Sunday, February 10, 2013




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.
altered art
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.
Mini house
Small figures (human and animal) to alter      
Small hand saw or other cutting tool    
construction, found objects
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
Embellishments (optional)
House Beautiful
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.
mixed media, tute, tutorial
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
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Affix the inhabitant(s) inside or alongside the home, using a strong adhesive.
    5. Seal everything, inside and out, with a UV-protectant varnish.

    by Paula Guhin
    He's in the Doghouse Now!
    assemblage advice, tips
    There's a Fox in the Hen-house!
    create altered art
    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!                                                                                            
    Paula Guhin


    1. This is a great idea. I have just one or two birdhouses (wooden) that look like houses and I just might give this a try.
      Thanks for the tutorial and what products you used to achieve, as I call it, "the cuteness".

    2. This looks like a fun idea--I'll be keeping my eyes open when I make my thrift store runs!


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