A recent dalliance with Korean architecture combined with remembered designs and aesthetics inspired this new work, “Seoul Shanty.” I explored more deeply the concept of layering, using Work of My Hand’s “Bot” platform, and pushing the boundaries of dimension. “Seoul Shanty” is a glimpse through a latticed window into what might have been, built from my interpretation of what a Korean inventor and tradesman might dream up.
The work evokes a high-fidelity time when only top-notch quality products were available: heavy, sturdy, long lasting materials are harnessed and assembled with the utmost care and detail. Practical design and delicate beauty are combined in a functional device, at a cultural time when every element used had significance and a purpose. At this time, a simple item like a chair or a water pitcher would have been created with extreme intention.
In this case, what would have served as a working-class man’s work lamp, sturdy yet mobile, has a dignity, a regality even, that surpasses the transitory nature of its modern relatives. Materials include cement, zebrawood, mahogany, steel, leather, artisan paper, cloth wrapped cord, industrial casters.
To look ahead at 2013, let’s take a glance back at this 2012 issue of Mix Magazine, which featured Work of My Hands in the Technology Trends section for the new year! This section, according to writer Richard Prime, focuses on “interesting concepts and developments across design and architecture with a focus on technically adept solutions and design.”
Not only did our Kickstarter project in March of last year help us successfully raise the funds (through pre-sales and commissions) to launch the collection of artwork, but it gave us a larger, global audience to speak to about our work!
Work of My Hands received the following nod from the publication:
“Work of My Hands was formed by Rachel Eva and Shawn Michael and stands behind Electricity in Art: Sculptural Lighting, a project blending art, sculpture and design together with engagingly steampunk style results. Launched as part of the biggest art walk in San Diego in April, the one off pieces are striking in their blends of materials and ways of displaying and directing their light sources which look like they might sit perfectly happily in Captain Nemo’s Nautilus (and are therefore at the peak of desirability). Continuing our current era of Victoriana nautical influences, it’s a vibrant take on the form.”
Being based in San Diego, it’s no surprise that nautical elements influence our work. We’re not so drawn to watersports and whale watching as our visiting public; it’s mostly the ocean side rail yards, the shipbuilding industry, and the old piers and wharfs in some of the older beach communities that draw us to the sea. And the long, sweeping sand of North Island (Rachel’s favorite).
So take note: Nautical themes are here to stay for 2013.
Mix Magazine is a design publication by Global Color Research, based out of London, UK, which offers color research services, design trend forecasting, and sneak-peaks at new design products and concepts that are on the up-and-up. This section was published in Issue 28, which forecasts design for Spring & Summer of 2013.
I say that’s a great start to the new year!
Shawn Michael and I enjoyed a brief inspiration trip to the mountains this past month, and had an interesting conversation about what “Work of My Hands” is all about. We’ve been focusing fiercely on our sculptural lighting collection, exploring the theme “electricity in art” for the last year and a half. But we’re also painters, illustrators, photographers and printmakers. We garden and build things and cut hair. How aptly we named ourselves! Here’s a look at some of the other art forms we engage in:
During our stay in the mountains, I had fun with a little printmaking: a simple oak leaf found on the front steps of the cabin where we stayed. Those of you who supported our Kickstarter project also received a Thank-You Print for your support. Both of these projects used Shina plywood, a fine-grained wood from Hokkaido, the northern-most island of Japan. Printmakers can order this resource from McClain’s Printmaking Supplies.
Before we started building 3-dimensionally, Shawn Michael and I painted. We still do, and will continue to do so, but with all this electricity business I’d almost forgotten about our paintings until a friend called up and wanted to buy one for his apartment! We’ll be shipping “The Last Stair” to New York in the spring, and for the holidays, “Whitney” is on display at the Women’s Museum of California, in San Diego, at a show entitled “Capturing the Wonder of Women.”
Both of us enjoy making pictures, Shawn with his photography gear and both of us with instagram and iphone photo apps. You can follow us on instagram as @shawnmichaelm and @racheleva. I also have an instagram account just for exploring my love of textures, @texturestudy. Here are a few shots from our trip to the cabin last weekend
Stick around for a special post coming soon about how I think that Shawn Michael’s hairdressing business is also just an extension of “Work of My Hands.” He’s a crafty one!
If you’ve read our blog postabout the last Urban Tree we created and installed down by San Diego Bay, you’ll know that much of our inspiration comes during times of retreat, especially to open spaces in nature. I suppose our brains and hearts breathe a bit easier around all those trees. This past summer we were been busy making many things, but we also made a trip up to Yosemite National Park for a good dose of R&I (rest & inspiration).
