Archive for ALTERED ART

Art Discovered and Recovered – Morwenna Catt

Posted in ART, ART DISCOVERED AND UNCOVERED with tags , , , , , on September 9, 2010 by echostains

Morwenna Catt

Anyone who is a regular reader of this blog has probably guessed that a lot of my posts are spontaneous and that the subject can be prompted sometimes by anything and everything.   Sometimes it can be the date of an artist’s birthday, or the subject of a poem or something I’ve seen or heard in the media and want to investigate.  Sometimes (like todays post) it is influenced by a comment someone has made.  The comment was made on artistatexit0’s great blog.  The post was about found objects – a lot of them being toys.  This brought back a childhood memory of the artist’s lost toy and I began to rifle through my mind for an artist whose work I either saw or studied a while ago, who used stuffed toys in her work which she x rayed.

Phrenology 111 Morwenna Catt

Further investigation revealed that the artist was Morwenna Catt.   She is an artist whose work confronts the emotional scars of childhood through a storytelling narrative via stuffed toys.  The toys are found objects which the artist has opened up – secreted with a ‘message’. sewn back up and then x rayed.  The results are startling and sometimes a bit disturbing.  Catt invokes a lot of childhood memories anxieties and trauma in these pieces using  the dog eared beloved soft toy  to convey this.

Morwenna Catt horse

Messages lie within these mute childhood toys – like the  horse which hides a key and padlock in its belly:- the message ‘betrayal’ is revealed in this x-ray photo on light box.  As well as the textile work, (the artist hand stitches these animals) Catt also works in 3D installation, paintings,  drawings and with light boxes.


The ‘wounded textile heads in her ‘Phrenology‘ pieces are based around drawings.  They show vulnerability and dysfunction, yet have a disturbing pathos.  this is what the artist has to say about her work:-

Childhood is a recurring theme in my work, I try to dispel Fairy Tale mythologies, stripping back to the bare bones of experience and uncovering some kind of underlying truth using personal narratives alongside subverted imagery. I use the familiar and the nostalgic as a trigger, but disrupt the reading. In recent works the family unit is transformed into animals, either drawn, painted or constructed as 3D textiles; malformed, battered and bruised to evoke the darker side of family life. I am preoccupied with our relationships to trigger objects, memory, nostalgia and psychosis.

 collective memory. The type from my old battered type-writer reminds me of discovering my mothers secret poems. The pattern of simple animal shapes on the Phrenology III head is taken from a 1970s toy pattern book and has that bitter sweet nostalgic quality. Modern life requires that everything is clean and shiny and safe, kitemarked and numbered, my work is the antithesis of this – its slightly grubby, pitiful in its hand-made grotesqueness, the threads hang loose and needles project dangerously from stitched mouths.” peoplesMy work is very ‘hand-made’ – it can look laborious and clumsy, scrawled with hand written text and the faded words from an old ribbon typewriter. I want the work to have a wounded ‘authenticity’ and try to use evocative image and text/process to tap into

Shot painting Morwenna Catt

There is  much, much more to this artist and her work.   She has undertaken many interesting  projects and is always coming up with new and creative ideas.  I’m so glad to have finally found her again!

Morwenna Catt website and gallery here I  Artist statement  excerpt from here.   Images from here and here
Interesting interview here



Valley of the Broken Dolls

Posted in ART, ART VIDEOS, LIVING IN THE PAST: NOSTALGIA, MY ALTERED ART BOOK PAGES, SCULPTURE with tags , , , , , on June 25, 2010 by echostains

GEM (truly outrageous) still beloved by my daughter

Inspired by artistatthexit0′ s latest post about the dolls he has found in the river, made me think about artist’s who use the doll in their work.  Of course Hans Bellmer and Cindy Sherman were the first artists I thought of.  Surrealist photographer Hans Bellmer (b.Germany 1902 – 1950)  used broken doll parts in a fetish like fashion to invoke disturbing ideas.

Bellmer doll

He  first sent these to the  Nazi party as a protest against their obsession with the perfect body.   He posed the dolls in mutilated, unaturalistic ways.  There’s a great article about this artist here.  The film below Le Jeux de la Poupee featuring Bellmer’s work is not for the faint hearted.  This film was made in 1940s, but I don’t know who the music is by.

