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  • Writer's pictureKaaren Poole

Sabbatical Report 3

“If I am to have a guardian let it be a mouse.” That’s the text on this piece, the third and last I did in my wonderful sabbatical week a few weeks ago.

The sabbatical was about working with metallics. Of course, the aged wood is about as far away from that as you can get—it’s downright old and not shiny at all! But, somehow, I think metallics and old/shabby go together in this context. The Crusader’s cross dates the subject as several centuries old, but also suggests a touch of hidden riches. At least, that’s what I thought, and in my mind, it works well.

It was such a joy to draw this little mouse. I’m finding that doing more with the pencil drawing and less with the color (transparent acrylic washes) gives an outcome that I’m pleased with. The drawing is on Strathmore Mixed Media paper. To trim it to size, I cut partway through the paper with a craft knife, then tore it. Tearing the paper once there's a cut through the top part of the paper leaves an even edge through those top layers of the paper as far deep as the cut is, then it’s a ragged edge below that. You can see this sort of ‘double edge’ on this detail.

For this piece, I raided my stash of beloved old, aged wood. This wood is so special to me that I packed it up and had it moved with me from California to North Carolina. I’ve been thinking I need to start a new ‘aged wood’ farm. All I need to do to ensure a future supply is to put some pieces of wood, probably pine, out in the elements and wait. Yes! I’ll start it tomorrow. There are a few appropriate pieces in the shop right now!

I made the back from pieces of three old fence slats attached to each other by a piece of wood spanning their backs. The bottom piece sticks out like a little shelf. If I were to find the perfect object (or objects) they could sit there. (Just scanned Etsy and found the perfect miniature sword!)

There is a piece of coarse cheesecloth between the paper with the mouse and the wood support.

The crown above the mouse really doesn’t make much symbolic sense, but I thought it looked good, so there it is! I glued a piece of gold foil wrapper from a Lindt Easter bunny to a piece of regular copier paper and was then able to easily cut this shape. A row of gold flatback domes adorns the bottom of the crown. A flatback pearl is glued in the center of the cross (again, for no symbolic reason).

The white paper was way too white against the wood, so my last touch was to ‘age’ the paper with blobs of alcohol ink and smears from small ink pads.

This is the simplest of my three sabbatical pieces, but it’s my favorite. I think the reason is that I like the little mouse!


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