Friday, July 30, 2010

Getting Lost in the Past

My Grandpa and Snub Pollard
I've been working on scanning a photo album that belonged to my great-grandmother.  This album includes some family photos, but not in the traditional sense.  You see, my grandpa was a child actor in the era of silent films.  A lot of these photos are about 86 years old and some even older.  Mixed with these incredible photos are newspaper clippings, tickets, and various other ephemera of the day. It's really easy to get lost in the pictures.

Aunt Fifi

This is one of my favorite pictures, my Great Aunt eyeing actress Constance Binney, sizing her up.
Conrad Nagel, Eleanor Boardman, Grandpa starring in "So This is Marriage"

An interesting thing I found is that my Grandpa's own pet kitten was in the movie too. They paid it $3 a day.  That's pretty good money for a cat to earn back then!

Well, I have LOTS more to scan still so I'd better go. I still need to scan the Harold Lloyd pictures!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

New Glass Gem Magnets!

I've been working on some new ideas involving my photos, paintings, collages and glass.  I have a large number of glass gems from various projects so I've been experimenting with making them into pendants and magnets.  So far the results are quite promising! I realize this isn't a totally new idea, but since the pictures in this case are my own photos, paintings, and collages, it gives it some originality (at least I think so, lol ).   I love the magnifying effect of the glass droplets. For those who have never made these fun little things, here is a quick tutorial:
Glass Gem Magnet Tutorial
Supplies Needed

Clear (without iridescence allows the picture to show through) Glass Floral Gems
Desired images, scrapbook paper works great!
Mod Podge or other gel sealer
round magnets, not larger than the size of the gems
scissors or round paper punch equal to the bottom size of the gems
two part epoxy glue
  1. Wash and dry gems well, inspect for defects
  2. cut images from the desired source
  3. apply a small coat of mod podge to the flat side of the gems and then glue the paper circles face down onto the glass gems
  4. trim any excess paper once the mod podge has set.
  5. apply several more coats of mod podge to the underside of the paper and allow to dry
  6. mix the two part epoxy ( I used loctite) according to package instructions
  7. apply epoxy to magnet and stick magnet to the paper side of the glass gem
  8. allow epoxy to harden, polish front side of new magnet
This is a greatly simplified tutorial, but you get the idea.  You can have a lot of fun using tissue paper layers, creating tiny collages under the glass. I like to use the "contact sheet" option when printing out photos or artwork because it's just about the right size.  I have plans to try this with glass tiles and would use about the same basic directions.  Also, using Mod Podge, you can make a gel transfer to the glass, creating a translucent image. It's how I made this:

I have some other artwork/glass projects up and coming.  A lot of my creations involve a necessity and right now I'm in the middle of redecorating two rooms and desperately wanted some interesting artwork, so that will be the inspiration for some lamps I am planning to make.  Hoping to get the supplies today and see if I can put them together!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Great New Thrifty Finds

Another good trip to the Goodwill! Adding to my little treasures from last week are two aqua glass insulators.   I don't think I'll be crafting with them because from my research so far they are as old as the early 1900s. One even has an original wooden pin inside.  I looked at them, and thought, I know those are very old and might be valuable, but for the life of me I can't remember what they are.  They were used on telegraph poles like this:
I've learned that what I have are  Brookfield glass insulators.  The the aqua color seems to have been very popular during the 1880s, but since mine are just marked B, I'm thinking maybe mine are more likely more recent (if you can call the 1920s recent!). Brookfield stopped making glass insulators in 1921.  I like the idea of having a row of them in a window shelf so the light shines through so I will be on the look out for these lovely little pieces every time I'm on the hunt now.
For more information about collecting glass insulators there are several books. They go from very cheap (I paid $1.99 each for mine) to crazy expensive (purple ones can go for about $80 or more). 

A Guide for Insulator Collectors: With Prices

Now I am off to sculpt a new idea that has been bouncing around in my head!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Good Will Hunting 1

          I've had my creative energies leaping in very different direction so I'm having trouble getting any project completed.   It's like the case of the shoemaker who has barefoot children.  I create and sell art, yet my home hardly has any of my work displayed.  So I'm trying to change that and hoping along the way to get inspired in new directions.  Today I got to do something I just LOVE.  I really enjoy thrift shopping.  In my area, it's hard to find diamonds in the rough, but I still find them.  Today I really scoured the books (in my area books seem to be incredibly under valued), wanting mainly ones that I can deconstruct for collage but also looking for old editions.  Was ecstatic to find a 1938 edition (the year it was first written) of "Rebecca" by Daphne Du Maurier, for $1.99. I'm pretty sure it's one of the first U.S. editions. I searched online and had trouble finding pictures of the same book to compare.  I love the story, so I guess the big thrill is getting something possibly that valuable.  I also found a very old copy of  "Black Beauty" by Anna Sewell, but it's very unlikely to be a first edition although there was no date inside. 

        I also found :
6 glass jars with glass lids. ( I've been watching for a decent number of them so that I can make a set of  Sun Jars .  ) $1.99 each

Warren Kimble Chick and Egg Salt and Pepper Shaker for $1.99 in Box Henny & Penny

Book of postcards of Gustav Klimt Paintings $1.99

So all in all it was a fruitful afternoon of scavenging!