Tag: Assemblage

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.

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.




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:


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

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. Really. I do.

Last spring I scored this batch of really cool vintage wooden game pieces.

Assemblage Supplies - Vintage Wooden Game Pieces

Assemblage Supplies – Vintage Wooden Game Pieces

They only cost $5! Yay me!

One year later, they are still sitting in my drawer, waiting to be used. And I will be using them, I can assure you. No, I don’t have a plan. I would make one, but I’m too busy looking for more goodies to add to my stash.

Assemblage Supplies - Vintage Wooden Game Pieces

Assemblage Supplies – Vintage Wooden Game Pieces

The picture above is of my wooden pieces drawer. All my junk is carefully organized so I can find it. All the drawers are labeled, of course! I may be an art supply hoarder, but I’m an orderly one. Just look at all those wonderful pieces, just waiting to be assembled into something awesome!

Where to Find Vintage Wooden Game Pieces to Use in Assemblage Art

  1. Scrounge Around in Antique Shops and Secondhand Shops – I’ve found some good things in antique shops and even more great stuff in junk shops.
  2. Browse eBay – There used to be tons of good junk on eBay–and I suppose there still is–but it seems to be getting more expensive as sellers wise up to the fact that we junkers want their stuff.
  3. Visit Farmer’s Markets / Garage Sales / Goodwill Stores – A step down from antique stores and secondhand shops, farmer’s markets, garage sales, and Goodwill stores have yielded some treasures to me over the years. It’s worth a look!
  4. Steal From Your Kids – Seriously! Most of the wooden pieces in the drawer above were “liberated” from my children. And they never knew they were missing!

How To Use Wooden Game Pieces in Your Art

You can do lots of things with these little wooden bobs and bits. Below are a few pictures of my work.

Here is some inspiration from my Pinterest board.

Follow Trilby Works’s board Upcycle, Recycle: Wooden Game Pieces on Pinterest.




Found Object Robot Wall Hangings on My Work Table

Here’s a sneak peek at what’s under construction at Trilby Works today. Some cute wall hanging found object robots. They are mostly done but the dude on the right needs some legs.

Found Object Robot Wall Hangings in Process

Found Object Robot Wall Hangings in Process


These bots are fun to make. More are on the way!

Making Christmas Ornaments in January – Who Does That?

Well, I do, of course. I never seem to be able to do anything at the appropriate time or location. But, really, there is no wrong time to make these ornaments. Why? Because these are ROBOT ornaments, woohoo.

I gathered up all my supplies, which consisted of wood blocks, game pieces, tids and bits of hardware, scrapbooking embellishments, etc. After a few days of intensive gluing, drilling, and assembling, I had a small troupe of the cutest holiday ornaments I’ve ever seen.

These will be available for purchase at the Bellefonte Art Gallery soon.

I Heart Bots: Robot Love

I don’t know why I like robots so much. Not real ones – they kind of freak me out. Although I am somewhat fond of the benign little Roomba that circles our house, sucking up cat fur and cracker crumbs. No, the ones I really love are the found object robots made from household junk.


I Heart Bots

A robot is defined as

  1. a machine capable of carrying out a complex series of actions automatically, especially one programmable by a computer
  2. a machine resembling a human being and able to replicate certain human movements and functions automatically (especially in science fiction)
  3. a person who behaves in a mechanical or unemotional manner

The word comes from the Czech word robota, meaning ‘forced labor,’ and was first used in 1920. Synonyms for robot are: automaton, android, golem, droid.

Follow Trilby Works’s board I Heart Bots: Robots Rule! on Pinterest.

Found objects robots are a new popular modern art genre created from combined and often modified found objects resulting in a recognizable figured piece in the form of a robot. The phrase found object originates from the French term objet trouvé, literally “found object.” Found objects can include any item with a non-art function like tin cans, old tools, household recyclables, kitchen utensils, vintage toys and games, automotive parts, and pretty much anything else you can imagine.

Here’s an Etsy Treasury I made of colorful, happy robots of all shapes and sizes!

