I don't know where to begin to tell you about my ornaments this year for the 12 Days of Christmas Exchange. here they are all wrapped up...
my gift wrap is super simple. and that's because i detest wrapping presents. i just hate it. it's right up there with folding laundry. that sounds terrible, i know.
don't get me wrong, i love a beautifully wrapped gift. but i hate wrapping a gift, especially a gift i have made myself. once i've made the gift i want to be done with it already.
i remember being a little girl sitting in the floor of my grandparent's house wrapping Christmas presents. i was terrible at it. i mean just awful. i'm sure i was raising a ruckus as i tried to do it properly (i still do). my grandfather sat in the floor with me and showed me how to properly fold the ends. at the time i remember finding it interesting and a bit flattering that my grandfather, who was probably wearing coveralls at the time, got down in the floor with me to show me how to Wrap a Gift.
that's the only nice thing i can say about wrapping gifts. it reminds me of my grandfather. outside of that, i still don't have the patience for it. :0)
but i do like doodling on the boxes to be mailed...
i started out with this sort of creepy snowgirl. but she took too long. so i edited her to a more cheery snowgirl...
she's throwing love on the girls in the exchange.
But what about the actual ornaments. Where to begin? I'll start with enamel.
I was taking a six-week enameling class when it came time to hurry up and get down to making something. So it seemed fitting to make something with enamel.
Now maybe someone else wouldn't dive into making something with a medium about which they are just learning. But that doesn't really ever occur to me. I like to play. I like to experiment. I like to push things up against the edge of being uncomfortable in order to move forward. Sometimes the results are risky but it is a good way to learn, for me. I don't recommend this for everyone but it is what I like.
Originally, I had many different ideas. I really wanted to make hands etched in brass with an enameled heart riveted in the palm of the hand.
I traced my son's hand for this one.
But holy cow! Cutting out little hands with a jeweler's saw and filing little hands and etching little hands is a heck of a lot of work! And I would still have to cut out, file, and enamel the front and back of all the hearts. We are a group of 13 girls in this exchange. That was just too much for me to do in a studio outside my house (I don't have my own kiln so I had to work where I was taking the class).
Then I was going to make tall thin enameled houses with a heart cut into the center of each one. I actually got all the houses cut and filed and began polishing them to receive the enamel. I enameled one and didn't like it very much. And every week we were learning new techniques and I would take off in a different direction leaving the house idea in the dust.
Then all the cutting and filing of the metal completely trashed my wrist. I couldn't do anything. And that week was when I really needed to be turning out the ornaments. The deadline was approaching. I started to panic a little bit.
It was during this time that the ornaments finally started coming around to what they ended up being. If you follow my blog you may have noticed that I've had a thing with rabbits this year. They started appearing with the mixed media piece I did titled, Be Who You Are (which now lives with my fabulous friend, Tamara).
I don't know where they came from at first (well i KNEW but i didn't Know), but they kept coming...
In different forms...
and different stories but with a purpose.
they were a metaphor.
a stand-in for someone/something else.
and so, all of a sudden, my ornaments turned into enameled rabbits...
and once they started coming, there was no turning back.
and they were a melancholy group, these rabbits.
all white with red eyes or blue eyes.
except one turned blue when i used regular white enamel instead of titanium white. nice. i kept him for myself.
they made me laugh out loud. they made me swear like a sailor a few times (don't get me started about how a couple of their faces melted off in the kiln).
they were cut from sheet copper, and drilled, and sawed with a jeweler's saw, and filed, and polished, and annealed, and pickled, and enameled fronts and backs, each in the kiln two and three times, then wired and given a special bit of yarn (special to the bunny and to me and especially special to my kitten, margo polo who helped a LOT with the yarn) with a bell. they needed a bell because bunnies get lost and they need a bell so they can be found because they hate it when they look up and discover they have lost their way. no one likes that.
and when i looked at a table full of their quirky grumpy faces, i burst out laughing. where did they come from? would they be loved by other people without my odd aesthetic? i won't get into the psychoanalysis of "what the rabbits mean". seriously, who needs to know all that, right? i need for things to be a symbol for something else. i need for things to make sense but still be hidden. that's how i am and how i work. it is important to me.
But, they can also just be rabbits. at Christmas. who look like they look but maybe feel something else. on the inside. like Merry. or Happy. or full of Joy. or slightly itchy all over. make up your own story. that's what it is all about.
Happy Christmas Little Rabbits!