: construction (as of a sculpture or a structure of ideas) achieved by using whatever comes to hand; also : something constructed in this way
Yesterday there was mention of bricolage on Seth Apter's Secret Sunday post. I decided to try my hand at it, using only scraps I had saved over the past few months and stuffed into envelopes. I have made backgrounds that use small scraps. I've even made fabric paper that uses small scraps of paper. I've made "serendipity squares." But none of these tell a story, which I feel bricolage does, especially when incorporating the "structure of ideas."
Here is my take on bricolage. It is my first piece and I tried to stay in a red/green/brown color pallette. I didn't want to add any color over the scraps. I especially chose not to dry brush over the entire piece, something I often do to bring it all together. For me, this piece was a challenge. I really liked how it turned out, although I had hoped to have several finished. Click for a better view and see how many scraps you remember.
And before you ask about my project I said I'd probably post on Monday that my friend Kathy and I worked on last Friday, here's the story on that. I have mine finished, photographed, and uploaded to ABC (altered book club yahoo group). However, many people still don't have theirs finished, and I don't want to add this project to my blog until everyone on ABC has had a chance to finish theirs.
Earlier in the day, I also decided to start another new project using security envelopes. I apparently didn't think the project through very well, as I often don't. I should have cut all the pieces the same size. This piece can be cut up (in fact, I only showed about half of it, since I couldn't get it to scan at a low res) and used in other projects, as I plan the next one a bit better and collect more security envelopes. I also had trouble with the tension on my sewing machine and had to sew the pieces on the wrong side, thus not being able to control color or matching very well. To make matters worse, I broke my thread at least six times, thus all the wisps of errant thread. At least doing this early in the day allowed me to regroup after I got discouraged with this piece on many levels.
Today I'm showing a web site featuring the Watts Towers. To me, these towers are the best example I know of bricolage. While on assignment for my former company back in the late 80s, I actually hunted the Watts Towers down and went to see them. People where I was working, and friends I had made, all told me not to go, it wasn't safe. It didn't matter to me. I'm glad I didn't listen to them. At the time, the neighborhood was in transition, having just been passed from the State of California to the City of Los Angeles. I was so glad I went when I did, because several events have happened since then, like the earthquake of 1994 and the Rodney King fiasco, that have caused changes to the area around the towers. When I first saw the towers, I was not a mixed media artist, but a mechanical engineer. As an engineer, I was impressed by the structures. From an aesthetic standpoint, I was disturbed. After perusing the web site today, I'm still disturbed by these towers, more from their design aestheics than anything else. If you are not from the Los Angeles area, or have never seen these towers, you owe it to yourself to check out the web site and pay particular attention to the "history" link. The 12 minute documentary, shot in 1957, is of particular interest, especially if you like history. This web site is not owned by the Watts Towers or Watts Towers Center, but by a private individual.
Now go have a bricolage kind of day.