The Servants of Ord

The Servants of Ord The Servants of Ord

Exciting news! The Servants of Ord has been chosen to be published in a mixed media art book by North Light Books. The book is entitled “Incite, Dreams Realized: The Best of Mixed Media” and is a hardbound showcase of the best in mixed-media expression. It’s their first-ever competition book entirely devoted to the best of mixed-media. Works were chosen from a wide variety of mixed-media styles and categories including painting, collage, assemblage, jewelry, fiber art, book arts, mosaics and more. I’m thrilled to be part of this book and I am so thankful for one of my pieces to be selected.

The Servants of Ord

The Servants of Ord

Here is the complete list of winners: http://www.createmixedmedia.com/editors-picks/congratulations-to-our-incite-dreams-realized-winners?et_mid=595697&rid=233017906.

Incite, Dreams Realized: The Best of Mixed Media

Incite, Dreams Realized: The Best of Mixed Media

About the Book:

Expressive. Brave. Enchanting. Soul-kindling. Compelling. The best of mixed media.

All of these are embodied in the premier edition of Incite. The 93 artists behind these incredible works (more than 120 total!) share their stories of artistic visions fulfilled, lofty goals achieved and daunting obstacles overcome.

From persevering through personal struggles to mastering difficult mixed-media techniques, from collage and encaustic to assemblage and jewelry, the stories and art in Incite, Dreams Realized will inspire you to think big, never give up and dare to realize your own dreams.

Buy it on Amazon here.

I want to thank my amazing photographer, Luigi Ciuffetelli, for a great picture (not shown here but you can see it in the book).

Frozen Charlottes

What is it about these strange tiny dolls that makes assemblage artists go gaga? Frozen Charlottes are ubiquitous in mixed media and altered art creations, whether shabby chic, grungy and distressed, or Victorian sweet. Flawed and discolored, they can lend a creepy or tragic feeling to artwork. Some folks love ’em, some folks hate ’em.

Frozen Charlotte

Frozen Charlotte

What Is A Frozen Charlotte?

A Frozen Charlotte is a miniature china doll made in Germany from the 1850’s to around 1920. They are made in the form of a standing, naked figurine molded in one piece with unjointed (frozen) arms and legs. Ranging in height from around 1″ (25mm) to 4″ (100mm), they were typically made from porcelain, usually white in color, and either glazed or unglazed.

Frozen Charlottes were mainly manufactured in Germany by doll companies and sold by the gross. The 1″ (25mm) dolls were commonly known as ‘penny dolls’ as they sold for one cent in America. (There is also a male doll called Frozen Charlie.) The dolls were popular with children in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Some floated on their backs; they had porcelain fronts and unglazed backs and were played with in the bathtub. Smaller ones were frozen and placed in cups to cool afternoon tea. Tiny versions could be used as charms or party favors and baked into birthday cakes or added to Christmas puddings (much like is done with Mardi Gras king cakes). Children also played with them in doll houses or simply collected them.

Dolls that came through the firing process intact were hand-painted. Those that broke during firing or were otherwise flawed were dumped in trash piles behind the factories and eventually covered over. Today, many Frozen Charlottes are being excavated from the grounds of old doll factories in Germany, mainly Thuringia. They are highly collectible, not only among doll enthusiasts, but also artists, who perhaps appreciate the imperfections, believing that the broken limbs and dirt encrusted surfaces add to their charm.

Frozen Charlottes

Frozen Charlottes come in sizes from about 1″ to around 3″ high.

Why Are They Called “Frozen Charlottes”?

These diminutive dolls take their name from a poem written by Maine humorist and editor Seba Smith (1792-1868) who was reportedly inspired by a February 8, 1840, article in the New York Observer about a young woman who was frozen to death while riding to a New Year’s Eve ball in an open sleigh. The poem was set to music by William Lorenzo Carter and is still sung today by American folk singers.

In the poem, our heroine, Charlotte, refused to heed her mother’s urging to wrap up warmly for fear of hiding her pretty gown. Her sweetheart drove quickly to the ball in town, but was horrified to find that Charlotte froze to death during the trip. Here is the poem in full:

Young Charlotte
by Seba Smith

Now, Charlotte lived on the mountainside,
In a bleak and dreary spot;
There was no house for miles around,
Except her father’s cot.
And yet on many a wintry night,
Young swains were gathered there;
For her father kept a social board,
And she was very fair.

