Monsters in Space by Trilby Works

Monster Seamless Repeat Patterns fo...

Here's a collection of my monster patterns. [caption id="attachment_1218" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Monsters in Space by Trilby Works. Avail...

Christ in Majesty, miniature of Christ in the Godescalc Evangelistary, detail

Art in the Middle Ages

The Middle Ages in France was a time of almost fanatical religious belief, when the Catholic Church held great power. Indeed, the dominant aspect of c...

The Ebony Tower Fairy House by Trilby Works

The Ebony Tower Fairy House

The Ebony Tower fairy house is complete! Laborious layers of stones, glued in place over many months, have finally taken shape into the form of a spir...

Mini MagBot Found Object Robot Magn...

These little one-of-a-kind robot magnets are upcycled from household objects and hardware into mini cute assemblages. A very strong 5/8" round magn...

The Pain & The Process of Making Art

Assemblage Supplies - Vintage Wooden Game Pieces

Assemblage Supplies – Vintage Wooden Game Pieces

I'm a sucker for supplies. I have more supplies in my studio than I will ever use. And yet I continue to collect more. Because I need them. ...

Goods & Sundry

Monsters in Space by Trilby Works

Monster Seamless Repeat Patterns for Spoonflower

Here's a collection of my monster patterns. [caption id="attachment_1218" align="aligncenter" wid...

News

DEFAD event postcard

Delaware Fun A Day Exhibit, 2017

180 participants have made one piece of small artwork every day of September. Now they're ready to show you! Of course, you'll need to visit...

Freebies and Downloadables

Great Leopards Bane George Baxter Botanical Print

Great Leopard’s Bane George Baxter Botanical Print, Friday Freebie

"Great Leopard's Bane" is a hand colored engraving by George Baxter from British Flowering Plants, published in 1840. Plate #157. [captio...

Monster Seamless Repeat Patterns for Spoonflower

Here’s a collection of my monster patterns.

Monsters in Space by Trilby Works

Monsters in Space by Trilby Works. Available at Spoonflower.

Many Blue Moons Planets and Stars Coordinate by Trilby Works

Many Blue Moons Planets and Stars Coordinate by Trilby Works. Available at Spoonflower here.

Monster Stripe and Dot Coordinates, Moon and Comets by Trilby Works

Monster Stripe and Dot Coordinates, Moon and Comets by Trilby Works. Available for sale at Spoonflower.

Stars and Cosmic Waves Coordinate by Trilby Works. Available at Spoonflower here.

Monster Purple and Blue Stripes by Trilby Works. Available at Spoonflower

These patterns were inspired by my plush monsters, sewn by hand with much love.

Plush Monster in Pink, Yellow, Green, Blue by Trilby Works

Plush Blue and Green Monster by Trilby Works

Plush Blue and Green Monster by Trilby Works

Small Lavender Plush Monster by Trilby Works

Small Lavender Plush Monster by Trilby Works

I also have some monsters in a blue and orange colorway.

Furry Monsters Looking Pensive. Buy it at Spoonflower

Art in the Middle Ages

The Middle Ages in France was a time of almost fanatical religious belief, when the Catholic Church held great power. Indeed, the dominant aspect of culture was the Christian faith. Since the manner in which a society spends its wealth expresses its values, it is not surprising that art in the Middle Ages was permeated by religious themes. This is evident in manuscript illumination, cathedral architecture, sculpture, and tapestries, much of which were commissioned for or by the Church.

Duccio, central panel, Maestà altarpiece, Siena Cathedral, 1311

Duccio di Buoninsegna (c.1255-1319), Madonna and Child Enthroned with Angels and Saints, central panel, Maestà Altarpiece, Siena Cathedral, 1311, Tempera and gold on wood

The predominant type of painting in the early Middle Ages was the decoration of bibles. This manuscript illumination was brought to France by Charlemagne as part of his attempt to renew the state of Classical culture which existed in the Late Antique period in Rome. To achieve this, Charlemagne imported scholars, artists and other knowledgeable people to his court at Aachen. These people promoted the learning that was essential to Charlemagne’s plan of a cultured nation. The copying of bible books, borrowed from Rome, was paramount to attaining this goal.

