Octo goodness

Almost a year and a half ago I sculpted a handful of sea creatures patterned after a set of U.S. postage stamps that I found in my collection. One of the adapted creatures was used for a deep sea commission I did entitled "Viperfish".

Eve Lynch - "Viperfish"

Eve Lynch - Viperfish closeup
I had a ton if mismatched clay colors and wanted to rid myself of it all so I whipped up a bunch of ocean dwelling animals. This is "Viperfish" before painted.

Eve Lynch
I've been away from sculpting sea creatures for a while and my octopus sculpture was crying out to be used in a piece of art. I finally got around to making him into something!

Eve Lynch - "Cthulhu Embryo"

He's definitely a crossbreed. The top portion of him is patterned after a jellyfish at the beginning stages of life. I couldn't resist adding some tentacles and those stalk eyes...so he became a cephalopod, of sorts.

He's the size of a baseball card but has lots of colorful details sculpted onto him. The background is made from black glass that is super reflective and those stars are made from iridized pink glass. They shimmer!

He's available to purchase in my Etsy Shop. The artwork is entitled "Cthulhu Embryo"...Lovecraft's legendary monster was a bit of an inspiration here.


Photos of the completed Alice in Wonderland sculpture

Just shipped my Alice shoe to my client in Canada. Here are the results of the sculpture.

The grumpy caterpillar side...

[The caterpillar was sculpted out of white polymer clay and hand painted. His eyes are color shifting dichroic glass bubbles.]

© Eve Lynch 2012

© Eve Lynch 2012    
Detail shot of the heel...

© Eve Lynch 2012

© Eve Lynch 2012

 The funky mushroom side...

[The mushroom and the caterpillar creature were sculpted from white polymer clay and then hand painted. The caterpillar creature is embellished with hot pink feathers and faux fur.]

© Eve Lynch 2012

 The mushroom stem features several eyes made from color shifting dichroic glass bubbles.

© Eve Lynch 2012
Closeup of the caterpillar creature...

He was originally supposed to be a butterfly version of the grumpy caterpillar on the opposite side of the shoe but once I started finishing him off, he took on a life of his own and became this feather-headed critter.

© Eve Lynch 2012

 And here is the completed shoe - side by side...

© Eve Lynch 2012

© Eve Lynch 2012

Now I'm ready for my next shoe sculpture!


Alice in Wonderland...the shoe!

A few years ago I bought a pair of oddly shaped boots from a clearance rack. I just knew that the shape of the shoe would make a great sculpture someday and I've been saving them for a project ever since.

After covering the shoe with plaster strips I found that I had a little "shelf" built into the top of the shoe. I had originally planned to create a coral reef inside there but inspiration hit me one day when I saw some images from Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland movie.

I've been working on the Alice shoe for a few weeks now. Here's a little bit of the progress...

I started by covering the toe with a black and white diamond pattern to mimic the tile floor seen in some of the Alice in Wonderland shots.

© 2012 Eve Lynch
Keeping the pattern straight along the edges of that toe was tricky. It reminded me why I don't normally work with geometric shapes!

I also sculpted a caterpillar using polymer clay to one side of the shoe. His eyes are small dichroic glass bubbles that I sculpted into his head.

He had several different looks before I settled on this one, including horns and just two eyes instead of the three that are pictured.

I also sculpted a large mushroom on the other side of the shoe. I was inspired by a movie poster that showed Johnny Depp (as the Madhatter) standing underneath a giant mushroom.

© 2012 Eve Lynch
The weird little creature sitting on top of the mushroom will be a caterpillar that has morphed into a butterfly...similar to the one on the other side of the shoe.

I have always been inspired by fantastical worlds where mushrooms and plants were gigantic and people or animals were living among them.

The movies Fern Gully (my favorite!) and Avatar have more than enough inspiration to go around in this department.

