Thursday, August 25, 2011

Meet Lucille

by Leslie Brier, Brier Design Studio

I worked in a bridal shop for several years during college. It was a really fun job, and very much like what you see on the reality show "Say Yes to the Dress". There happened to be a marathon on the afternoon that I was putting the finishing touches on Lucille, and that is probably how she evolved into the bride of Alvin.That, and the fact that Alvin fell in love with her salt-and-pepper shaker eyes.
She has lots of lace and tiny buttons at her neck. And a wee tiny lace circle on top of her head, in between her gears.
The new trend in wedding fashion is to wear a bejeweled belt at the waist. Lucille's belt is a little more utilitarian. Like me, she sometimes needs a compass to point out where her waist used to be!
This is the back view. This is the view all of her robot friends will see as she is married to her beloved. Alvin and Lucille are currently being shown at the PonShop Studio. If you want to learn to make your own, I will be teaching an altered robot assemblage class at Art and Soul in Virginia Beach in March.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Remembering Merlot

To look at this beautiful photo, you wouldn’t think that this post has a sad ending, but it does. Last Tuesday my parfait dyeing day with the Virginia Artists group also turned out to be Merlot’s last day. Her dying day. And the two will be forever mixed in my mind.

My five-year-old cavalier was recently diagnosed with intestinal lymphangectasia. She had a series of IV treatments to raise her protein levels, a change in diet and was put on three medications. She was doing great, until Tuesday morning, when we woke up to find her having a hard time breathing. My daughter and I rushed her to the vet, and they started her on oxygen therapy, got an iv started, did a chest x-ray and called the critical care hospital in Richnmond who advised us to keep her where she was. We were relieved that she didn’t need surgery, and the vet took us back to see her in her little oxygen cage, and show us that she was breathing much more comfortably in there. The vet opened the door so we could say goodbye, and I gave her a quick kiss on the head so that the door could be shut again to make certain the oxygen levels didn’t go too low.

At that point, my daughter and I were worried about her, but we felt like she was going to be okay. It was a relief for us to be with our art friends that afternoon. We used a technique called parfait dyeing to add color to t-shirts, old linens and doilies. We stuffed them into jars, and added several different colors of dye. The dye layers stay separate from each other inside the jar. I brought them home and left outside to warm in the sun.

At 7:00 the veterinanrian called to say there was no change, and that they were leaving for the evening. At 8:00 she called back. She told me that “this was a call she didn’t want to have to make” and how sorry she was. 
Our vet had gone into town to do some errands, and something told her to go back and check on Merlot. When she got there Merlot had arrested. A quick sonogram showed a tiny bit of electrical activity. She said she worked on her for fifteen minutes but couldn’t get her back.

We are absolutely devastated at the loss. Merlot was our first family dog, and my constant companion. She loved paper ephemera as much as I did, although she preferred to eat it, and led me on many merry chases through the house to catch her. She snored like a freight train. (No one could believe that a sixteen pound dog could make that much noise). Everyone who met her always commented on how sweet and gentle she was. She trusted us completely, and I wish, wish, wish I could have done more to protect her.

Sylvan and I found ourselves out on the grass where these photos were taken on Wednesday afternoon, dumping out the jars of dye and hosing off the fabric to reveal the most amazing colors. And we were grateful for the distraction. But the memories of our dyeing day and Merlot’s dying day will always be tangled up in our minds.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Mixed Media Robot Assemblages - Alvin

by Leslie Brier

I am very excited to be attending Art and Soul 2012 in Virginia Beach as an instructor this year. One of the classes that I'll be teaching is Mixed Media Robot Assemblages.

This is Alvin.  He is the latest addition to the series. See the little car on top of the wheel? The wheel spins so that the car can drive around in a circle.

 Alvin is a very "green" robot. He bikes wherever he goes.

 Alvin is avaliable for sale at the PonShop Gallery and Studio.

In my next post, I'll introduce you to his lovely bride, Lucille.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Salt Shaker Pendant Class

I had a great time teaching at Artistic Artifacts in Alexandria, Virginia. Just walking through the door is inspiring.
Look at all that color!
It's a good thing I had my class supplies organized. It gave me a chance to do a little shopping before my students arrived. (Okay, maybe more than a little bit of shopping.)

We had such a fun day together.  Everyone added their own touch of creativity, and the finished projects were beautiful.
This goldtone pendant was made by Gloria.

This one was made by Betty. These colors were so pretty together.

Jackie made this one. I like the long dangles that she used.
I have to try one like that.
 Jackie, Betty and Gloria wearing their new pendants.

This one was made by Sylvan. She wasn't quite
finished with it when I took the photo.
Naomi made this one. She put hers on a piece of
Judy Gula's hand-dyed lace. Perfect!

Another gorgeous color combination.
Nancy used a salt shaker with a nice patina.

Nancy wearing her finished piece.

I really enjoyed our day together. I'm working on some more class proposals, because I can't wait to do it again!