Cindy Sherman (b.1954 New York USA) uses self photography to address issues about the roles of women in the world, and as artists.  This short film sees Sherman as a cutout doll with cut out clothes.  I think it ‘s such a clever film, making Sherman completely 2D – surreal as she gets to choose the outfits she will wear instead of them being chosen for her!

Here’s an artist who works with dolls and altered book.  Karen Hatzigeorgiou puts her dolls into her books literally!  All her dolls are found objects and she sells the finished work.

assemblage found arm

Bellmer doll from here Cindy Sherman video from “artpopulus and Bellmer video from artpopulus

assemblage with found object

Altered Book: Page 24 Pop goes Art

Posted in ALTERED ART, MY ALTERED ART BOOK PAGES with tags , , on October 16, 2009 by echostains

Here are the artists associated with my last altered book page 24.  You can see how I decided to take it to another level by playing on the words I had chosen;

page 24 door shut

page 24 door shut

“Pop says “We’re just going to have a little talk”

Therefore, why not let Pop talk?  Pop as a communication – art form or a movement.


Peter Blake collage

Peter Blake collage

Pop art first showed it’s face in mid 1950s Britain and the later part of the 50s in the US.  It goes against the tradition of fine art because it uses mass produced media and is more about techniues and re occuring themes in the mass media.  It was  used as a reaction against  abstract expressionism, using  advertising, comic, commercial and popular images.  It used reproductions and other techniques that take away the elitism about art.  It was a very mix and match, kitschy and eclectic sort of art.

warhol soup can..because he can

warhol soup can..because he can

Pop artist Andy Warhol made his advertisement based art  larger than life.  In fact he made everything larger than life, transforming the ordinary into the extra ordinary.   Brillo and Campbells soup cans became up to the minute images.  Peter Blakes, Britains formost Pop artist, drew from many sources: newspapers, advertisements, television, mass culture and  elements of collage.   With Pop art, the  paint  work was gloss, and the lines were clear.   Bits of Dadaism were thrown  into the mix too: the more the merrier it seemed, as long as it was fresh, modern,  commercial and now.

Hamilton collage

Hamilton collage

British Pop artist included Peter Blake, Richard Hamilton and David Hockney.  There are so many Pop artists that made a major contribution.  Many can be found HERE and HERE

It’s Back! Altered Book page 24 Waiting Behind the Door

Posted in ART, DESIGN, MY ALTERED ART BOOK PAGES with tags , , , , on October 14, 2009 by echostains

pages 23 and 24

pages 23 and 24

Yes it’s back (after 5 months absence) and I WILL finish it eventually!  I actually completed another page today and I fully intend to crack on with it.  One of the problems I have been turning over is how to display these pages.  I may do a slide show of them.  That may solve the problem of putting lots of links to different pages.  I don’t know yet, I will have to see.


page23 this tiny pocket watch image isn't part of this was on the scanner!

page23 this tiny pocket watch image isn't part of this was on the scanner!

I left off at page 23 and the installation/performance artist Mona Hatoum.

page 24 door shut

page 24 door shut

The muffled voice coming through the veil or a gag: communicating.  This has become a confessional, or a secret.  I bore in mind the text  ‘He heard the key turn in the door’  The cut out leaves are from some paper I have.  The idea to put leaves behind this door came from the opposite page (p.23) where the text refers to  them –

‘Back in his own room, he wound the tape back to PLAY.  Nothing for long seconds.  Then a rustling like leaves, then his voice wrapped up as if he was talking through cloth.’

page 24 open door

page 24 open door

I then threaded some beads on wire to make a ‘key’.  The text at the bottom says;-

“Pop said ” We’re just going to have a little talk”

What artist am I going to link to this page?  Well, it’s not going to be just one…’s going to be a whole movement!  And it’s got to be POP!