I have to admit that I am NOT a big Alice in Wonderland fan. I've never read the books and barely sat through the Tim Burton movie without wanting to run out. The story is incredibly blah to me but the imagery created for Tim's version of the movie inspired me to become interested.

I found myself focusing on the details of the plants and the characters rather than paying attention to the storyline. Besides, the debate over the meaning of the story irks me. LSD trip or fairy tale? I mean, come on, who cares?

Painting the sculptures takes a long time because there are layers (and layers) of paint that have to be applied before I get to the point where the creatures look realistic. This is after a few hours of layering. Still looks pretty flat here.

© 2012 Eve Lynch
I kept working on it until I had much more depth and then I sealed the finished sculptures with floor wax. I have used acrylic paint sealer in the past but it ends up feeling tacky in the end and I had to scrap the practice.

© 2012 Eve Lynch
© 2012 Eve Lynch
© 2012 Eve Lynch
Here's my favorite part of the shoe so far...the caterpillar! He looks like a grumpy old (sweaty) man.

© 2012 Eve Lynch
I wanted to fill the area around the sculptures with millefiori so I bought a bunch of white assortments and mixed them together to get something that looked like it would be found in a garden. I even found the coolest (and tiniest) skull murrini slices on Etsy.

They are pretty hidden amongst the rest of the millefiori but when you look hard enough you'll find them. I kind of like the way that they are "lost" in there.

I surrounded both sculptures with the white millefiori and plan to fill the rest of the space around them with black glass. Here's a close up of the caterpillar body...

I still have to complete the heel - I'll be using black iridized glass for some punch and then I have to fill the rest of the shoe.

I had a whole little vignette sculpted out for the top of the shoe. A mix of hearts and weird plants and things but it was out of proportion with the rest of the shoe so I scrapped it. I sculpted some teetering tea cups that fit the space better. They just need to be painted and affixed to the "shelf".

The caterpillar will have some colorful hairs sprouting out of his back and some green grass will hopefully be appearing here and there if I can find a suitable source for faux fur...or something similar.

The shoe is tentatively sold to a client who is wintering in a colorful locale. Can't wait to finish this baby! It's going to be hard to part with it!


Pinterest Etiquette - To clarify

 I had a comment on my last Pinterest post that I just had to respond to. I agree with the commenter (mostly) but wanted to follow up a bit more.

The commenter stated:
"the terms of use on Pinterest is to NOT use it as a platform for your marketing purposes. I almost feel embarrassed when I see someone pinning their own business/artwork. Its not what Pinterest was intended for."

I am aware that Rule #3 of the Pinterest Etiquette states:

Avoid Self Promotion

Pinterest is designed to curate and share things you love. If there is a photo or project you’re proud of, pin away! However, try not to use Pinterest purely as a tool for self-promotion.

With that said, I've only pinned about 10 images of my artwork and I tend to only use a credit link stating the artwork title and my name. No flashy comments like "buy my fantastic shit" or anything and I hide the pins within my boards.

I kicked around the idea of creating a special board for my artwork but I felt weird about it. I have a link to my website in my profile and if people are interested enough in my pin collection as a whole (which is awesome, by the way), they have a way to find me.

I did have an inquiry on my website from a Pinterest user asking about a particular piece of art that was pinned but I'm not even sure if I was the one who pinned it or if someone else had and I just repinned. The whole process is a bit OCD over there and you can get lost in the flurry of pinning and repinning.

Either way, my artwork is out there and it's beyond helpful to see the comments that pinners post when they repin. It's really the only completely honest feedback that I receive as an artist because pinners usually aren't thinking that the artist will come upon their pin and therefore they are brutally honest.

Those are just my thoughts on it.

As far as self promotion goes, I *never* use the price tag feature. It's tacky and I hate it. Yuck. If I repin something that has the price banner slapped across the upper left corner, I remove it! Simple as that. I'm pinning because I love something, not because I want someone to see how much it costs.