St Mark, The Gospels of St. Medard de Soissons

Lion leaning down from heaven to communicate the first words of the gospel to St. Mark, from the gospel book of Saint Medard at Soissons, from the court academy of Charlemagne, early 9th century (Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale)

The eminent illuminated manuscript produced during the reign of Charlemagne (768-814) was the Godescalc Evangelistary. But the portrait of Christ, instead of evoking Roman art, combined several existing artistic styles. Some Classical elements may be seen, such as the architecture, the Roman-looking robe, and the sandals. However, the halo, the large eyes, the crushed flat drapery with abstract folds, and the three-dot pattern of the material show a Byzantine influence. Unfortunately, the most evident influence is the Barbarian one, that is, the inability to draw realistic, lifelike figures. Problems with body proportion are obvious in the posture of Christ. He appears to be sitting but the supporting cushion cuts through his back. The remaining space is filled with interlacing and abstract designs done in rich colors.

Christ in Majesty, miniature of Christ in the Godescalc Evangelistary

Christ in Majesty, miniature of Christ in the Godescalc Evangelistary

In short, Charlemagne’s attempt at recreating Classical civilization failed, at least in terms of manuscript illumination: his artists forged ahead, creating a unique style. And alas, illuminated manuscripts were eventually replaced by stained glass as the foremost medium of artistic expression. This reflected a shift to a public focus for art.

One type of artistic expression that was more permanent, although the style changed radically, was the cathedral. This monumental structure was an important addition to a town, because it contained the seat of the bishop, thus conferring great status upon the town. In an age when the King of France had little authority over the independently governed provinces, the people looked to the Church for stability and guidance. Thus, a cathedral was an indication of the wealth and prominence of one’s town. In addition, the soaring edifice was a source of immense civic pride.

Consequently, an increase in building activity of churches in the eleventh century signaled the beginning of the Romanesque period of architecture, so called because the rectangular shape and exterior sculpture were reminiscent of Classical Roman buildings. This Romanesque look is characterized by thick walls, heavy buttresses, tiny arches, few windows, square towers, and barrel vaulting. The church of St. Philibert’s at Tournus (early eleventh century), with its severe dignity, was typical of this style of church architecture.

St. Philibert's at Tournus

St. Philibert’s at Tournus , By D Villafruela – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9882420

As Christian fervor continued to permeate the culture of the French people, ideas emerged to glorify the church even more. Thus, the Romanesque style soon became obsolete as it gave way to a glorious new style which later art historians call Gothic. The Gothic style of architecture evolved largely because of the vision and efforts of Abbot Suger who began creating his Abbey Church at St. Denis in 1135. His cathedral possessed pointed arches, flying buttresses, many stained glass windows, and a lacy, graceful exterior. This new style of architecture, with its high ceilings, was the perfect showcase for stained glass, since the dark, cavernous space cried out for light. Abbot Suger’s goal was to transform the interior of the church into a heaven-like area. Only stained glass windows could create this effect. Light filtered through, creating pools of bright colors, which changed depending upon the time of day. The effect was designed to awe the worshipper, to make him believe in the glory of God. Thus the Church gained an element of control over the people.

Basilica of Saint-Denis Ambulatory. Source

Stained glass windows served to educate the illiterate masses in the stories of the Bible. In the Cathedral of Chartres we find depictions of Mary, Jesus, and the Apostles.

Scene from the Good Samaritan Window, Christ tells the Good Samaritan parable to the Pharisees (1205-1235). Source

In the second half of the eleventh century, there developed a new interest in the Virgin Mary. Stories of her miracles were collected, churches were dedicated in her name, and increasing numbers of images were created of her. The Virgin Mary was considered wise, humble, pure and tender. These qualities were possessed by ordinary women, but in Mary they embodied the ultimate perfection. This interest in Mary is thought to reflect an emerging appreciation for women in general.

