Archives for September 2012

Kinetic artist is a Material Girl



Natural and painted paper.

The fun part of being a mixed media artist is the materials!  There are such a wide variety of materials that can be used and combined to create a sculpture.   Paper is a central element in my mobiles and sculptures.  I love its texture and translucency and of course it’s lightweight- perfect for mobiles.  Although I have created hand made paper in the past, for my current work I buy fine papers from Thailand and Japan in whites and off whites and then paint them with high quality Golden acrylic paints so they are fade resistant.

Paper with monoprints.

Monoprints are created from the residual paint left after painting a solid sheet, creating wonderful patterns and overlapping colors.

Next I sandwich two pieces of paper together with a polypropylene sheet in between.  This triple ply paper is super strong yet still translucent.  You can see the kozo fibers floating within the pulp even after it’s painted.  Light illuminates these fibers adding texture to the sculpture.   The next step is stitching or gluing the papers into forms.  This stitching adds another bit of detail allowing light to peak through the stitch holes in the paper.  The trick is always finding the right balance- in the design and the mobile.

Balls play an integral part in my kinetic designs too.  I think of them as adding the punctuation to a mobile or sculpture. I use everything from paper mache to wood and lead balls in my sculptures.  I’m always trying different set ups for painting them.  Tiny balls are sometimes hard to hang on to to.  Skewers come in handy for this job.  Another solution is to hang them on a wire to paint.                                                         







Other materials I like to work with are translucent vinyl, acrylic, wire and wood.  I’ve just purchased a sheet of perforated steel that I will be incorporating into a new design.  It has a light, see through quality even though it’s metal.  I hope to have photos to show you soon.

American Craft Show NYC – Here I Come

I just received notice that I was accepted into the American Craft Show NYC at the Jacob Javits Center

Blue Hole ©Patty Sgrecci, 22′ x 16″ x 6″

in NYC this fall.  Yippee! This is exciting news as I’ve never done a NY show and I’m eager to see what the response to my kinetic sculptures will be.  There are two other shows simultaneously running at the Javits: the Contemporary Art Fair NYC and Art Off the Main, a show of African, Caribbean and Latin American art.  This will be an art destination October 19, 20, & 21!   There’s lots to do between now and then as I work on new designs to unveil there.  Stay tuned for that.  In the mean time here is one of my recent kinetic wall pieces: “Blue Hole” made from foam board, wood, papers and fiber.  NYC, here I come!

Mobiles Installed for Emergence Show

Installing “Spin Dr” in The Great Hall

Two of my largest mobiles are now hanging in The Great Hall at One Hundred River Street, Springfield, VT as part of their Great Hall grand opening “Emergence” show.   Formerly known as the Gear Shaper building this factory  was the site where gears were machined from the late 1800s until 1960 when the company moved.  The building remained empty and deteriorating until 2008 when John Meekin and Rick Genderson bought the building with plans to transform it into a downtown hub.  They totally renovated it, turning it into a community health center with The Great Hall reserved for large public art works.  With 25′ ceilings this is a dream space for a kinetic artist.  The show is up until November 1st, so if you’re in the area stop in to see my two mobiles: Spin Dr and Jubilation.  Other artists exhibiting are: Rick Hearn, Scot Borofsky, Robert Carsten, Robert O’Brien, Oliver Schemm, Carolyn Enz Hack, Stephen Procter and Tapestry Weavers in New England (TWiNE): Suzanne Pretty, Betsy Wing, Sarah Robbins, Priscilla May Alden, and Eve S.Pearce.

What’s Hatching in Brandon?

Rockin’ Rooster © Patty Sgrecci

“What’s Hatching in Brandon?” is this year’s community art project for the Brandon Artists Guild, which I am a member of.  Stop by the gallery at 7 Center St. all summer to see all kinds of barnyard fowl sculptures and paintings donated by Guild members.  I have several carved and paper mache chickens and roosters on display, while they last!  Featured here is my “Rockin Rooster”  made from hand painted papers, wood, wire, reed, screen and paper mache.  Using a friend’s rooster as a model I hand painted and applied each feather!  It was fun looking for just the right color and texture to represent each feather.  Money raised goes toward local scholarships and maintaining the gallery.  This show runs through September 29th when it will end with a Silent Auction and Barn Dance at the Brandon Town Hall.   Auction preview at 6pm.

Applying For My First Grant

This year I attended the Haystack Mountain School of Craft for a 2 week session in metals with Helen Shirk, former head of the metals program at San Diego State University.  I have been wanting to incorporate sheet metal into my kinetic sculptures and Helen’s work inspires me.  She not only shapes metal but has developed techniques to add patinas and color with colored pencils!  It was a great class, but I came back to a studio with limited metal tools and supplies.  Enter the VT Arts Council’s

copper leaf with colored pencil

Colored pencil on copper

Creative Grant opportunity.  This is a grant of $3000. for time and supplies toward a new body of work.  It won’t pay for tools, but it will cover the expense of the copper, aluminum and also some special acrylic products I want to try.  Plus it will be a wonderful financial aid while I do the R & D with these new materials.  I’d like to incorporate metal into my public art and also create some small outdoor mobiles for my customers who ask.  I’ve never written a grant proposal before so this is another learning curve.  The deadline  is September 7th and the winners are announced in November.  Fingers crossed!