I know of artists that are using it and I feel like it's a personal decision. Everyone does things differently and my way isn't any better than yours. One way simply works better for me and my way doesn't include a big ugly price banner.

Obviously there are a lot of folks that don't read a website's TOS when they join and are probably unaware of the fact that Pinterest is supposed to be for promoting others or plugging cool things from the web. It's a visual collection of awesomeness and wasn't intended to be another place for artists and businesses to sell themselves.


Giant brands are getting into the game and one has to wonder what their intention is. I'm only following one big brand, Kate Spade, and their/her/its pins are more related to trends then self promotion.

I think there is definitely a way to harness Pinterest for its marketing value without being a complete dweeb and I'm sure to figure it out eventually. In the meantime, I'm very interested in hearing all of the points of view about this. There is something to be learned from all this, for sure.

Pinterest: Protect YOUR intellectual property

Pinterest is proving to be a force to be reckoned with. 

I joined a few months ago and pinned a few photos of my artwork and I have already seen crazy traffic to my website because of it. The site is the #2 referrer of traffic to my main website and my Etsy shop shows similar results.

You just can't ignore that.

According to this article on Mashable, Pinterest has 10.4 million registered users and brands like Kate Spade, Etsy and Threadless even have accounts. When big name brands get involved you can assume that it's time to pay attention.

I certainly have been.

Right now I'm using Pinterest to collect images of things that inspire me. Mostly skull related, some octopus stuff and tons (and tons) of interesting jewelry finds.

One of the things that I have noticed about Pinterest is the potential for any artist's intellectual property to be abused because of pinners who either aren't crediting the creator of the image or who have pinned the image from Tumblr, one of the worst offenders of uncredited images.

Tumblr is a social blogging platform that consists of thousands of blogs that post images of artwork, photos and the like. The images get "reblogged", similar to "repinning" on Pinterest, only Tumblr posts generally don't link back to the original website.

In short, the creator of the image never gets credited. That sucks.

Being an artist myself, I've gone out of my way to try to find the source of the image and to include a credit to the artist or photographer. I'd want someone to do it for me.

While Pinterest represents a new frontier in social sharing, it does open up a can of worms that needs to be dealt with. The intellectual property rights issue is not going away and the sooner that everyone is educated on how to share images in a kinder way, the better.

There is nothing more aggravating than finding your artwork pinned into a user's DIY board or finding a comment like "gotta try this" etc. There is nothing wrong with being inspired by someone's art but copying it just isn't cool!

And lastly, my biggest pet peeve with Pinterest is when a user repins and leaves my personal comments in their repin. I can understand it if you agree with what I'm saying, but a little bit of originality goes a long way!


Pinterest: Craze or Crazy?

Yeah. I admit it. Pinterest is a black hole that I've fallen into more than a few times, only to emerge a few hours later.

The website touts itself as a "virtual pinboard". A place to store all the visual things that make your heart sing. Art, fashion, design...whatever floats your boat.

When I first discovered Pinterest I looked around and left, not understanding exactly what was bothering to figure out what was happening. The next few times around, I discovered a place that was filled with amazing visual images. I still didn't quite get it but it became obvious that the object was to pin everything in sight.

Source: cheezburger.com 

In the process of pinning, I discovered artists that I would never have come across otherwise. I found some really good recipes that I've actually tried to make (somewhat successfully) and I have learned that I don't have to save bookmarks on Firefox anymore...at least not for art. I'll just pin them instead.

Pinterest just makes sense and appeals to the visual side of my personality (which is about 95% of me). I'd much rather pin a photo of something awesome than just a click the little bookmark star and have the amazing thing get lost in a sea of boring bookmark descriptions on my computer.

Getting used to Pinterest is a little tricky, especially since it is different from everything else out there but it's easy to grasp once you dive in and try it out.

Example of my Pinterest boards

Since Pinterest is fairly new to most people and still not as well known as some of the other social websites like Flickr, Tumblr or StumbleUpon, it has generated some concern from artists trying to enforce copyright on their artwork.