This worship of the Virgin Mary is manifest in the large number of wooden statues which were created at the time. “The Virgin and Child Enthroned,” from the Auvergne region of France, late twelfth century, exemplifies this trend. The two-foot high sculpture is rigidly frontal, and displays the typical Medieval problems with proportion. The Virgin’s upper body is much longer than her lower body, because her legs from knees to hips are too short. However, the real problem is the Christ Child who has not the plump, rounded body of a baby, but that of a fully grown, albeit tiny, man. He sits stiffly upright on the Virgin’s lap, not a very baby-like position, with his right hand raised in the priestly gesture of blessing and his left resting on an open book, symbolizing his divine wisdom. The Virgin is seated on a four-legged stool, rather than a throne, indicating her humility.

Enthroned Virgin and Child 1150-1200, Met Cloisters. Source

Tapestry making flourished in the Middle Ages. The wool tapestries were first woven in monasteries and convents as wall hangings for churches. Few of these early tapestries, which depicted religious scenes, exist today. Nobles liked the heavy, portable tapestries and used them to create a warm atmosphere in their living quarters. As society became more secularized in the later fourteenth century, perhaps due to the emerging middle class, tapestries began to depict non-religious scenes such as the “Nine Heroes” tapestry. (Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Cloisters, New York).

Joshua and David (from the Nine Heroes Tapestries) Source

In summary, Medieval artists translated their religious energy to art. Their art was not an end in itself, but also a tool used by the ruling classes to create objects of worship and to educate the common people.

Bibliography

  • Gold, Penny Schine. The Lady and the Virgin. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1985.
  • Stokstad, Marilyn. Medieval Art. New York: Harper and Row, 1986.
  • Young, Bonnie. A Walk Through the Cloisters. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1979.
  • Carolingian Painting. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1976.
  • Burke, John. Life in the Castle in Medieval England. New York: British Heritage Press, 1978.

The Ebony Tower Fairy House

The Ebony Tower fairy house is complete! Laborious layers of stones, glued in place over many months, have finally taken shape into the form of a spiral tower, a sinister home for a dark fae creature.

The Ebony Tower Fairy House by Trilby Works

The Ebony Tower Fairy House by Trilby Works

Play the video below to see how it grew.

How did I make it? First of all, assemble all your supplies, especially your patience. This project takes a LONG time to complete. You’ll need a base stone, wall stone, a door and door hardware, a few windows, a top piece, E-6000 glue, and some black grout. I found my base stone in the back yard and I purchased the black pebbles from a dollar store in the floral aisle.

The Ebony Tower Fairy House by Trilby Works, front door

The Ebony Tower Fairy House by Trilby Works, front door

Decide how large your base should be then start gluing down stones in a circular pattern, leaving a space for the door and windows. Continue building your tower, setting each row of stones slightly inside the previous row, in order to taper the tower. Back fill with black grout every few inches or so. This helps stabilize your tower. When you get to the top, add your bell or roof. Add your doors and windows and it’s done!

Mini MagBot Found Object Robot Magnets

These little one-of-a-kind robot magnets are upcycled from household objects and hardware into mini cute assemblages.

A very strong 5/8″ round magnet is glued to the back of each and will keep your new friend secured to any magnetic surface, including your refrigerator door.

Part of a series that I created for the 2018 DelawareFunADay.com, the robots measure from 2 1/2″ to 4″ tall. They are made from 1 1/8″ children’s wood alphabet blocks, found objects, hardware, various recycled components and lots of imagination.

I’m selling these in my Etsy shop so please visit there to buy one of these little guys.

If you live in Wilmington, Delaware, you can adopt one of these from the Bellefonte Art Gallery.

Small Mixed Media Assemblage Art on Canvas

These canvasses were sitting around in my studio for a few years before I finally dusted them off, touched up the paint, and photographed them. I used scrapbooking embellishments, found objects, and jewelry charms. Here they are:

I took them to the Bellefonte Art Gallery to sell. Hopefully they will all go – I don’t have room in my studio to bring them back!

Delaware Fun A Day Exhibit, 2017

180 participants have made one piece of small artwork every day of September. Now they’re ready to show you! Of course, you’ll need to visit the Delaware Contemporary to see them all but I’ll show you a few below.

DEFAD event postcard

DEFAD event postcard

I skipped the opening night on October 6, 2017, and went the next day so I could take my time to view the art without fighting for space. I took some photos of my favorites, as seen below.