One New Year’s Eve as the sun went down,
Far looked her wishful eye
Out from the frosty window pane
As merry sleighs went by.

In a village fifteen miles away,
Was to be a ball that night;
And though the air was heavy and cold,
Her heart was warm and light.

How brightly beamed her laughing eye,
As a well-known voice was heard;
And driving up to the cottage door,
Her lover’s sleigh appeared.

“O, daughter dear,” her mother cried,
“This blanket ’round you fold;
It is a dreadful night tonight,
You’ll catch your death of cold.”

“O, nay! O, nay!” young Charlotte cried,
And she laughed like a gypsy queen;
“To ride in blankets muffled up,
I never would be seen.

“My silken cloak is quite enough,
You know ’tis lined throughout;
Besides I have my silken scarf,
To twine my neck about.”

Her bonnet and her gloves were on,
She stepped into the sleigh;
Rode swiftly down the mountain side,
And o’er the hills away.

With muffled face and silent lips,
Five miles at length were passed;
When Charles with few and shivering words,
The silence broke at last.

“Such a dreadful night I never saw,
The reins I scarce can hold.”
Fair Charlotte shivering faintly said,
“I am exceeding cold.”

He cracked his whip, he urged his steed
Much faster than before;
And thus five other dreary miles
In silence were passed o’er.

Said Charles, “How fast the shivering ice
Is gathering on my brow.”
And Charlotte still more faintly said,
“I’m growing warmer now.”

So on they rode through frosty air
And glittering cold starlight,
Until at last the village lamps
And the ballroom came in sight.

They reached the door and Charles sprang out,
He reached his hand for her;
She sat there like a monument,
That has no power to stir.

He called her once, he called her twice,
She answered not a word;
He asked her for her hand again,
And still she never stirred.

He took her hand in his – O, God!
‘Twas cold and hard as stone;
He tore the mantle from her face,
Cold stars upon it shone.

Then quickly to the glowing hall,
Her lifeless form he bore;
Fair Charlotte’s eyes were closed in death,
Her voice was heard no more.

And there he sat down by her side,
While bitter tears did flow;
And cried, “My own, my charming bride,
You never more will know.”

He twined his arms around her neck,
He kissed her marble brow;
His thoughts flew back to where she said,
“I’m growing warmer now.”

He carried her back to the sleigh,
And with her he rode home;
And when he reached the cottage door,
O, how her parents mourned.

Her parents mourned for many a year,
And Charles wept in the gloom;
Till at last her lover died of grief,
And they both lie in one tomb.

What Are They Worth?

Frozen Charlottes range in value from a few dollars into the hundreds for a rare and pristine piece. Here are some qualities that may cause a doll to be valued more highly:

  • unusual poses
  • black skin paint
  • unusual hair styles or color
  • shiny glazed white porcelain
  • meticulously painted facial features
  • molded chemises or other clothing
  • hand-painted bows, stockings or other details

Many types of dolls may be called Frozen Charlottes but true Charlottes have no jointed appendages.

How To Use Frozen Charlottes In Your Art

Frozen Charlotte dolls are ideal for any mixed media, jewelry, or assemblage projects. Use them as is for Victorian shabby chic style jewelry or grunge them up even more for steampunk or Halloween art.

Here are some ideas and tutorials to get you started:
Halloween Frozen Charlotte Tart Tin Art Tutorial
Frozen Charlotte Fairies
Make A Mold of A Frozen Charlotte

Please also see my Pinterest page for many beautiful art projects incorporating Frozen Charlottes.

Frozen Charlottes on Pinterest

Frozen Charlottes on Pinterest

Where To Buy Frozen Charlottes

Here, of course! I sell them here on Trilby Works and through my Etsy store. If you can’t afford to buy authentic Charlottes, Tim Holtz, the guru of mixed media, offers replications made of glazed resin that he calls Fractured Dolls. You can buy them online at Amazon.com and other art and craft sites.

Fractured Dolls by Tim Holtz


Frozen Charlotte Doll a Cool Find by Nancy Russell
Frozen Charlotte And Charlie Antique Doll Buyers Guide on eBay
Young Charlotte poem