Once a user installs the "Pin It" bookmarklet on their browser toolbar, he/she can pin almost any image that is on the web. There are some exceptions, like photos from Facebook profiles, and some websites that use Flash or slideshows to showcase artwork but generally anything and everything is pinnable.

Obviously, the designers of Pinterest must have anticipated some irritation from people who don't want their images pinned so the website has designated some rules of etiquette. Generally speaking the rules state that you should credit the source of the image/artwork and try to link to the originating website.

Here's an example of a pin. I did some quick research to find out who the designer was on this piece of jewelry and then repinned it. The link under the photo is linking to a Tumblr blog where the image was found. The links don't always go to the source of the image or originating website of the artist but it helps if you want to track the artist or designer down.

FYI: Images that have been pinned from Tumblr most often lead to purgatory. There are usually no sources named and the image has been reblogged by millions of teenagers at least 100 times over.

On the heels of SOPA, maintaining control over images and content has become a hot issue. (When isn't it artists?)

Recently Pinterest has come under scrutiny on CMA, a members only forum for mosaic artists.
The website hosts a photo pool filled with over 25,000 images of members' mosaic creations and the concern is that the images would be pinned from the photo pool without the permission of the artists. Pinners who attempted to follow the link included with the pin would be led to a sign in page which they would be unable to access.

A website wide policy in regard to Pinterest was enacted to educate members about pinning images on the private website stating that "images should be pinned from the artist's website, not directly from the CMA photo pool, and that permission should be granted from the artist before pinning."

Personally, I probably won't go so far as to ask an artist permission before pinning their artwork, from CMA or anywhere else. However, I will credit the artist and link directly to their website. After all, I'm an artist too and I understand the copyright issue and respect any maker's rights to their creations. If an artist or photographer is still uncomfortable with their artwork being shared, I'd remove the pin.

Seems logical.

Stay tuned for a post on Pinterest Tips and Tricks!


Work of Art: Season 2 - Newspaper art challenge

Yeah. I don't have enough to say about the art in this episode to string together a coherent post. 
[I'm underwhelmed.]

I do love the fact that Bayete was honest enough to admit that his artwork was thrown together and that he would have felt weird if someone else would have been voted out instead of him.
Although, I was really looking forward to the concept of it when he first got the idea!
On another note, I'm beyond confused about why Young continues to win. The judges seemed to be explaining the artwork for him. I just didn't see it.

Beyond that, I am so psyched about the street art challenge next week! Too bad Tewz left early.


Work of Art - Season 2: Kid art challenge

I love kid art so I was super excited when I realized that the artists would be interpreting artwork made by elementary school students. I have to admit that I was a little disappointed with the adult work and found the kid's work to be much cooler.

[Surprise. Surprise.]

I recently spent two weekends supervising a ton of kids making mosaic butterflies using craft foam and I can only say that I was floored by the way that each kid interpreted the materials. I am convinced that kids know better than most adults when it comes to creativity. They don't need to research ideas before they start making art and their creative genius is attributed to having a childlike imagination.

Isn't that what every artist wants to be? A creative genius with a childlike imagination.

Hell, I do. Society beats the individuality out of most of us and kids seem to be the only human beings that maintain some level of self...at least until they reach middle school.

© Sucklord / Bravotv.com
Case in point: The Sucklord's wonky tree sculpture. Not necessarily a brilliant work of art but I did love the concept. I may have to try sculpting foam like that for a giant mosaic sculpture one day.

The kid's artwork, shown in the background, is so much more interesting. Every school should have giant pieces of artwork like that hung in the classrooms and hallways.

Kids use color with abandon and aren't afraid to draw what they have in their head. They don't care that Simon de Pury is going to tell them that their work of art isn't working.

I continue to find the work that the artists are creating a bit boring. I am more intrigued by the messages that they are trying to get across or by the idea that sparked their creative process.

