I’ve been heavily influenced by Laurie Mika’s work, and I love her icon faces, even though I don’t much like using other people’s art in my work. So I decided to sculpt a face out of paperclay. I used a wire frame molded over with aluminum foil to reduce the amount of paperclay I had to use. My daughter let me use some of her good paperclay, which has a texture like porcelain and dries virtually without cracks. When it was dried, I painted it over just enough that it didn’t look too weird.
I’d made the red background frame while I was making a big batch of shrine blanks. They take some time, so as with a lot of my art, I make a lot of one kind of thing and then store it for later. The same was true of the mushrooms, which I’d made out of paperclay for a different project, and the polymer clay heart, which I’d made from a mold I created off of some buttons. I’d also pre-made the metallic strips of polymer clay edging for the “snacks for a long journey” shrine. I doctored these up to make them more interesting, painting them with black acrylic, but the rolling and stamping and baking I’d done years ago.
I had bought the wooden spoons years ago at an Asian market in San Diego with the idea that I’d do a series of spoons painted and wood-burned and whatnot in different media. I did the gesso-piped skeleton hand on one side (using a syringe) and the other side I sketched with pencil, mostly to prove that I could still draw.
The black spine cavity frame was cardboard/paper pulp packing from something I or someone else bought. I can’t even remember what it was. Printer cartridge? It did a pretty good job of holding the acupuncture needles in place. You can barely see them here, but they managed to not get damaged when I took this, along with my other shines, to Westercon this summer.
A friend looked at this and said something to the effect of “What’s going on here? What does this mean?” I choose not to answer that. I was thinking about a lot of things when I made it, but if the things I was thinking about were easy to put in words, I would have written the words. I’d rather it mean whatever it needs to mean to whomever looks at it.