Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Unseen Forces: Recap

Well, it's been a week and a half since the opening of my show with Chris Ryniak, titled "Unseen Forces", at Stranger Factory gallery in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I think I've almost had enough time to sort of recuperate from the months of frenzied art-making, packing, shipping, travel, and set-up!

You can see pictures of every single piece in the show HERE. (Give it a minute to load, the image density is huge)

I feel like after every big show, I say "this was my favorite body of work to date"...and I feel that about this one too. I think that is a good thing! It means that I'm not only pushing myself to make work that continues to inspire me, but also that I have a healthy outlook on my strengths and weaknesses, which is an outlook I struggle to keep up a lot of the time.

Amber Pumpernickel, lit from behind.

This guy has horns cast in the same amber color.

His breastplate is cast from a cluster of citrine, and given a rich faux-bronze patina.

The overall tone of Unseen Forces was that of mysticism and magic - but from a naive and almost childlike perspective. Chris and I often talk about the idea of magic, and how though we're open to the idea of it, we have a hard time believing in supernatural things. But we both love the idea of magic, and wish that it were real. This show was a fun way to explore ideas of ritual, magic, and secret mystical organizations, set against the backdrop of our characters.

Stargazers with constellations inset into their foreheads.

Ivory horned bat displaying his bronzed crystals and Eye of Providence.
This heraldic bat bears the emblem of the Esoteric Tooth Cult on his banner.

Thematically, most of my pieces involved ideas from Alchemic study, astrology, and gemstones. I also decked out quite a few of my guys in full regalia reminiscent of the various posts in the hierarchies of secret mystical organizations (or my over-romanticized ideas of them, anyway!).

In terms of their production, this show really challenged me to use some fabrication techniques which were not really new to me, but using them at this scale was. I have never done much transparent resin casting in the past, but since introducing my Pipsqueak minifigures a while back, I've done enough experimentation to feel more comfortable with it. Both Chris and I integrated a lot of transparent effects into our work - many of which were cast-resin crystals, made to look like real quartz. I did use some real crystals in some of the pieces, but soon found that the resin versions were far more versatile to use, since they could be easily sanded, drilled, and worked with, not to mention their superior durability and light weight compared to their geological counterparts.

"Lux ex Tenebris", the show's centerpiece is 32" tall!
Lots of those faux crystals in action here...

Chris and I are very big on the idea of unified shows - that in a two-artist show with a central theme, both artists' work should be both their own, but still hold the entire show together. We accomplish this by using a unified color palette (for this show it was mostly blacks, greys, and neutrals, accented by pops of blue, amber, green, and yellow), and similar visual elements. We both used the resin crystals in our pieces, as well as fabric accents (something I do all the time, but Chris does not) for the "secret society" pieces. We also used the same resin horns (cast from the horns of a male dik-dik) in both of our work, to help tie it all together. This created a very unified look to the show as a whole, even though both artists' work could stand alone, which was our goal.

We created a sort of "ritual" on this old trunk, for our characters to conduct. Photo credit Chris Ryniak.

The gallery waiting for guests to arrive!  Photo credit Chris Ryniak.

The show opened, the gallery was absolutely packed, and though I know some people missed the opportunity to purchase the piece they wanted, I think everybody who came by was happy! I am very grateful to EVERYONE involved - from the people who work directly with us, to the people who made the trek (from as far away as Japan!!!), to people fueling my artistic fire by following me online and posting your thoughts and likes.  You all keep me going and I am very grateful to have such an awesome art family out there!

So now I say goodbye to Unseen Forces, but there are big things just around the bend. So, onward!

Taking pictures at over 10,000 ft. elevation, on Sandia Peak. Literally on top of the world!
Photo credit Chris Ryniak.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Thank you!

Just wanted to say THANK YOU so much for following my work online! It's a big deal to me that so many of you stick with me to see what I do next. I know everybody's time and attention are limited, so it means a lot to me that you devote your time to my work! My online family means a lot to me, thank you for being a part of what I do!


Friday, September 5, 2014

Unseen Forces - opening today!

I've been a little quiet lately, but it's because I've been putting the finishing touches on a huge show with Chris Ryniak, called Unseen forces! I've been talking about it a lot on social media, but have neglected to blog about it, so here are some details.

Unseen Forces
New works by Chris Ryniak and Amanda Spayd
Opens September 5, 2014, and runs for one month.
Both artists will be attending the opening reception, which is Friday, September 5 at 6pm at Stranger Factory, in Albuquerque, NM. 

Information about the preview, sales, and how the show works at the gallery can be found here:

I feel like I've grown leaps and bounds with my work in this may not be super evident right now, but in the coming shows, it will be very obvious. I've learned so much more about using different materials, and incorporating different techniques into my work. I've also been learning my new sewing machine's capabilities, experimenting with fabric coloring techniques, and getting my hands dirty with resin and power tools in new ways. It's been frustrating, exciting, exhausting, and amazing all at the same time.

Well - have to go finish setting the show up in the gallery today! Maybe I'll see you tonight at the reception? Full photos of the work coming soon.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

July 25th sale: Preview

Tomorrow, Friday July 25th, at 3:00 pm, EST, my shop will open for a small sale. This will be the last online sale I will have before my show at Stranger Factory in September; after which I will resume monthly Pipsqueak sales.

The shop is here:
Note - The items will not appear in the shop until the time of the sale.

Not sure what time this is in your time zone? Try this site with a handy time zone calculator. I am located in Ohio, USA, which has the same time zone as New York City:

These are the items that will be in the sale tomorrow:

Aqua Glitter Pipsqueak: $18 (25 available)
Clear aqua resin with aqua glitter.

Jadeite Pipsqueak: $18 (25 available)
Semi-translucent light green resin with sparse silver glitter.

Aqua/Jadeite Pipsqueak Two-Pack: $36 (10 available)
One Aqua Glitter and one Jadeite Pipsqueak, for those who want both colors.

Miniature Original drawings: $25 (8 available)
Original Dust Bunny portrait drawn on an embossed kraft tag. Sizes vary slightly, but are around 2" tall. Drawn in graphite and colored pencil.  "Blind bagged" in kraft envelopes, making each one a surprise. All drawings are slightly different and have different colored eyes, but are all very similar and of consistent detail and quality.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Essential Tools: Sewing

Sewing is something I do at least a few times a week now, but it's far from being something that comes to me naturally. Well, let me take that back - sewing by hand, using a needle and thread, comes very naturally to me. It's when you get machines and pattern-drafting into the mix that my head starts to spin a little bit.

But, since my artwork is 50% fabric, sewing becomes a necessary skill. I've never taken any classes (though I still think I will at some point, as I know I have a lot to learn), so any abilities I have in this arena have been entirely self-taught through trial and much error.  It's honestly not a skill I ever thought I would learn, despite being very interested in costuming and fashion in my younger years...I'm still far from the point where I can make clothes for myself, but I can whip up ruffly petticoats and collars for Dust Bunnies, no problem!

Keep reading below for a quick tour of my sewing tools...this is more of an overview than anything specific - if I were to get into the nitty gritty of all my sewing tools and techniques, it could cover many blog posts!

My Vesta VS III, made in Germany by the L.O. Dietrich company, most likely in the 1920's.