Artwork isn't just about the visual representation of an idea. Most often, for me, I feel like the back story is just as important.

I've heard people say that they would rather not know about the story behind a piece of art. It turns them off and they lose interest in the work. I'm willing to take that chance because the idea and the work go hand in hand. If you cut off the emotional appeal behind the creation, you're left with a lovely dust collector.

© Tewz / Bravotv.com
I was sad to see Tewz, the street artist, go. I would imagine it is hard to translate graffiti into artwork in this type of competitive setting...especially with art critics micro-critiquing your work.

I don't care what anyone says, street art radiates an amazing sense of freedom and is more inspiring than most art that I've seen hung in galleries.

Don't agree? Check out this crazy array of street murals.

I was glad to see The Sucklord step up and stand up for Tewz when the critics were crushing his concrete GROW sculpture. That took some guts...and a very strange haircut.

I continue to like Kymia. She is genuine and her artwork has been among my favorite since the first episode. Michelle is just pissing me off. I'm glad she has the gumption to be herself and make art that is unusual, however I just don't connect with her kind of crazy. Love her paper sculptures, hate her inner world.

[Opinions, every one has one.]

There have been several spots of weirdness on each of the episodes so far. Young leaping around in his underwear and 80's style tank was definitely up there and Sara's crying jag was so bizarre. That's two uninhibited break-downs in less than four episodes.Is there something in the water?

[This is getting a little long-winded...]

© Dusty / Bravotv.com
Dusty's winning piece was awesome. I love everything about it...especially the interactive nature of it.

And it started me thinking about ways that I could adapt that type of functionality into a mosaic work.

Too cool.


I'll leave you with this: Jerry Saltz commented on his blog about having SJP as a guest judge. He said...

"Sarah Jessica Parker was one of the sweetest, most articulate, perceptive, sensitive, smart guest judges we've had on the show. She spoke more clearly about art than most people in the art world do."

Perhaps that is because she hasn't been polluted by the ideology that exists in the art world? I love that she supports keeping art in the classroom. The United States needs a resurgence of art in schools. Period.

What are you opinions, critiques and comments?


Friendly Forest festivities report

For the last two weekends I have been volunteering at the Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium for the center's annual Halloween event, Friendly Forest.

The property is decked with Halloween decorations as the center welcomes younger visitors and their families to trick or treat and spend the day doing eco-crafts and playing Halloween themed games.

Armed with two volunteers, I helped kids create butterfly mosaics using craft foam. The activity was fast, fun and simple...all the makings of a perfect take-away craft.

Here are examples of some of the butterflies that came out of the project, but were sadly left behind. The robot in the bottom left hand corner was created on the fly after receiving a few protests from boys who apparently believe that butterflies are for girls. (Don't tell that to all the male Lepidopterists out there!)

Our craft tables were packed throughout the day and we went through over 300 butterfly templates.

Butterfly mosaics craft table
Butterfly mosaics craft table
Butterfly mosaics craft table
Butterfly mosaics craft table
There center's Junior Naturalists and a venomous snake expert were on hand with live animals throughout the day.

Here is the center's little alligator Spaz visiting with some kids as they completed butterflies at my table.

Kids visiting with Spaz, an American Alligator

I was captivated by Spaz's eye. A fine example of Mother Nature's art!

Spaz - American Alligator
Later in the day my son and Melinda, Calusa's Wildlife Director, fed the center's large American Alligators raw chicken in front of visitors. Feeding time is always a bit hit and a chance to remind visitors NOT to feed wild animals, especially ones that have giant teeth.

You can see the large male alligator, Al, in the center of the photo. I wasn't able to get closer to him, for obvious reasons. 

One of the most interesting aspects of volunteering with the kids was watching how they approached mosaicing. All of them had little to no experience with mosaic art and I was amazed at how each one seemed to have their own individual style.

