HOUSE WORK: REMODELED HOMES
A HOW-TO ON CREATING AN ALTERED ART ASSEMBLAGE
|Abide in Me, by P. Guhin|
"House" and "home" are powerful words and potent symbols. They represent shelter and family, as well as a receptacle for connections. They are icons of domesticity, which we typically link with traditional values and with thoughts of our relatives. A home offers privacy, relief, and comfort. It's indelibly associated with childhood, marriage, and motherhood. This is all about the transformations I perform, making artistic statements, often with humor.
|The Perfect Couple|
Choosing a Home
The little, dimensional houses I find in thrift shops or secondhand stores always enchant me. These small home décor items pluck at my heartstrings. Some houses are wooden, others pasteboard, still others resin. It's easy to remodel them, while ceramic houses can be very challenging. I also like actual birdhouses, and I snap them up if they're replicas of "people" houses. Old cuckoo clocks would work well, but there is a scarcity of them. Of course you can build your own little house from foam core, cardboard, or wood. Craft stores and art suppliers sell mini houses, too.
Small figures (human and animal) to alter
Small hand saw or other cutting tool
|It's fun to match just the right head and body!|
Acrylic paints and mediums
Adhesive of choice (flexible modeling paste, heavy gel medium, etc.)
Decorative and found papers
Fabrics and trim
Sandpaper, file, or rasp
1. Cut a good-sized door in the front of the house, if necessary, or remove the front piece entirely. Sand rough edges as needed.
2. Decide: Will the finished piece be free-standing or will it hang on a wall--or both? Attach a base or a hanger to the back if you wish.
3. Decorate the inside walls and floor as you wish. Enhance the outside of the house as desired with paint, papers, fabrics, and found objects. Draw, stamp, or write on the piece, and indicate shingles, windows, shutters, bricks and more if you prefer. Be mindful of color harmony so that a pleasing scheme develops.
1. Select the house you will alter before you choose figures for it, to be assured of a good fit.
2. Craft supply shops have wee dollhouse furniture, and you can sometimes find tiny chairs at thrift stores, too.
Habitat for Human or Animal
- I like to acquire tiny figurines at thrift shops, especially if they're made of plastic, resin or a composition material that I can modify. Again, hard ceramic is not so easily transformed. Wedding cake toppers and small toy figures are excellent choices.
- Alter the figure or figures meant to "live" in the abode. Change out heads, add a hat, mask, or different ears, or place an object in a hand.
- Allow the adhesive you've used (to join parts) to cure thoroughly before painting it to blend in. Antique the figure with a wash of thin umber acrylic, especially if the face and clothing are much too bright for your taste. Let dry.
- Affix the inhabitant(s) inside or alongside the home, using a strong adhesive.
- Seal everything, inside and out, with a UV-protectant varnish.
|He's in the Doghouse Now!|
|There's a Fox in the Hen-house!|
|Consider creating a neighborhood on a single base.|
I make "house plans" when I visit the secondhand shops, and then I do my "home" work!