Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Crow Box, or A Crow Named Charley

Last summer I was reading “As The Crow Flies” by Jeffrey Archer, and I inadvertently left it out in the rain. I hadn’t gotten into it yet, so I decided to leave it outside and see what would happen. After more than a year out under the dripping gutter it started molting. The cover had turned into a warty rotten thing, but you could still read “The Crow” in the crusty paper. As the pages got crumbly, I tore them out and dried them.

I had purchased some old wooden boxes from a former antique dealer, and one had captured my imagination. I started to formulate the crow box in my mind. I found a perfect scrapbooking paper for the background-turquoise swirlies with a flocked brown tree on it. As it was nearing Halloween, I was able to find a fine feathered crow at Michael’s. With a found crow feather, the book cover fragment, various cutouts from a bird book, and other collected objects, the lid came together, then with wisteria vines and shredded print from the book, I formulated a nest. Crows are collectors of shiny things so I gave him a key, some pull tabs and bottle caps and some shiny silver thread. The paper shreddings were all about Charlie, so I call the piece “A Crow Named Charlie”.

This is the first truly multi-dimensional piece I’ve produced. I liked it so much that I made more shadow-boxes, including miniature ones with some of the same features as the crow box. I’m moving into a form of art called assemblages.

When I was in Portland, Oregon last spring, I was fortunate to meet a collage artist who does wonderful assemblages. Her name is Judy Vogland, and she showed me around her lovely arts and crafts style home, which was filled with her art. She also showed me her studio, the whole second floor of the house, with a balcony overlooking the neighborhood and it’s lovely gardens. Her work so inspired me that I came home with new hope for my future art. When my brother Richard gave me a birthday gift of the broken down bits and pieces of an old pump organ, I was in Heaven!  And Jim gave me a rotary tool that cuts, carves, sands, drills, etc. Dave keeps me supplied with feathers, rocks and seed pods. I’m always on the lookout for paper wasp nests and birds nests. People often give me odd things, saying, “you’re so crafty, you’ll find something to do with these.”

I admire the work of Joseph Cornell, Tim Holtz, and Michael deMeng (Secrets of Rusty Things), along with the great mixed media artists in the Somerset Magazine series. Look through the Blogs I Follow for more multi-media art. My goal for 2010 is to open an Etsy shop and offer my work to you. Meanwhile, I’ll keep you posted on my progress!

From an old cereal ad, “The best to you each morning” and throughout the day!


  1. I'm so glad that I found your blog, Sherry. You are sharing just the kinds of things that make my heart go pitty-pat. I love what you've done with Charlie! :)

    I tried making a 2D collage this week. Goodness, I don't think I have a clue of what I'm doing, but art is play, and with play there are no mistakes - only learning and fun. I copy/pasted the artists you mentioned into Google & will go take a look.

    I'm looking forward to following your progress!

    Happy Fri.

  2. Dear Zuzu,
    Thank you for your sweet compliments. I am sure enjoying blogging. Last night I stayed up till 2 doing just that. Maybe coming up with a new look?
    Anyway, I don't know what I'm doing either, but it's always fun to spread out the stuff all over the room and see what goes with what. Old pictures and things have such wonderful stories to tell!

  3. Your crow assemblage is gorgeous Sherry!!! I love making assemblages too...they are like a puzzle and when you finish you can truly see the entire picture ~ I love that you used the aged book pieces! Don't even hesitate to open your Etsy store, it's really easy!! xxoo, Dawn


Please stop in and say Hello ~ I love to hear from you, my friends!