Many of the styles mimicked the approaches of  "real life" mosaic artists that I know.

There were a bunch of kids that used triangle tiles to fill in the design...

And there were lots of kids that stacked the foam tiles to create a pattern...

It was refreshing to see creative thinking that was not tainted by education or adult instruction. They hadn't read any of the how-to books and therefore didn't know that they were doing it "wrong". So strange (and unfortunate) how kids brilliant ideas are squashed by those that "know better".

I've made myself a promise to not teach the creativity out of any of the kids that take my mosaic classes. No rules = right.


Work of Art - Season 2: Pop art challenge

So yeah...

Not quite sure what to say about the pop art episode. I'm kinda underwhelmed.

The winning piece by Young didn't really stir my senses. I mean, it's a computer graphic printed on canvas and stretched over a large frame. So what?

© Young Sun / Bravotv.com
Here's my crappy rendition of it...not fantastic, but it took me all of 5 minutes.

The Sucklord's Charlie Sheen inspired piece was, again, hard for me to get excited over. His idea may have had merit but he lost me when he filled dollar store hand soap bottles full of red liquid to create tiger blood.

© The Sucklord / Bravotv.com

I was surprised to learn that the guy is 42! He is definitely an 8 year old trapped in an adult's body.

So much of the artwork seems to be conceptual and it kinda seems like many of them have just given up with trying to do something amazing. Using photography, especially when it isn't your typical medium, is the easy way out.

The more I watch this show, the more I realize how much I hate themed art exhibits. I understand why galleries choose to host them, but you end up getting artwork that is coaxed around a hokey theme rather than getting really great art.

I'm hoping to really be inspired by something this season...and so far I'm not.

On a darker note, Kymia's story about how her father died was heartbreaking. OMG that was hard to watch.

Hoping for more excitement next week!



Pop art overhaul?

On tonight's episode of Bravo's Work of Art, artists are challenged to "create a piece of POP art that captures the popular culture of their time as effectively as Warhol did. Celebrity culture, music, and reality TV are all fair game."

I'm intrigued as always but recognize the difficulty of creating artwork that is inspired by an art icon. I'm betting that there will be bold colors and lots of ridiculously unrelated subject matter.

Stay tuned for my scathing critique of the artwork. It's so much easier to talk smack about art than it is to create something amazing!


Butterfly crafts for kids at the Calusa Nature Center!

This past weekend I volunteered at the Calusa Nature Center's Friendly Forest event; a kid friendly Halloween celebration.

Myself and a few volunteers helped visitors create butterfly mosaics using craft foam. We set tables up right alongside The Butterfly Project art installation and provided foam shapes for visitors to use as tiles.

The project was super easy, required little instruction and was simple enough for young kids with a short attention span. After all, there was a bounce house, face painting, Rita's Italian Ice and a handful of Junior Naturalists wandering around with live animals...plus several other eco-crafts to complete for prizes and candy.

My table was full for most of the day and I found it so interesting watching how the kids went about making their butterflies. I saw many different approaches to making mosaics. Creativity is a puzzling thing! No two kids had the same method.

I had one family that sat at the table for over an hour making their butterflies. This family rocked this craft out! The parents both had stellar butterflies when it was all said and done. They definitely had some mosaic mojo going on.

Here's an example of one of the butterflies that visitor made. There were many other excellent ones but I didn't have time to stop and take photos of all of them. Maybe next weekend.

Here's some more photos from the event:

(in yellow shirts) Junior Naturalist volunteers, Melanie K., me; photo © Virginia Burford    

Strawberry Shortcake with Buffalo Bill the Sulcata Tortoise, photo © Virginia Burford

Devon, the Calusa Nature Center troll
And of course no nature center post would be complete without an obligatory photo of my favorite wrinkly slowpoke, Buffalo Bill...

Buffalo Bill, Sulcata Tortoise

I'll be back at the Calusa Nature Center this weekend for more butterfly making madness.
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