Monday, November 3, 2014

New still life photos.

I have long intended to photograph still life details within the installation of The Lyric Cranium. Here are some examples of the most recent. The focus for most is teeth.

 These last two show some miscellaneous details that fascinate me.



Friday, March 28, 2014

Mini bell jars

As part of the grand scheme of things, the creation of ephemera is one of the goals of my Wunderkammer. Part of that process is to create objects that inspire said ephemera. So these three little bell jars with an enclosed artifact are my latest creations. The art works derived from these pieces are the photopolymergravure prints made from the manipulated photographs that document them (see below). The actual pieces will take their place amongst the scatter of artifacts in the shelves or in the display cases of THE LYRIC CRANIUM. The prints, however, will have a life of their own. One set will be sent to the Biennial International Miniature Print Exhibition (BIMPE VIII), and the remainder of each edition will be available to patrons of the museum.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Lyric Cranium Video

I made a quick video in July 2013 which showcased the space as it was at that time with most of the installations in place. More items have been added since, but a new video is still in the works. Please excuse the quality, it was shot with a small hand-held point-and-shoot camera.

As you can see, both halves of the space are fairly well developed at this stage: the traditional Wunderkammer half, and the simple black and white space, inspired by Klaus Oldenburg's Mouse Museum, seen at the MoMA in 2013.

The following earlier video from January 2013 shows it just after the wallpaper was completed but before any objects were in place. It also shows the operation of the secret door/shelf. People love this.....  Please excuse the heavy breathing. :-)

I hope to update this video collection with a new one in the coming months, one with better production values.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Broadside

As one of the first ephemera projects resulting from THE LYRIC CRANIUM installation, my printing assistant, Maria M. and I made this letterpress broadside using some antique wooden type and large lead type from my type inventory. The idiosyncratic words were collected over time and all have very appropriate meaning. The image cut of the figure was a newspaper advertisement and the pupae and moth are hand carved wood engravings for a 19thC entomology newsletter. This broadside was printed in two press runs in a varied edition.

Click image to see the detail.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Walls Need Frames

 Although an interesting feature in its own right, the customized wallpaper needed to be covered with framed photographs, art and miscellaneous ephemera. So, I turned to my collection of antique frames and 19th C. post mortem portraits. 

Victorian Memorial Hair and paper Wreaths

The above shot shows a few of the post mortem portraits in little frames and a post mortem painting on the wall. On the right side is a photo-and-sculptural piece by Diana Thonrneycroft. Below, another area includes some of my own work: an antique porcelain doll print and a photogravure of a badly taxidermied red squirrel (much like the others sitting below).

The opposite wall is devoted to animal skulls, a snake skeleton, a framed cat mummy, and shelves for more animal remains. Most of the skulls are still on the floor because I haven't figured out how to make skull brackets for them all yet.

A dehydrated cat mummy I found in Alberta in 1983 has been following me around ever since and has appeared in numerous artworks over the years. Now she has her final resting place of honour on the wall of the LYRIC CRANIUM.

Close-up of Fluffy's amazing snarl.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

More Human Skulls

One of the main foci of the LYRIC CRANIUM is its natural history and biological specimens. Since childhood, I've been fascinated by skulls and bones, animals and remains, so it is only natural that these items form the core of the exhibits on display. A human cranium and mandible, various animal skulls, antlers, and a cat mummy were the impetus for a much larger collection, one that is still growing.

In April, the skeleton vitrine began to fill with more skulls....

In April 2013, the vitrine contents grew.

By December 2013, two more human skulls were added thereby bringing the total to five individual skulls plus an articulated leg with foot.

More animals skulls can be seen in the background vitrine, too.

My favourite new skull is a geriatric skull with a set of dentures from a collection in England. I also received some real glass eye prostheses as well.

Another arrived shortly after, this time from a medical collection in the USA.

Along with these, I continue to find amazing animal skulls such as this peculiar little item, looking like a young dragon, but actually a Reeve's muntjac. Read more about them here.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Installation Begins

Let the hanging begin. I scoured the second-hand shops last summer for odd items and ornate old frames for some images from my post mortem portrait collection. The first to be hung were the framed hair wreaths. They looked great against the casket wallpaper.

Victorian Hair Wreath (bottom) Curled paper Memorial Wreath (top)

I built a shadow box frame for my fully articulated spitting cobra skeleton....

Javan Spitting Cobra

....and I built a display box for my little calf foetus, a vitrine for the piglet, and glass domes for the Pope mouse and the Hamlet mouse I found at Paxton Gate in San Fransisco.

Some skulls were still strewn on the floor for now. Soon, I will build either stands or brackets for most of them. 
The smaller skulls will go in a glass fronted cabinet.

Sheep (left), and two deer (mule and white-tailed)

Arctic muskox and gargoyle souvenirs from St. John the Divine Cathedral in New York City.

 Meanwhile, in the tall see-through cabinet built into the wall, some artifacts were forming nice little still lifes already.