Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hair Club

Tonight I had my sister Megan, Isla Craig and Jordan Armstrong over for a practice braid in preparation for a video we will be shooting soon. The idea is a short piece that shows the laboured movements of seven girls with their hair braided together like a human rat king (look it up if you'd never heard of it and prepare to be horrified).
So it worked out nicely with three; I will need to test my braiding skills with more but here's the highlights:

Thanks for your patience and endurance ladies!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Heart Valley

I just wanted to show you the lovely little paper-cuts I made for my lovely man:

Remember making construction paper valentines with those cheap paper doilies? I wish I had saved all of those things, Valentines day is not about chocolate and flowers and diamond jewelery it is about Arts and Crafts, people!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sweet Completion

Finished! The show its in is on Friday February 11th, from 9pm to 2am at The White House (277.5 Augusta ave). So come by and admire it in all its miniature glory! I should thank my carpenter of course, Alan Sproule, my Dad can make one heck of a pine box!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

They Never had a Moment to Flee Alive

More houses on fire! Here's some progress shots of the burning house for my diorama that will be shown at the White House Studio Project next Friday (the 11th of February). 
The house is about 4" by 4" by 15" (to the top of the smoke).

Made of course from my favourite materials- coloured mylar and balsa wood. More soon!

Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death

I'm working on a piece right now for a show that is exploring death and speculation about the afterlife. Its a shadow-box diorama depicting one of the scenes from one of the narratives from my Maidens, Spindles, and Mother of All piece. The story about the children arsonists (I will post soon with progress shots). 
So constructing this work got me thinking about miniatures, and some really dynamic miniatures in particular: the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death constructed by Frances Glessner Lee. 
This woman is the mother of modern forensic science, she constructed these intricate tiny crime scenes, (including working doors, windows, drawers, lights and even keys that came out of the keyholes) which were used as learning tools for police to glean what was important information and what was often overlooked at the scene of a crime. Frances Glessner Lee was in her 50's when she built the dioramas, because as the heiress of a millionaire she was
discouraged from pursuing a career in forensic pathology until later in her life. 
Each of the dioramas were constructed on a scale of one foot to one inch. She had craftsman make most of the furniture, but the dolls she made herself. 
I am so in love with these dioramas, it seems to be a perfect marriage of things I find fascinating: (for reasons I cannot explain,) miniatures and unexplained death. 
There is a book called Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death by Corinne May Botz. I remember seeing it when I worked at David Mirvish Books and I regret not buying it. Amazing stuff, though. 
So in my search for Frances Glessner Lee, I found this woman, Daniela Edburg. She has done a series of photographs of women being brought to their untimely end by food products or other modern-day vices. A lot of the photos are based either on famous paintings or horror movies, like this one, my personal favourite, Death by Banana (based of course on Hitchcock's The Birds):
She has another series which makes me think about my own work a lot, the series called Remains of the Day (you will have to look at those on her website, under work).  The first few in the series I find really successful, in these photographs she sets up a scene with a barren landscape, a single dead body and some beautifully constructed artificial gore. In the roadkill ones all you see are limbs and blood and intestines made from red satin tubes that have been stuffed. It makes for an incredible image, the tension that is present from the knowledge that these are disembodied limbs, yet seeing that the blood and guts have been fabricated, but still fabricated in such a tactile and beautiful way. It does remind me of aspects of my own work.  
So it brings up a question for me that I have often thought about but can't seem to find an answer- Can (and should) my work exist as photographs only? Is a scene like this more or less dynamic live, or can it only create the feeling I want in its mediated form? I am aware of the fact that I make work that takes great photos (as long as its not moving) Should I just be setting up scenes to be filmed or photographed?
Sometimes I think it would be easier (in terms of exhibitions, sale of work, and transportation) to move into the world of photography, but should I do something just because I think it will be easier? Is that lazy? Or am I working myself too hard with too few results in the way I am working now?

Friday, February 4, 2011


Oh! I made a mistake- the article that is upcoming by Maria Golikova is in the Flying Walrus. So there you have it!