Friday, April 11, 2014

Found Object Friday with Guest Artist Shary Bartlett

Found Object Fridays: We artists love our collections don't we? Even as a child I remember foraging through flea markets and looking for special trinkets that caught my eye. Going for walks, to this day I find myself scanning the ground looking for interesting bits of metal or unique rocks to add to my collections. Long before I knew what I would be doing with them, I collected objects that pulled on something inside of me. As an artist I was thrilled to find there are others who love and collect little oddities and curiosities too. 

Over the course of ten Fridays I am honored to introduce ten different guest artists who will share some of the objects they love. You may recognize some of these names, while others may be new to you, each one is somebody whose style I admire. Check out the photos of their found object-and in a virtual show and tell, read about how it caught their attention and what they plan to do with it. Then check out their bios and links to learn more about each artist. . .
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I was first introduced to Shary through mutual friend and artist, Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch, when Trish invited Shary to join the team of EncaustiCamp instructors. To be totally honest with you, I was intimidated to meet Shary after viewing her beautiful work on her website. Shary kindly offered to pick me up from the airport as she drove down from Canada and I was delighted to find her to be an outgoing, fun and down to earth artist with a lyrical voice and distinct Canadian accent. I can't wait to connect with her at EncaustiCamp again this July!
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As a mixed media artist and teacher, I am lucky to live in Vancouver, Canada, where we have a delightful store called Urban Source that collects “alternative art materials” (what others might call “junk”) from local industries.  


Urban Source - Vancouver
This found object paradise diverts safe, useable samples, discards, off-cut paper and over-stock into the hands of designers, teachers, parents, children and creative people like us. For about $7.00, one can fill a paper bag full of artistic opportunity: overstock tile sample, fabric swatches, sheet music, tubing, Plexiglas, buttons, shiny bling…you name it! Every time I visit it’s a new store offering something different.  And the local industries are happy, as Urban Source hauls away their unwanted goodies, thereby reducing land fill and disposal costs.  It’s Win, Win, and the world becomes more beautiful with art! I understand several cities in Canada and the US have stores like this one.Once at Urban Source I found a container of floor sweepings: curlicue wooden cuttings leftover from laser-cut lettering.  


Shary Bartlett, Found Objects
The laser process had lent them a delicious smoky wood smell -- like a campfire.  I was struck by their recognizable - but illegible – calligraphic form.  Placed side by side, I thought, these might appear to be a secret language no one could read!  Images and possibilities blossomed in my mind; I love to write poetry and adore the addition of text in artwork but am always looking for unique ways to  integrate the two, as this look has become commonplace over the years.  I scooped a few of those into my paper bag -- You bet! At first, I glued them to fabric and painted text-like shapes around them.  I liked that.  


Shary Bartlett, Found Object Friday

Then, I included them on a collage painting.  Didn’t like that so much.  


Shary Bartlett, Found Object Friday
Then I became curious about their similarity in shape to Hebrew and Arabic lettering, so…I admit to getting a wee bit diverted on the internet, researching early forms of writing.  I learned that the two languages share the same early alphabet and both read from the right side of the page.  That’s one thing I love about art – it’s endlessly educational and knowledge deepens the meaning of the resulting artwork.  But finally, the sweet-bee scent of my encaustic wax began flirting with those smoky “letters” and drew me away from the screen and back to the studio!  I decided to string the shapes together to form mysterious sentences that might communicate with, but speak a different meaning to, each viewer.  I lay the letters across the wooden substrate starting from the right.  This took a few tries and “mistakes” as I developed the technical skill involved in affixing the characters so they would stay in place.  


Shary Bartlett, Found Object Friday
I finally mastered the process, but decided the text was too busy, so turned back to an earlier “mistake” on which I had practiced with the addition of beeswax and successfully affixed only one row of letters.  I scraped into the wax, laying down an illegible poem filled with personal meaning, then inlaid oil paint into the crevices and wiped it out.  And voila as we say in Canada, a host of new painting possibilities began filling my imagination!


Shary Bartlett, Found Object Friday
Shary Bartlett is an artist and Fine Arts instructor at Capilano University and Langara College in Vancouver, Canada. She has taught art in the United States and Bali.  Her mixed media body of work includes encaustic, collage, acrylic, fibre arts, altered photographic prints and sculptural assemblage.  Find her on Facebook, Pinterest and her website:  www.sharybartlett.com.   

5 comments:

  1. Serendipity at it's best! Looking forward to catching up with you both in July!

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    1. Likewise Susan! Thanks for stopping by the blog!

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  2. This was a great posting, Crystal. I dream about finding such a store! I wish she would say where the US locations are....as if we Need more in our stash;) Laura

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    1. I don't think this is a chain store, but I do know there are many stores with a similar focus throughout the country. There is one near my mom where artists can drop off their unused supplies as well. Can you imagine having THAT within driving distance?!

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  3. what fun pieces, and sounds like a delïghtful store! Our thrift shops sometimes have art or craft odds and ends, I try to remember to look!

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