ABOUT HAPPY HOLIDAYS




Where all of the ideas come from

I design and construct one-of-a-kind sculptures and produce all the clothing and hats with vintage or antique fabrics, trims, and embellishments. I begin with a general design in mind, sometimes with a thumbnail sketch, but most of the time I see the finished work in my mind, and then build it allowing the sculptures to evolve as I work. I create props, such as fireworks or lanterns from scratch or adapt items from my collections. Available materials often decide the final outcome, an entire personality or sculpture developing from one item.

A glimpse at one part of my studio. 
I love holiday celebrations and the decorations that go along with them. My inspiration comes from my collections of vintage and antique holiday decorations, vintage fabric, antique laces, trims, and miniature props that I buy at the thrift stores or make to have on hand. Interior design and fashion, the paraphernalia of magic tricks, as well as the designs and graphics on fireworks are a great source of inspiration. Ideas for new characters and items drop into my brain continuously; the hard part is finding the time to make them.

Here is a close-up of my desk. This is what is called a glamour shot, it is sort of tidy. I usually work on several sculptures at a time consequently it is a horrendous mess when I am at work. 
My journey as an artist - from art school to now

I was born and raised in Victoria BC, Canada and have lived in Victoria for most of my life. I attended the Vancouver School of Art and have worked as an artist and designer for over 35 years.

In art school I produced mixed media sculptures and worked in set design and construction, receiving a scholarship at the end of the first year.

After leaving art school I pursued off-loom weaving and basketry techniques for sculptural forms. I received a Canada Council Explorations Grant to explore woven sculptural forms using the basketry and off loom weaving techniques and had a summer installation at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. Two pieces of my work were exhibited in the 1980, "International Miniature Textile Show", in London, England, Europe and North America. I also had work appear in “American Craft” magazine.

Me a few years ago painting Jack-O-Lantern heads and Black Cat heads for ornaments that I was producing.
Despite these successes, I felt frustrated with contemporary art. In 1985 I came across Margaret Schiffer's Book, "Holidays - Toys and Decorations", bought a copy and was amazed at the quality and detail in the German candy containers and toys. My immediate reaction was, “These are the items that I want to make!” I began to create sculptural toys and figures, candy containers, feather trees, pull toys, jack-o-lanterns, marottes and decorations inspired by the turn of the century holiday ornaments.

I bought several old hand turned spindles and used one for the handle of this extravagant party rattle.  This giant portrait rattle, Jack as the Autumn jester, is 22 1/2 inches from the base of the handle to the tip of the autumn leaves
About ten years ago, I realized why I had felt so frustrated creating contemporary sculptures using the basketry and off-loom weaving techniques, I was trying to be a serious contemporary artist but at the sacrifice of my sense of humour. I get bored very easily working in one medium; I need a variety of creative outlets. Working in paper, cloth, metal, composition, or whatever is required to complete a sculpture suits me perfectly.

I created this garden scene on our kitchen table to display five Spring shoe sculptures. The flowers and grass are fake but the marble is real.
I also produced props for parties, malls and shops. The prop making and the holiday inspired sculptures fueled one another giving me wonderful ideas. I love working on a very large scale for a large prop, as well as on meticulous detail for a small sculpture.

The 8 foot tall stork candy container, the wing lifted to reveal all of the small cabbage candy containers inside. The rest of the cabbage candy containers that didn't fit are at the base of the stork.
Over the years I have created props for private parties: an enormous caterpillar sitting on a five foot tall mushroom, nine foot crayons, an eight foot free standing stork candy container, filled with 6” cabbage candy containers intended as party favours for a baby shower, and for a local shopping mall, a family of four articulated pumpkin headed scarecrows, a mother, father, brother and sister, that hung from the high ceilings in the mall’s centre court. The parents were sixteen feet tall and the children were ten feet tall. This scarecrow family inspired my first Hallowe’en candy containers.

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