Continued tomorrow…

Media used; white  ink wash, acrylic paint, cardboard window, beads, wire,

More pages in my category section

In Search of the last book (again)

Posted in ALTERED ART, ART, DESIGN, MY ALTERED ART BOOK PAGES with tags , , , on September 13, 2009 by echostains

Just a quick post today before work.  Well, I don’t know how I do it, but I have lost my Altered Art book yet AGAIN!  This book is taking me years to do, as I keep mislaying it.  I haven’t done anything in it for quite a while.  I was trying to come up with an artist to match up with the words I had chosen.  I had also put a ‘door’ on the page, but couldn’t decide what to put behind it.  I will have a proper look tomorrow and see what I can do.  Meanwhile, here’s the last page I completed;-

page 22

page 22

and the next page;-

page 23 detail 2

page 23 detail 2

Aw, this has made me really nostalgic for it!  I must find it SOON!

Busy doing Nothing, or trying to at least

Posted in ALTERED ART, ART, HOME with tags , , on May 25, 2009 by echostains

p3 and the beiginning

p3 and the beiginning

The Bank Holiday weekend stretches out before me – and I don’t have to work!  There’s so much to do though on my blog.  I haven’ done an altered art page in my book for quite a while.  I have the next page set out (with a door in) but what to put behind the door….that is the problem.  It’s a shame because when I’ve finished that page, I only have 2 more and I have reached the end of my first chapter.

busy doing nothing just like Bing

busy doing nothing just like Bing

I may put a slide show to show the complete chapter.  I also need to put some more surfaces on, and I’ve got loads.  There’s some favorite art I need put on, as well as my own.  Yes LOTS to do…just a case of doing it lol!

Altered art book continued: Pages 21 and 22 The not so Hidden Gem

Posted in ART, MY ALTERED ART BOOK PAGES with tags , , , , , on April 16, 2009 by echostains



Continuing page 22 in my altered art book.  The Stations mentioned in the text (Moscow, Brussels, Helsinki and Hiversum) used in the context of the shrine, refer to the 14 Stations of the Cross or the Way of Sorrow: Christ’s journey to his own crucifixion.




Tucked away through an alleyway, in a small enclosed area lies the Hidden Gem (St Mary’s Roman Catholic church.  The church was founded  in 1794.  Norman Adams painted the 14 Stations of the Cross and I think they are pretty amazing!  At first it may seem strange to see the beautifully carved white alter juxtaposed with very Modern art, but I believe that each offsets the other beautifully.  For the rest of the Stations, click here and for information about how the artist was chosen and other bits click here




The inside of this little church is amazing!  The altar looks quite Italianate, you would think you were in Italy, not in the centre of Manchester!




Shrine of “Our Lady of Manchester””There may it stand for ever, While that symbol doth impart,
To the mind, one glorious vision, One proud throb to the heart,
While the breast needeth rest, May this grey old temple last,
Bright prophet of the future, As preacher of the past”

(Salford Almanac 1898)








Page 21

Page 21 alternative one

Page 21 continuation

Altered art book: Page 22 My Heart has Wings…

Posted in ART, MY ALTERED ART BOOK PAGES with tags , , on April 14, 2009 by echostains



Continuing with my altered art book: after a couple of weeks I have managed to do another page, and I can’t say that it has been easy (as all the text was chosen a few years ago).  I am nearly coming towards the end of the first chapter : there are 3 chapters all together and already this  book won’t close  lol!  The words are;

The time had come

He waited until she went to work one morning

He was standing in a shrine, that even his presence was sacrilege

He muttered stations to himself like incantations, like curses, Moscow, Brussels, Helsinki, Hiversum…

His mother’s room seemed to shrink.”

This page is decorated with felt tip pen, organza ribbon, and chalk pastel to which I have added water to seal the colour in.  I printed out a pair of wings, filled the negative spaces with liquid glitter glue and place a heart shaped gem in the centre to form the ‘shrine’  Handmade paper and gems were also added in the corners.

To be continued 16th April 2009

Pages so far;

The beginning


Page 3

 Page 3 and 4

 Page 5

 Page 6

 Pages 7 and 8

 Page 9

Page 10

Page 11

Page 11 continued

Page 12

Page 12 continued

Page 13

Page 13 continued

Page 14

Page 15

Page 15 continued

Page 16

Page 16 continued

Page 17

Page 17 continued

Page 18

Page 19

Page 19 continued

Page 20

Page 20 continued

Page 20 continued again

Page 21 first draft

Page 21 again

Page 21 latest

Page 21 yet again