Shawn Michael took some new gadgets for his camera, and I took a sketchbook and journal, but the most vivid images live in brilliant flashes of experience in our minds. Sadly, these are difficult to share with others, so some photos and words will have to do (for now). May this post give you a bit of inspiration, perhaps to go for a hike, or a drive to some spaces a bit wider and more open than our urban habitats.
On our first and last day in Yosemite, we hiked to the top of Sentinel Dome, the second-highest viewpoint in the park. It was our first hike after a 9-hour drive through the night, and what an exhilarating view we encountered at the top! On our last day, we said good-bye to Yosemite by hiking the trail again in the dark hours of the morning, and arriving on the solitary Dome just before sunrise (with coffee in hand).
I was fascinated by the textures I encountered on the trip. The massive granite cliff faces, the tunnel of pine needles on our way to Artists Point, the swirling summer grasses of the meadows, undulating in
gentle breezes. The day we went swimming in the pool at the base of Lower Yosemite Falls, the thrilling texture of my skin as the needling sheets of water pelting our frigid bodies left me wondering why more people don’t sit under natural waterfalls. The texture of soil, soot, and sand from our campsite did not thrill me – but the glorious cleansing after a dip in a river gave us all a more profound appreciation for a bar of soap!
Here’s a gallery of some of my favorite textures discovered in Yosemite. In a place that inspires with vast, dominant landscapes of gigantic geological forms, the miniscule happened to be just as
Every year in April, one of our favorite neighborhoods in San Diego has about 48 hours of crazy. Over 350 visual artists, accompanied by live music, food, and dance, come out to the streets of Little Italy for an all-out insane art festival. Paintings, sculptures, photography, drawing, encaustic, metalworking, textiles, ceramics, printmaking – you name it! It was there. It seems like every year, the event has something for everyone. And one of the best parts is that the artists are all there to speak with you in person!
Work of My Hands participated in the Mission Federal ArtWalk for the first time last weekend. We hoped to bring something to the event that hadn’t been seen before, and I believe we did just that.
Thousands of visitors stopped by our booth, drawn in by the hand-built wooden walls, the aroma of cedar and pine, and the exposed filament bulbs glowing from the interior.
We offered something new: Electric Art. Art to plug in and run a current through. Art with an on/off switch. When we told a 6-year old boy he could turn the art on, he looked over his shoulder nervously at his mother for permission, and with great focus and trepidation, reached for the switch. (more…)
A little over 3 weeks ago, we launched a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign to prepare for an art fair we will be exhibiting at during the last weekend in April. Making art can be really expensive! We’d been building the Sculptural Lighting collection for the past year, and until this point, our art had been completely self-funded.
We’d completed a few commissions, but they covered only a fraction of our total expenses. Looking forward at our semi-adequate shop, our need for materials, and the costs associated with an event we were tackling for the first time, we knew we wouldn’t be able to pull it off by ourselves.
We needed help. (more…)
… I just want your old one!
Most of us have been in an old worn-in tool shed before. You know, the air even smells worn in. The tools have a kind of wisdom, and if they could speak they would tell long interesting stories about their hard work and how well their owner treated them. Often there are old mason jars full of rusty bolts screwed to the ceiling, pegboard walls, beat up work benches, dirty aprons, scratched safety glasses and a paint splattered floor.
I’ve always thought that someday I would have my tools traced out on the wall like a meticulous, persnickety grandpa, but haven’t earned that title just yet. Garages and workshops have always held a special place in my heart – brilliant furniture has been made, cars wrenched and repaired, and broken items mended. The workshop is a place where ideas come to life… but the tools often outlive their owners.
Rachel and I are often hunting down used materials for our art pieces, but we also love old tools. Beat up, scratched up, paint chipped-greasy-old-nasty-heavy tools! We love ‘em.
We recently had the honor of visiting our family friends’ cabin in Running Springs. The owners had previously permitted us to “scrounge around” the workshop on site, and adopt any tools not currently in use for cabin maintenance. Their father, the builder of the cabin and longtime carpenter, had left a good number of hand tools around that we were able to save from eternal mountain loneliness. We also found a few interesting pieces of hardware from old machines that we have also been able to re-purpose into some of our artwork.
If you know of a tool collection left untouched and unloved, and don’t know what to do with it, donating it to Work of My Hands is an opportunity to resurrect those old tools, and make sure they will have a good home for many years. A tool working in the life of an artist is a rather exciting one.