Monday, June 8, 2009

The "M4" Challenge

I know I've been away for months, but with good reason . However, I won't bore you with the details at this time. I haven't been able to do much art during this time, but I did participate in an exciting challenge a few months ago.

The Carolina Mixed Media Art Guild (CMMAG), of which I'm a member, presented a challenge to us: take a box of parts and create something. The challenge was titled the "Mixed Media Madness Mission-Art Possible", or "M4".

Photograph courtesy of: Frank Pierce

In January, those of us participating were given identical boxes containing 33 different items (some items were multiples, so we really had hundreds of actual pieces). The rules were very explicit - we had to use all the parts, but we could choose to exclude 2 items, and we could add 2 of our own items, plus we could use all the paint, glue, wire, inks, and glitter that we wished. We had almost two months, which sounded reasonable back in December when we signed up! But once we had the box in hand, two months didn't seem nearly enough time! What in the world was I going to make with all of this stuff? I had absolutely no idea where to start. For a good two weeks, I left the box open on the floor, glancing at it from time to time, hoping an idea would come. I'd handle some of the items waiting for something, anything to hit me. One day, as I sat staring at the box, I looked up and my eyes fell on a birdhouse my shelf, and an idea began to grow...

This is what eventually percolated from my brain:

Photograph courtesy of: Frank Pierce

I called it "Maison Sans Raison" - "The House Without Reason."

Photograph courtesy of: Frank Pierce

A more detailed shot of the interior:

In the photos below, note the sconces made from bullet casings and old flashbulbs...

And peering through the birds' holes on each end are the ghosts stirred up by the altering of this house (transparencies attached to the inside). The house and the transparencies are my 2 additions to this challenge.

When I'd done all I could do, I was left with: a plastic computer piece, a pen nib, a sewing bobbin, a key, and a metal connector. Not wanting to just glue these things randomly to the house, I decided to make them into a weather vane.

Would I do another challenge like this? Absolutely! It was THE most challenging thing I've done, but it was fun trying to make all those parts come together. But, the most fun part about the whole experience was when we took all of our creations to Artist Alley in Southern Pines, where they were on display all together. It was amazing to see how unique every piece was, considering that we all started with the same box of parts. To see all of the creative artistic wonders, go to the Carolina Mixed Media Art Guild blog, where 2 pieces have been featured every couple of weeks since the even in March.

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