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Delaware Fun-A-Day 2017

I often let my enthusiasm overtake my practicality. Such as a few weeks ago when I brashly signed up for the Delaware Fun-A-Day art event, a busy September of making a small piece of art every day to be exhibited at the Delaware Contemporary in October.

DE Fun A Day Logo

My theme is “Recycled junk art assemblage on wood”. I’ll be making some more of my assemblage flowers on wood panel, similar to the large Differential Bloom painting I finished earlier this year. These, however, will be much smaller and, perforce, simpler in design. After all, I have to make 30 of them!

DE Fun-A-Day, Day 4, Stack of Boards Ready to Be Painted

DE Fun-A-Day, Day 4, Stack of Boards Ready to Be Painted

Delaware Fun-A-Day Details

  • Over 180 participants will be presenting their work at a giant group show at The Delaware Contemporary on October 6-8, 2017
  • Opening Night is Friday October 6 from 5pm-9pm
  • Additional hours to view the art on Saturday Oct 7 from 10am-5pm and Sunday Oct 8 from 12pm-5pm
  • The Delaware Contemporary is located on 200 S. Madison St., Wilmington, DE 19801
  • Free admission & plenty of free parking!
  • Go to www.delawarefunaday.com for more

Here’s a gallery of my work. Follow as I progress day by day! I’ll post new photos [almost] every day.

I was hoping to post a picture every day but family commitments and crises and illness kept me from doing that.

I did manage to post some photos to Instagram and was interested in seeing the work of others who are participating in this event. Here’s the Instagram feed for the hashtag #delawarefunaday:

[instagram-feed]

2017 Contemporary Gala Art Auction at the Delaware Contemporary

On Saturday, March 25th, the Delaware Contemporary held their Contemporary Gala which they described as “an exciting and elegant evening of music, auctions, and unconventional entertainment. Proceeds from the event support our exhibitions and education programs. Artists will have their work featured in our Constance S. & Robert J. Hennessy Project Space gallery for an audience of art enthusiasts and collectors.”

2017 Contemporary Gala, DE Contemporary

2017 Contemporary Gala, DE Contemporary

I entered a recently finished piece called Differential Bloom that is assemblage on wood panel, seen below.

Differential Bloom, Assemblage on Wood Panel, Trilby Works

Differential Bloom, Assemblage on Wood Panel, 12″ x 36″

My piece sold! Yay. Thanks to the new owner – I hope you enjoy it for many years.

Here are some close-ups of the flowers:

Differential Bloom, detail of copper flower

Differential Bloom, detail of copper flower

Differential Bloom, detail of silver flower

Differential Bloom, detail of silver flower

Differential Bloom, detail of bronze and gold flower

Differential Bloom, detail of bronze and gold flower

Mistress Hippopotamus April Showers Note Card

This exclusive Trilby Works card is perfect for your special loved one who likes hippos and humor.

Mistress Hippopotamus April Showers Note Card

Mistress Hippopotamus April Showers Note Card

The inside reads:

APRIL SHOWERS
Mistress Hippopotamus takes her green Umbrell
Tho’ the sun is shining fine, one can never tell
When a naughty thunder-cloud may spoil a pleasant day
And a green Umbrell’s real handy to keep wet drops away.

CARD DETAILS
SIZE: Folded to 3 1/2″ x 5″
PAPER: Heavyweight premium bright white paper
ENVELOPE: It comes with a white envelope sized accordingly

Snowman with Playful Kittens

Just finished this cute snowman piece which I’m donating to a cat rescue group I work with called Andy’s Friends. They’ll be using it as a raffle item for an upcoming fundraiser.

Snowman with Playful Kittens

Snowman with Playful Kittens

How did I make this? I took three different sizes of Styrofoam balls and glued them together and to a cardboard spool that once had holiday ribbon. I applied strips of tissue paper with white glue to strengthen the piece and to provide a surface for my paint to stick to. I covered this with a layer of gesso. I used Liquitex White Opaque Flakes texture gel, which has a look like snowflakes, to the entire piece. I made the hat from paper, buttons from scrapbooking brads, and the sign from a scrapbooking wood embellishment. I bought the kittens on eBay and glued them on. I found the bottle brush trees at Michael’s and got them on sale after Christmas.