I made this tote bag for my cousin. She just went on a lifelong dream vacation to New Zealand (home of Middle Earth filming) and her boyfriend proposed in a very Lord of the Rings themed way. I figured I would be on-brand and make something showing off a quote that she associates with the story.
The holiday season so far has been crazy. So many projects all of the sudden and I ended up having to left some of them go. But here are the ones I actually got to:
Relieved to finally be at my parents' house without much more to do but wrap gifts!
At work, I sometimes have the freedom to do some design work. It started with the Calendar Wall in the coworking space, where we advertise upcoming events on magnetic panels. I would get up on a step ladder every month and individually write the month, days, and dates with paint markers. This became very time-consuming, so I created magnets for both the months and dates (the days shouldn't need to move, so those are written directly on the panels). I don't have photos of the final month signs, but we keep the 11 that are not being used in a portfolio in the team office. The June/July/August image includes three of the magnet signs.
There are also a few chalkboard paint walls, which we've used to advertise big events and keep team projects organized. I posted a time-lapse a little while back of that process. When I first started, I also made a task calendar with velcro detachable name tags. I've since remade the board with magnet strips.
Aside from that, occasionally I've gotten pulled into projects to design a card or a logo for an event or program. While most of my job is office related, it's fun to be able to incorporate my design interests here and there. :)
Over the last few years, I've used these two boys calmly playing as a visual shorthand for my artwork. They represent a playfulness and curiosity that I feel while making things, but that I struggle to find elsewhere. Where else can I freely play and experiment without fear of failure or consequence?
As an adult, years of making mistakes and learning to tame my expectations has narrowed my will to try new things, learn new things, and explore new places. I seek the comfort of the familiar and find it difficult to traverse into the unknown.
But when I was a child, the world was big and full of hope; not limited by caution. When I was four years old, my friends and I spent an afternoon plotting how to tricycle from New York to Florida. I told them that my family had done the drive a few times and it only took a couple days, and imagined us tricycling on the shoulder of the Virginia highway, small enough to squeeze by traffic jams. I imagined us pulling up to my grandparents' house and docking our bikes in the garage. I never considered that it was a 1,300 mile journey. I was disappointed when my dad chuckled that he didn't think it was a great idea.
The two boys above I observed playing in a sandbox in the Place des Vosges. While their guardian read the paper on a nearby bench, the boys faced a stone ledge and quietly played and built with the sand. I couldn't see what they were building, couldn't hear what they were saying, and I never saw their faces.
In literature, it is the protagonist's experiences and how they see the world that we relate to most - not their appearance. Their appearance is suggested, but ultimately they are invisible and our mind creates a rendering of them that is filtered by our own experience. In this drawing, the absence of a face and an expression offers the same loose definition, so that it is easier to project one's experience onto a group of characters and their relationship. And while we may not know what exactly these playmates are building because their bodies obscure their work, the viewer faces the world from their perspective and their imagination is triggered to fill in the blanks. Much like we used our imagination as children to dream big and see where we end up.
To me, I relate the boy in the yellow jacket to creativity. I imagine him sitting comfortably, looking out past the benches and trees and his mind traveling well beyond the park. I see the boy in the black jacket as the mind wondering whether to keep the imagination in check, but for now letting it roam free. He crouches, rather than nestling into the sand and getting too invested. In a way, I see the teetering back and forth of the brain while making something new, pushing past doubt, and deciding how to feel.
What do you see?
These wedding signs were designed by Catey's sister and we got them transferred to chalkboard panels with paint marker. Catey and Joe got married at the New England Aquarium, hence the penguin motif!
My brother Andy got married last week and I handled the place cards for the rehearsal dinner. Since Andy was in college, he's been a passionate "geocacher". For those of you who don't know, geocaching is an activity where participants hide a cache and chart it on an online database with rough geographic coordinates. The network of caches creates an ongoing scavenger hunt. To make the place cards more personal, each table was given a a site that was important to the couple and that site's geographic coordinates. Those places ranged from Fredonia, NY where they went to school, to the Buffalo Bills and New York Mets Stadiums, each of their hometowns, vacation spots, and their current home on Long Island. Guests found their name and corresponding coordinates on a card and then went on a mini geocache to find the matching coordinates at the correct table.
I was wrapped up in family visiting on the day itself, and completely forgot to photograph the cards as a group, but the staff did a beautiful job laying them out on an antique table with delicate candles in the entryway.
Photo of Kristine's place card below taken by the wedding photographers at Neal Urban Sudio.
Over the last few months, I've been giving this website a makeover. New slideshows, a home page, a news feed (this is it), new banner, new photos, etc. Here are some other changes I've made to the site, in case you were wondering:
Sometimes I like the look of an unfinished painting, even if it can't stay that way. In progress photos are also helpful in diagnosing where a certain aspect of the painting went wrong, or if I am toeing the line between done and overworking, so I take these pictures as often as I can. I sometimes have more than twenty of a single paintings and they start to look like a rather poorly made stop motion video.
Introductions to Sketchbooks
I have a lot of sketchbooks. Here you can flip through their contents, and read about them and how they came to be.
Blogs/sites from Kara Kuntz, Thomas Moran, Dave Douglas, Eggy Ding, Mary Misura, Sandy Lowden, Bonfire Blue, Emily Rebecca Dwyer, and Marie Komanecky. I've lived with all of these people at one point or another, and I love what they do.
Bye bye Ceramics
I took down my ceramic work because I haven't made anything ceramic in a few years now. I can do without the dust, but sometimes I miss slip-casting and sgrafftio decorating. Everything is archived here if you're interested: ceramics
Hannah Dunscombe is a painter and portrait artist based out of Mansfield, MA.