May 2019

Here we are approaching the mid point of the year – June… in Florida of course that means hurricane season too, oh … how I dread hurricane season. I guess no explanation is needed.

Summers in Florida are my hibernation time, like living up north in the winter most people avoid the outdoors due to the cold weather, well in Florida, at least for me, I avoid going outside due to the heat and the sun. When I was younger I absolutely loved sunbathing and going to the beach, no matter how sunny and hot it was during the day. I would spend hours at the beach in my beach chair with my book in hand and my feet at the edge of the water – oh for me that was the best, love that feeling of the sun on my skin and still do except now that I am older I have to avoid the sun. Ugh – why is everything that feels so good so bad for you, I hardly ever go to the beach these days….

So now I spend more time indoors and that means in my studio. Which of course I also love to do. I have been working on a few pieces but especially one in particular – St. Francis of Assisi. I took an icon writing or painting class a few years ago and fell in love with icons. This piece however is a gourd sculpture that is icon like, and incorporates fabric to soften the hardness of the gourd. I basically used two gourds, one for the body, similar to the structure of a stump doll and a smaller gourd that was used for the head. I sculpted his face on the smaller gourd using paper clay and paper mache. The armature for the arms were gourd pieces. The feet were also sculpted with paper clay. The gourd structure was painted with acrylic paints.

The main part of the armature sat on my table for at least two years, maybe a little longer. Sometimes I start a piece and come to a point where I just can not make a decision and until I decide how to proceed it just sits there. When I finally decided to complete the sculpture by adding fabric, I proceeded. I took an online class, at A for Artistic to learn how to create a pattern using paper towels, creating a muslin from the pattern and doing a “sew out” to create the final fabric sections. The class was wonderful and just what I needed to get me going on this piece. I decided St. Francis should have with him the blue birds of happiness ! So I sculpted all the little blue birds from polymer clay and painted them. The bowl St. Francis is holding is made from a gourd and the bird seed is secured with resin.

All in all this was a fun piece to create but very time consuming

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