Monday, April 25, 2011

Featured Artist "Circassian Beauty"

Circassian Beauty is another artist I met through Etsy. She has some of the most unique items I have seen. Caution, some of her items are not for the faint of heart.

Here's her Etsy shop:

Here's some more about her:

I am obsessed with Circus Side Shows!! Most of my felted dolls represent old-time circus "attractions." My name comes from the Circassian Beauty attraction at many of P.T. Barnum's and other circus side shows ... Barnum advertised these girls as the most lovely and beautiful in the world, more beautiful than any woman to be found locally. In truth, however, they were more often than not very local girls, who soaked their hair in beer to make it frizz out, and wore skimpy, exotic clothing to enhance the experience.

Just as the "Living Mermaid" was just a fancy name for a Peep Show, it was a way to get around the pesky, uptight conservatives of the time. And now, when physical conformity is encouraged more than ever, I celebrate those who are truly different, in ways that usually couldn't be hidden (like so many people do in this computer age).

Check out some of my circus photos here:

I was born during one of the worst blizzards in Omaha's history, which apparently gave birth to my lifelong love of snow and cold. I was also lucky to have an artistic grandmother, who created many things like an entire life-sized Nativity Scene out of Co-op wax on their rural Iowa farm that inspired many in a deeply spiritual way, and me artistically. 

Many years later, I dropped out of college to follow an opportunity to live and work in Moscow, Russia (snow, cold!). There are so many art museums there! I had never seen so much amazing artwork in my life, not to mention the great skill of the Russian folk artisans and crafters. Every grandmother knit beautiful wool socks, made intricate baskets, and beat Bob Ross any day with their painting.

When I came back to the States, I was inspired to make my own items. I sold handmade dolls that represented the Norse Gods and started sewing much of my daughters' clothing. I find sewing a bit tedious, though, especially when girls reach a certain age, and you can't be so inventive with their clothing.

As my sewing projects dwindled, I discovered eBay and committed much of my time to Treasure Hunting and selling the wonderful vintage and antique items I found at thrift stores and church sales.

I came across a how-to article on Felting in a Martha Stewart magazine and was hooked! Felting is a sort of passion of mine ... I love to sit and poke at masses of wool for hours on end. It can be quite therapeutic at times, especially when I'm in a bad mood. :-D

I love doing mosaics, too. A few years ago, I was in charge of a class project for a fund-raising auction, and I chose to do a mosaic. I'd never done mosaic work before, but I thought it would be unusual and get a higher price at the auction. It was a lot of work, and the kids got pretty messy, but it was a very rewarding experience ... AND our two mosaic panels made the most money out of all the auctions!

Now I work mainly in mosaics (which is long-term work that HAS to be cleaned up every day - ugh), felting dolls, and painting. I am weakest in painting, because I really, genuinely, can't draw, but I do like to experiment!

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