Saturday, March 28, 2009

lending a hand

I can't help but be mesmerized by the fluid, graceful, nearly mime-like movements of this raccoon's paw as he searches around for food pieces.

The word "raccoon" comes from Native American words meaning "he who scratches with his hands".  Their nimble fingers are so incredibly sensitive that they use them as a second pair of eyes to "see" whatever they feel when they probe around in the dark, or under water.  Even nearly-freezing creek water does not dull the sensitivity, and they can "see" crayfish and other food by feeling around in the coldest water.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Shelf Life

Following suit to my blog partner's lead, here is a small sampling of some of my collections.


I recently purchased this hutch from a thrift store for what must have been 1/10 of the original price.  It has made a perfect showcase for my previously cluttered curiosities.

A  few of my Lenins , a lovingly dried snake that was found by my father and  some random antique bottles, some found, some given.   And a resin fingertip cast.

Last year's yield of cicada molts. I think I could have collected several hundred more had I started earlier.

These are only replicas that I have distressed for Halloween display purposes. I'm still on the fence about acquiring an authentic human skull, if the opportunity arises though....

The next installment will showcase my collection of taxidermy and critter skulls...

collecting dust

Chris and I were talking the other day about ideas for different types of blog posts here on DF. One idea we had was to post a few more little things about us, because we like to think of ourselves as interesting, well-read, aesthetically adept individuals who have some neat things to share with the internet world at large. So we thought it would be fun to post about our personal collections of certain objects, which we, being treasure-hoarding artist-types, seem to acquire a large wealth of. So here are three of mine:

Very old, well-loved stuffed animal toys. Clean museum-quality specimens need not apply. I like them dirty, with the mohair pulled off in spots, filled stiffly with straw or sawdust, and roughly charming. The bunny pictured is so old and faded you can't even tell he used to be blue, and his one glass eye being lower than the other is the result of a home repair. The lamb and his rusted little bell are so endearing, and that bear kinda, sorta does something when you turn the crank. I just realized I forgot to put my straw-stuffed rocking horse in the picture. Sorry horse!

They're sitting on a rusted and tattered old doll stroller...because I also have amassed a nice little collection of toy accoutrements for them.

#2 Antique medical, pharmaceutical, and science bottles. My collection spans the early 1900s to the 1950s, and includes some lovely gilded "under glass" labeled bottles (one is for Spirit of Ether), as well as some lovely hand-written science chemical labels, and a series of crazy old dental medications, such as Arsenic Discs and Silver Nitrate. There are still Arsenic disks in the bottle...supposedly they also contained Asbestos, Opium, and Cocaine, according to the label.

#3 Human Teeth. The molars in the foreground as well as the baby teeth in the vials are real. The antique Nuform tray and mason jar hold a bevy of porcelain teeth for denture-making. The ones in the jar are frequently put into my artwork, but the others will not be removed, save for the molars which have been cast into silicone molds to become an army of resin teeth.

Donations are welcome.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Lead by designer Derrick R. Cruz, a group of artists in New York has collaborated on a project called "A New Hive" to raise awareness and funds for the plight of the very important, yet often forgotten, honeybee.  The global impact of Colony Collapse Disorder is affecting bee populations at an alarming rate, raising much concern over not only the future of these populations, but the plants they pollinate, and the ecosystems that are affected by their decline.

A show was set up at Earnest Sewn, and featured a dark, anachronistic display loaded with natural objects, symbolism, and about 200 pounds of honey. 

The proceeds from the art sold, as well as donations to the project go to support honeybee research, education, and development of sustainable beekeeping practices.  For more information about Colony Collapse Disorder, click here or here.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

from the pages of...

The detailed, illustrative work of Italian artist Ericailcane brings to mind images from a forgotten Victorian storybook. Fussy, proper, macabre, and just not quite innocent enough to be for a child.

In addition to etchings, drawings, and installations, he has worked on a number of video projects, as can be seen here on his website.