A little while back, I took part in a mixed media art challenge that was… well, a challenge!
You had to make a mixed media piece using 25 items from a list of predetermined items decided in advance. You were allowed to omit 2 items and use as much glue, wood, paint etc as you want.
Here is that list of 25 items:
- The letter C. The actual letter C and not something that starts with “C”.
- A piece of broken jewelry
- Toilet paper roll
- A feather
- Dictionary page
- A mirror
- A map or a part of a map
- Polymer clay
- A lock of hair
- A nut – Organic or not, the choice is yours!
- Hardware – nuts, bolts, screws, hinges etc
- Jigsaw puzzle piece
- An old paint tube
So, I decided to make a piece I call “Neighborhood Watch” with four birdhouses in a large tree. I was obsessed with tree houses as a kid and pretty much drew at least one a day for a year or two, so this piece reminds me of all those multiple little drawings. Although each bird house would have been a people house (physics schmysics).
The tree was made by constructing a rough body out of aluminum foil and then covering it with sculpey. I then added all the little leaves and houses and baked it, painted it and then started the fun part of adding all the little accessories and details. Each house is different and reflects the personality of each bird that would dwell inside. You have Miami Beach/Palm Springs birdhouse, the circus tent birdhouse, the family birdhouse and the starlet birdhouse. Let’s take a tour, shall we…
First, we have the Miami Beach/Palm Springs house. It has an art deco theme with pastel colors, a wavy “tile” roof, a little outdoor covered area and a shell out front to collect mail. It boasts one and a half square inches and has an open floor plan!
Inside the little dwelling is a tiny round mirror that I carefully glued tiny shells around. That covered the mirror and shell requirements.
The little shell mail box has two postcards inside. They are both tiny copies of postcards of famous people and their homes in Palm Springs. This shows Bob Hope and Dean Martin’s houses.
The little covered deck has shells around the top awning area and a colorful tiny map of Florida in the background.
Next, I made a little circus tent. The top of the tent has a little flag that was made from a copy of a dictionary page. I picked the definition for “happy” and “harpoon” just sort of sneaked its way in.
To the left of the circus tent is a little peanut with a gift tag that has a “C”. I had the idea that the bird living here was keeping the peanut as a gift for an elephant friend of his. This covered the nut and “C” requirements. It also covered the map requirement because that tag is a map of Disneyland!
Then, here’s the little family house with the addition and little swing which I made out of wire and sculpey. That was not easy to assemble!
The nest the little egg is sitting on is made out of Meg, our golden retriever’s, fur. That covered the “lock of hair” requirement!
The last house is the Starlet’s house. She has a two story house with a lace awning and glass glittered roof “shingles”. Pretty fancy. There’s a rhinestone decoration on the top of the house, too. There’s a picture of her little blue bird boyfriend in the front, and it looks like he left her a little Tiffany box by her front door. The Tiffany box is a glass bead, which covered the glass requirement. The lace awning covered the lace requirement, the glittered additions covered the glitter requirement, the rhinestone piece covered the broken jewelry requirement and the bird portrait covered the photo requirement. The glitter seen here is shard glass glitter from Art Institute glitter. I used Alexandrite and Blue Topaz . I love vintage glass glitter, it looks so fancy!
At the bottom right, there’s a little tiny tire swing made out of a toilet paper roll and covered in black beeswax. That covered two requirements.
It hung in the gallery at Artist Alley in Southern Pines, NC for about a month and now it’s home with me!
I really enjoyed this challenge… keeps your assembly items shopping list in check!