island. The dragon is hand embroidered with metallic gold thread onto black silk. I was blown away when I found it for two reasons, it was so beautiful and it was $2.99! I have been thinking about using the embroidery as a stage backdrop for an Oriental magician and that frame works splendidly it.

Have a look in my Etsy shop to see some of the vintage and antique items that I have incorporated into my sculptures.
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