I’ve blogged about my little shrine assemblages many times and I am happy to say that I am at the end of the exploration. This past month I used up the last of my little wooden plaques in the best set of shrines I have created to date!
The latest series of shrines are all dedicated to my love of dance, specifically tribal fusion belly dance, which I have been practicing on and off for the past 6 years. This last summer I jumped back into the practice and it has been so rich and fulfilling that I felt called to make art that came from the inspiration I feel from the colorful costumes and intricate dancing. I also want to shout out to my troupe, The Tribal Misfits, for being such fun to dance with and to my instructor Ashanti, who is one of the most creative people I have ever met. Thanks!
Creating the shrines boils down to three steps:
First I find and create the focal image for the shrine. For this collection I used stills from performances of myself and other troupe members. I started looking for fresh images but eventually came back around to using images from my elements series I created in 2014. I then set about watercoloring the dancing figures on watercolor, which is one of my most treasured art activities.
Second, I decorate the actual wooden part of the shrine. This generally involves a combination of decoupage, painting, and spontaneity. Decoupage is the lovely process of gluing papers and other decorative pieces to an object. I like combining handmade papers, tissue papers, and recycled clippings from cards, gift wrap, and other notions to create a blend of layers and colors. I also decided to spray paint some of the shrines, and also revisit some old patterns drawn on with paint pen that I loved back in 2014. I like all the different textures created from the different techniques.
Third, I put the two pieces together, integrating the dancing figures into the decorated shrine. This sometimes involves adding additional elements to blend the foreground with the background and other times simply means gluing the figure on top of everything to create a more bold composition. I have two of each figure in this series, which appeals to my sense of variety.
I was also pleased to resolve to shrines that had been lying around in my studio unfinished since I started working with them in 2014. They’ve traveled halfway across the country and back, and it feels so good to say with confidence that they are complete!