Monday, April 13, 2009

Styling with hog gut

Dear friends in the blogosphere, I have returned from my most recent travels in the states of Washington and Oregon.

In order to explain of the photograph on the previous post, a little background is needed.

For two years, I've been trying to snag an Artfest class with Melissa Manley, a skilled metal smith and jewelery designer from North Carolina who also has experience working with hog gut, aka sausage casings.

To register for Artfest classes, you submit your choices by mail, postmarked on the Tuesday after Labor Day. You indicate your first, second and third choices. Class assignment is dependent upon in which sequence envelopes are opened and choices of preceding applicants. I spoke with Melissa on vendor night the first time she offered this class. She had been unsure about even offering such a class, thinking few would actually be interested. Clearly this turned out to be an underestimation of the artfest penchant for the weird and offbeat.

This year I got into her Class Insecta.
Her course description and photos are below.

Class Photo Big

Using iron wire and sausage casings we will metaphorically lift log, leaf and stone to uncover the minibeasts deep in our creative unconscious. If you love creepy crawlies and don’t mind working with hog gut, this is just the type of trailblazing you’ll love. If you have experience with wire all the better, but if not, don’t be intimidated! Beginners welcome! We’ll have you forming and twisting wire in no time. Will your insects be whimsical, somewhat realistic or complete fabrications? We’ll cover our wirereations with natural hog sausage casing. It dries to a taut, translucent skin and can be colored or written on! So if you think you have the guts come make funky BUGS with us!

Class Photo Big

After making a bug in class, I wanted to play with the jewelry potential of this medium, and thus made the necklace pendant in the previous post. it is slightly colored with a drop of Golden brand interference paints. The black beads suspended on wire function as bell clappers, striking the taut back membrane of the pendant.

The different reactions people express upon learning what the pendant is composed of has been interesting.


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