Using Found Objects: An Example

Maybe you remember back in January I shared a few pictures of recent found objects on my idea wall. So far, two of those scraps have made it into my artwork. This is the story of the cedar sprig.

idea board

I found the cedar spring on a morning walk. It was early January, so there were still Christmas tree remnants in the streets along with tinsel and the random overlooked  holiday decoration. Most of this I managed to overlook for the sake of a speedier walk, but the cedar sprig had such a nice shape, pre-flattend as it was by a few passing car tires. I picked it up and carried it home. Having learned the hard way (natural items like leaves and twigs lose color/contrast and become very brittle and hard to scan as they age), I scanned it into the computer BEFORE I hung it on the cork board.

I really loved the way its shape was both symmetrical and organic. You get the idea of a whole tree shape from just that one branch. Originally I thought maybe I’d use the sprig shape as a tree in a print, adding birds or fruit to its “branches”,  but first this found object wound up in a print from my September show at SEED. It started with a note I’d scribbled to myself:

notes i wrote to myself

As I started sketching, building a print around this thought, the idea of contrasting confinement and growth became my focus. I found the little cedar sprig again as I flipped through my found/scanned library and added it to my image. I loved how the natural shape and lines of the branch blended with the rough lines of the hand-drawn elements in the digital sketch. Everything fit together perfectly:

new/more friends - sketch

In fact, I loved the graphic impact of the cedar spring coupled with the text (taken from a keypad I ran across somewhere in my travels) so much that I ended up turning that one sketch into two separate pieces, both built around the idea of the note I jotted to myself in the margin of my notebook:

reset

instead

Two sides of the same idea… Or, two branches of it…  That little cedar sprig has come a long way.  I wonder where it will end up next.

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