Working with shrink art this month has been quite a learning curve. I remember making shrinky dinks when I was a little kid- but I'm 38 now so that was a long time ago. I watched a few tutorials on-line and jumped right in practicing on recycled plastic with my fashion camp kids. I would not say that I have mastered the material; however I have definitely improved and practiced.
A few things that I have noticed while working with this new (to me) material that I want to share in case anyone out there is also interested in playing around with shrink art.
(BTW- CLICK HERE to go directly to my series if you don't feel like searching 'round the ol' web site)
If you opt for the heat gun- VENTILATE! (ventilate in general...but especially with the heat gun)
I also ordered some sanded plastic sheets...and I have mixed reviews. I like the way the Sharpie colors looked on the frosted surface, seemed even brighter. And because one side was sanded, I could use Prismacolor colored pencils on top of the Sharpie for a little more color depth. But once baked the surface was pretty grainy on the sanded side- not too bad if you flip the piece to the back, though. Baking the sanded plastic was fine, no real issues.
Going forward, if I create more shrink art pieces I will work with clear or sanded- or heck, maybe just the recycled plastic!
I enjoyed drawing the pieces more than the actual baking process, to tell you the truth. I mean, the first batch or two I was like, 'oooooh, ahhhhh'. But after that- kinda felt like a chore. Keep in mind I don't like to even cook food (I prefer cleaning to cooking) so that might be part of it. I was always happy with just the pieces pre-bake...then stressed during the baking/shrinking process...and then many times a little frustrated after it was all said and done. I re-did almost my entire first week of work because I was so shocked by how much the pieces actually shrank...and after that I just tried my best to 'fix' any issues as they happened- hence my chopstick and spatula method for trying to jump in an help guide the shrinking process. I didn't catch it a few times; there were some pieces that started to fold onto themselves in the convection oven. I thought about re-doing them...then just decided to let it be...and to let it be a part of the learning process.
Am I am master shrink artist? '_______________ (insert curse word of your choice) NO!' Will I keep making shrink art? Yeah, probably. Mainly for small jewelry pieces.
And that brings me to this-how do I display them? I decided early on NOT to punch holes in my daily works, I was adamant that I did NOT want them to become pendants, etc. I wanted them to be small works of art. In my mind I think I was thinking of some type of clear Plexiglas display, so that the light could shine through. But then the issue is still how to attach them even if I find the frame that I want. I know that I can always attach a hanger/wire with some clear glue...so it is still an option. And then a tiny voice offered up another idea.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY FAIRY GLAM-MOTHER, IRIS APFEL!!
Through art, I have made some connections with some amazing folks.
Two of those people, Kianga Jinaki and Joyce Brown, got together to curate a show dedicated to addressing gun violence in the form of healing art. I have known these ladies for a little while now- both through Clay Glass Metal Stone Gallery. Joyce runs the gallery and also the Flamingo Clay Studio and Kianga was an artist in the gallery co-op when I first met her. Both ladies extended kindness to me before they even really knew me.
Kianga and I kinda met over a carload of textile treasures that she contacted me to come and pick up, smiling and saying, 'oh, there's plenty more!' I have visited Kianga's home. We have hugged tight at art events, each cheering each other on as women, artists and teachers. We joke that we are 'fiber sisters'...but we really are connected by the cloth.
My colleague, Brent, introduced me to Joyce during our teacher workdays when I first started. Joyce immediately expressed wanting to work with my students at LWHS, to work together to provide materials and experiences to them through grants......and she came through with the supplies and experiences for my students. I have been by her side for grant meetings, and she even opened up her gallery for Brent and I to show work two years in a row. She is tiny in stature, but her love for art and community are larger than life.
So when they said they were doing this show- it was a no brainer that I would submit work. And I did.
My art friend JaFleu, also a prolific artist and participant in the show, asked me for a statement regarding the following question,
"Why do you feel it was important to take part of this exhibition, and what do you as an artist hope to do to make the world better?"
Here is my answer;
As an artist and an educator, it was important for me to participate in this show because I feel that each life lost to senseless gun violence is a possibility for good in this world, untapped potential that the world will never see. Regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, uniformed or civilian- I stand on the side of love. My works express the duality of feelings that I have on the issue of gun violence, that of sadness and also the wish to lift up the memory of those that have passed by being a positive force in this world.
...Haven't posted final pics...but here is everything so far...still figuring it all out, this is a pretty big learning curve for me, and I am enjoying it! -JLG
For the record...I am ALWAYS feelin' inspired by Frida...but sometimes more than others...like my whole month of Frida-love during August 2014. Below is my daily piece from August 18, 2014...click here for mas Frida!!
...just a gal trying to get this art out of my soul to share with the world on a DAILY basis...no big deal...check out my ramblings!-JLG