Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Third And Final Post On The Subject Of Using Old Things In Art

Boy I haven't made this many posts in one day ever. But I wanted to segregate the three subjects because even though they are part of a whole topic, I felt they deserved separate posts on the aspects of each. So this post is dedicated to using every day vintage and antique items in our works.

Recently I saw a piece on someones blog that had been made using some really nice vintage cardboard pieces. I was dismayed to see that they had used a hole punch to make holes in order to string them together with ribbon. Looking at this piece I could think of three other ways off the top of my head to achieve the piece and the look they were going for, while easily preserving the integrity of the items that had withstood the test of time that had been incorporated into it.

Over the years I have used many vintage items with the bears and other pieces. I really love old things, they have a story and history. If I am going to use an authentic old item, I don't want to destroy that history, I want to add to the story. So I rarely take anything apart. (The rosary mentioned in my previous post wasn't that old.)

If I do take something apart, I will only do so if it's already falling apart. I have taken quite a few hats apart for the decorations on them, because straw will rot, felt gets terribly moth eaten, etc. But if the hat is in good shape I will use the whole thing on the bear. Even so I try to attach the pieces in a way that doesn't alter what I salvaged. I am not a big fan of glue. I rarely use it on new things let alone something old, unless there is no other way, and I NEVER glue anything directly to mohair.

It's not that difficult to take something new and distress it to make it look old to fit the continuity of what you're creating. So frequently that's what I do. I also make sure that it's clearly labeled as such so that the person purchasing it doesn't think they are getting something genuinely old. In the case of Delilah's roses on her bow and collar...a friend was looking at her after I completed her and asked where I found those fabulous vintage velvet roses. I explained that they were not vintage, they were from the bridal section of the craft shop, and I simply employed the techniques I have figured out over the years to give them that appearance.
(I also want to note that when making something look old, worn or dirty that what I use to create that effect is not dirty or unsanitary in any way.)

When I create something, I feel when using old items, it's my responsibility as an artist to preserve things for future generations to enjoy just the way I enjoy them now. I know it might be hard to imagine that a lot of thought needs to be put into the creation of a teddy bear, but I put a great deal of thought into every piece I make. As an artist, I it's not in my nature to destroy.

There are no rules in art, it's all subjective and about what you, the artist are willing to do, and what the person who purchases it is comfortable buying. Whatever you choose to do, I just urge you to think it through for a moment before you do it. Now I am done with this subject and I will be moving on tomorrow to something a little lighter.

I hope everyone who took the time to read all three of these posts has a lovely day, and I want to thank you for taking the time to read them. Hugs, Kelly <3

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