In the Studio: Library Card Catalogue Make Over

At the end of June I retired from my long time teaching job. My wonderful colleagues gifted me the old card catalogue from our school library…Best retirement gift ever!!!! They filled the drawers with all manner of curiosities for me.  The card catalogue was a little worse for wear so I decided to give it a make over. It is now finished and is a wonderful reminder of my years at Duncan Elementary School and my crazy colleagues.

Our School

Duncan Elementary School

Best retirement gift ever!  20180821_171756

Needs some TLC.

Removed the handles and after soaking them in vinegar and sprinkling them with salt, I popped them in a hot oven for 20 minutes…Presto beautiful patina.

Then I took apart the cabinet and sanded off the varnish using a palm sander…60 grit so it is rough enough to take the stain. (Had to do it twice, lesson learned) Also needed to brush on a coat of water to raise the grain so it would accept the stain.

Stained the maple cabinet and all 30 drawers with Cherry stain and then 3 coats of polyurethane with a light fine sanding between coats…Lesson learned…first two coats should be gloss and last coat matte or satin.

Huge improvement!

Printed off labels on 200 year old paper.

Filled the drawers with all manner of curious art supplies…

And voila the big reveal…my beautiful gift from my treasured friends and colleagues.

THIS MAN REFUSED TO OPEN HIS EYES: assemblage

This man refused to open his eyes
to the possibility of a different kind of life.
He remains imprisoned
by the same old patterns
that got him here in the first place.
Trapped by his unwillingness
to make a change.
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Assemblage box: How to

Step one Find a suitable box: old wooden whiskey crate

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Step two:
Cover the box inside and out with old papers…in this case city plans from an old atlas and an old french document from 1868

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Step three:
Gather found objects and ephemera that suit the theme or idea
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Step four:
Make shelves to fit chosen objects
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Step five:
Affix shelves and main image (mug shot from the 1920s)
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Step six:
Affix found objects
beach combed door handle, padlock, key, metal arrow tag, safe dial, glass eye ball, fishing hook, mouse trap, wooden castor

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MOTHER : collage

Old family photos and keepsakes languishing in the bottom drawer, treasured yet rarely viewed. With a little imagination and some help from Photoshop, you can easily create something worth hanging on your wall that has meaning for you.

My mother and her pal at 8 years old in 1933. In the back ground I layered a picture of my great grandmother’s house from the turn of the century with two pages from my mother’s autograph book from 1937.  One page from her own mother and one from her pal Mae.  I decided to chop the photo to allow the word mother to peek through. There are in fact the three generations of mothers represented here.  I scanned all the  documents so I did not actually chop the photo and still have all the original family documents.

My grandmother’s message to my mother 

Dear Shirley,

You will pass through this world but once. Therefore any good that you can do or any kindness that you can show to any person, do it now. Do not defer it nor neglect it. For you will not pass this way again.

Mother

My mother at aged 21. My father was courting her. He loved this picture and kept it on his night stand all through their married years. In the background I layered a letter he wrote her during their courtship with a picture of my father and his cousin building the house that was to become our family home. This piece represents both my parents and our family home. I use Photoshop Elements to layer pictures and text. I like that I can choose the opacity and light in the layering.