Archives for category: Finished Foundlings


It’s been over three years since I wondered into a gallery and saw an artist who used antique rulers as part of his work. I don’t remember the artist’s name or even where the gallery was. His work was very minimal the rulers were major elements in his work. I was just struck by both the beauty in these rulers and with the understanding that in our effort to explore the world, we measure it first. This piece is called Isabella.

This little Foundling, coming together rather quickly, really touched me. Being so little and so quirky, it really reminded me of my niece so I named it after her. My intension wasn’t to set out to make her a Foundling but rather, this piece, as it came together, just consistently said “Raina” to me. It is as if these pieces have almost a mind of their own. I have learned to listen to where these want to go. There isn’t any “nature” in this piece so my initial concern was that these would look too industrial. It is, after all, the organic components that soften these up. Something, in spite of all of the metal machine parts, transcended the cold quality of its parts and made for a very intimate little work.RainaRGB

ImageWithout a lot of religious traditions, it is curious that I have been drawn to spiritual things: tankas from Nepal, statues of Gods from Greece, Russian icons. Perhaps it is due to the rich tradition of religious art or perhaps it is some unmet need. I found this broken Thai plaque and it was my hope to give it a home. I call this one Samara or “continuous flow”. The wheel being the symbol of cycles. I can only imagine that some might find spiritual references in my work to be insulting and yet, if intent is what finally matters, my intent is only to salvage what is old or broken and redeem them into something new and beautiful. The year is ending soon and a new one is just around the corner. It is my hope for a new and beautiful year for everyone.

In the past I have discussed the difficulty in choosing to go “minimal” or “complex” with these pieces. In “Go”, named after the Chinese game that dates back over 2,500 years, this piece seemed so simple, so minimal in concept and yet finding the “pattern” that appealed to me proved to be so difficult. So much more complex then I thought it would be. I had to keep reminding myself that there is no single solution to a piece and that every “solution” has some merit as well as limitations. The beauty is in the choice and sticking to it. As a metaphor for life, I have come to appreciate that I would rather be “wrong” then be “nothing”. I would rather make a choice then not choose at all.

I wanted to make a Foundling for my nephew, David but he’s not really into them. I really wanted to come up with something I could create for him so I decided to make him some “street art”. He really is into graffiti. I could copy some graffiti but that would be only an illustration of graffiti. Using Banksy’s style, using stencils, I decided to make a portrait of him. Marie was instrumental in collecting stickers pealed off of walls and lamp posts around the Lower East Side to complete the look (a dirty but not thankless job). Still, I couldn’t resist the impulse to have some rusted elements in this piece as well. It was a stretch to work with spray paint but I was pleased with the outcome (as he was).

ImageI’m still wrestling with keeping the Foundlings fresh and unique. That is not to say that I am concerned that my work isn’t unique, it is. It is just that within my body of work, when am I exploring variations on a theme and when I am just repeating myself isn’t exactly clear. The summer is ending and although fall is my favorite time of year, it is all too easy to think of the coming of winter. A Shaker box, mechanical gear, Victorian base and coral, came together quickly. This was a very satisfying piece. Funny how the coral floating in the center said falling snow to me.

Finally. It’s done and photographed (see my 24 April post). The weeks turned into months on this one. Part of the problem is that I have been struggling with my Foundlings lately. They seem like merely variations on a theme. In a way they are and yet, when you work at something a lot, your progress can get obscured. Only with some time and some distance, can you gain some perspective. There are a few Foundlings that I have not posted as I didn’t think they were successful. Some still don’t seem successful but a few, as the months go by, start to evolve. They start to whisper to me. They ask that I take a second look.

ImageHere is a Foundling I made for my nephew. LIke creating a portrait, the process is largely about finding defining characteristics. In this case, his love of the sciences. So in this piece I tried to marry all of the sciences together: the shell is representative of biology; the plumb line for physics; the minerals in the bottle and the quartz crystal for geology and the electric gauge for electromagnetism. Not to mention the assorted rulers to measure it all. Making these Foundlings is always about getting very different kinds of objects to live together as if they were never apart. I believe this works as a unified whole and I hope my nephew is as pleased with this as I am. Lastly, even with the name of this piece, the initial letters of the title spell out his name.

So what does Io mean? It is the innermost of the moons of Jupiter. The name is a bit obscure and yet a bit literal for this piece, all at the same time. I have a bit of a love hate relationship with this Foundling. I really do like it and yet, due to my own skill level, its not a perfect as I would like. The draw pull is off center, the welds are a bit sloppy, the engineering not as elegant as I would like. So I am split. I need to remember that these Foundlings were never meant to be perfect. Like life. It’s a good lesson.

I don’t usually take commissions but I was asked to be in a theme show called “Days of Wine and Roses”. I assumed that the task was to have wine glasses or wine bottles with some roses but this would have turned my Foundling into an illustration. The trick then, is to elude to these elements and yet make it your own. The theme, based on the play is really much darker then what wine glasses would suggest. After all, the play is about alcoholism. So I broke some wine bottles (no easy task), kept to my somber hues, and, as fate should have it, actually found some beautiful steel blue rose drawer pulls. With these elements it was much easier to pull this together (the constant fear of cutting myself on the broken glass not withstanding).