Why size really does matter. Part One: My Flies are Undone!

I am occasionally asked by people, “Why don’t you go bigger, make really really big Bugs?” Well, does size really matter? No, not at all. But from a practicable point of view size really does matter. It basically all depends on how much space you have.


Tiny Computer Component Bug

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The diverse variety of materials I am presented with upon opening up electronic gadgets can facilitate different forms and shapes and inspire new design possibilities. Of course, to find the pieces that fit perfectly together requires collecting, sorting and displaying literally thousands of components.

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The displaying of the found objects in one’s working space is vital to the process because it is a discerning eye and a forager’s mentality which brings the separate pieces together to form the whole. It takes a lot of looking and searching through all the components to find ‘just the right one’. Then of course you need the space for experimenting…

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Knowing how much space the collecting of components for my tiny sculpture’s take I am reminded of the artist Edouard Martinet who creates beautiful sculptures from found objects… one of my favourite sculptors,  I marvel at his incredible works and, giving that all the large components for his pieces all fit together perfectly, Martinet uses a huge array of components in order to find ‘just the right pieces’. Kitchen utensils; pots and pans, cake tins, bottle openers, cooker parts. Car and motorcycle parts; hub caps, chain guards, head lamps, car doors, windscreen wipers, speakers, radios, flashlights, the list goes on and on and I wonder at how much space he must require. I would imagine… a great deal of space!

waspWasp by Edouard Martinet:
Abdomen : steel tips for boots, bike headlights
Thorax and head : steel tips and bells from bikes and typewriters
Eyes : vintage watch case
Antennae : spectacles arms
Legs : bike brakes , bike chain , spoon handles
Wings : glass

“When Edouard Martinet was 10, one of his teachers introduced his pupils to insects, but in a rather obsessive way. Subliminally, the fascination sunk in to the young French boy. Fast-forward 40 years, and Martinet has become the art world’s virtuoso insectophile, transforming bits and pieces of cast-off junk culled from flea markets and car boot sales into exquisitely executed insect, fish and animal forms. What sets Martinet’s work apart is the brilliant formal clarity of his sculptures, and their extraordinary elegance of articulation. His degree of virtuosity is unique: he does not solder or weld parts. His sculptures are screwed together. This gives his forms an extra level of visual richness – but not in a way that merely conveys the dry precision of, say, a watchmaker. There is an X-Factor here, a graceful wit, a re-imagining of the obvious in which a beautifully finished object glows not with perfection, but with character, with new life. Martinet takes about a month to make a sculpture and will often work on two or three pieces at the same time. It took him just four weeks to make his first sculpture and 17 years for his most recent completion!”
(Wall St Journal)

redantRed ant by Edouard martinet: 65X42X22 cm
Thorax and head : sauce spoons, car parts
Eyes : marbles
Abdomen : bike or motorbike headlights
Antennae: small bike chains
Legs: cream chargers , brake parts , chains, alarm clock feet , spoon handles

mothMoth by Edouard Martinet: 78 X 42 X 17 H cm
Wings : moped chain guards ( rusted and patinated)
Abdomen : motorbike headlights
Thorax : very old car headlamp
Legs : large upholstery tacks , car boot hinges, pieces of windshield wipers, bike brake parts, chain guards
Head : old rear position lamps , bike parts, pieces of a daisy wheel
Butterfly trunk : clock springs
Antennae : aluminium heating resistor

In my own studio (tiny spare room), filled with boxes and shelves and trays full of possible Bug components, spilling out into other rooms, the mind boggles at what kind of space Martinet’s Creative practice must require. So, for practicable reasons, in the meantime I shall remain small scale. But the temptation to make bigger is too much. I have already started. Its exciting!…there will be a couple of BIG pieces revealed at a later date….


The Broken Promise

I think that probably 50% of my sales of artwork are bought from me by other artists, maybe more than 50%. I really want to show my gratitude by buying other artist’s work too but I promised myself that I would never buy art for myself until I was well and truly established and making a living from my own art. Well I’m not quite there yet so I broke my promise to myself. But the two pieces I’ve recently bought are really really tiny and so lovely I just had to have them. The first piece was a hand embroidered Golden Poppy from Heather Everitt Embroidery


and the second, this unusual hummingbird skull ( not a real skull) artwork from Handmade Geeks.


I learn so much from other artists, sometimes major things and sometimes little things that are so easily overlooked but things that can make a real difference to whether or not your customer will return. And the one thing I’ve learnt from both these two artists is about the packaging… the parcels which in both of these cases were a pure delight to receive. Upon opening my Hummingbird artwork, tiny hand-made butterflies and stars sprinkled out of the package.


With Heather’s parcel the surprise was an extra gift, a gorgeous hand embroidered Christmas tree hanging Butterfly, beautiful packaging with printed bug paper and ribbon, specially made stamp prints on the parcel


When I began selling my work online I’m afraid I was rather bad at wrapping my wares, bundling them in tonnes of bubble wrap with not much thought to added extras or charming finishing touches. So delighted have I been upon receiving these two recent purchases, its really made me think about how I present my work to the buyer so although I broke my promise to myself in the first place and felt guilty for doing it, it was certainly by no means wasted money, after all I have gained so much more than the art I bought, much more than I ever expected for the money spent…. and the guilt has gone. It was meant to be. Can’t wait till I am in a financially better position so I can buy more art.