"What we see depends mainly on what we look for." ~Sir John Lubbock

THIS BLOG HAS MOVED TO www.michellehedgecock.com. Feel free to explore past posts here, then please come by for continued creative fun! If you like what you read, don't forget to "follow" my blog at its new site, to continue to receive creative fun and inspiration in your mailbox! Thank you.

Monday, December 27, 2010

"Enlightened Spiders" -- Recycle Those Old Christmas Lights!

I really enjoy creating these colorful spiders from strands and strands of those "old school" x-mas lights. They are easy to make, and should you give it a try, you'll find they come to life as soon as you twist on their wire legs, and position them in place. Depending on my mood, I love them both plain and with designs added to their abdomens.

I've made these "Enlightened Spiders" for gifts, as anonymous releases for Found Art Tuesday (where artists leave their work in public places for people to find!), for sale on Etsy and possibly in the near future to appear in a local shop on the famed El Paseo, Palm Desert. They seem to make people smile, and that is the fun part.

If you have x-mas lights hanging around that will need to be replaced next year, why not give it a go and create some insects or spiders? Little lights make great insects, big bulbs make great spiders (in my opinion). But the best result will be from your own creative spin on what you create from discarded lights. I recommend wearing gloves while handling the light strands because of lead warnings. Sometimes art is a dangerous job...

I <3 enlightened spiders!

Images: M. Hedgecock

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Got My Etsy On!

I have finally opened my shop on Etsy! Now you can find me at MouseHouseART (or click the Etsy badge in the sidebar) to find one-of-a-kind found art assemblage and sculpture, along with unique digital mandala prints, original illustrations, and ATC/ACEO related digital images--all to inspire your creative spirit! Over the next two weeks I will be adding more pieces.

I hope you enjoy what you see there--like this, one of my favorite pieces, the "Tumbling E" Eye Chart shown here! This was such a fun piece to make. From the moment I first found those e-shaped metal pieces half buried in the desert I knew immediately what I wanted to create with them...all I needed was the white metal panel I had yet to find!

I hope you find time to visit and take a look around, I would love for my art to make you smile and feel creative :)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

DEAD, Awaken

I'm thrilled to be a part of this show, ongoing through November 2, 2010. Death, one of my favorite subjects, particularly Dia de los Muertos related, which this exhibit also honors quite beautifully. My piece is inspired by butterflies, believed spirit messengers between the living and the spirit world as related to Day of the Dead traditions dating back to ancient Central American beliefs.

If you live near the Joshua Tree, CA area, please stop by and visit this wonderful gallery. The works you will find here are so inspired; beautiful pieces--I want to buy at least 10 of them! 10 points to you if you recognize my piece. 1,000 points if you decide to take it home with you ;)

Monday, September 13, 2010

"Create..." Part II

As I mentioned in my previous post, I thought my submission for the 1st Annual Chain-link Art Exhibition and Competition could stand complete with the crystal spider in her large barbeque grill web, enhanced with the wired-web word "create." But, I wanted to make it special, add more whimsy. I decided to see what it would look like to add something going up the side to carry the message of "create..." a little further, and I loved the idea and opportunity for adding more of my bugs to the piece, some how in a more orderly fashion. "Ants" immediately came to mind and so 20 recycled ants were born of nuts, bolts, scrap wire, washers, and glass beads. Some individual close-ups are seen here.

Each one unique, I just loved the way they ended up rounding out the entire piece. I wanted people to discover the word "create" in the web to connect with the leading ant's flag that encourages us to create... "something" "love" "dreams" "peace" "laughter" "opportunity" "happiness" and the like. I thought if people missed the web word "create" they would at least see the ant's message and come up with their own fun interpretations.

I had so much fun participating in this 1st annual competition. It benefited a great cause (the Hi-Desert Cultural Center) and placing 2nd was icing on the cake!

Here are some shots of the final piece, a tricky one to photograph with the chain-link, but you'll get the idea...of course I think it's best appreciated in person ;)

Beginning the process, Part I: http://mousehouseart.blogspot.com/2010/09/create.html

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


About 4 weeks ago I came across a contest I couldn't resist: a call for participants to give a piece of chain-link fencing new life. I had never worked with chain-linked fencing before and I was inspired by the challenge to alter the fencing into something that reflects me.

I started with a piece of old fencing from my father-in-law's shop yard, and after trying a couple of test cuts to make sure I could manage it, I decided to jump in and have a little fun with this opportunity!
From the beginning I went with a spider/web theme (originally tossing around a "spiderlings for peace" idea). I was going to hand weave a web, but wanted to incorporate more found "junk" into the piece, so using an old barbeque grill as the foundation for the web was the perfect start for marking my cuts. The cutting was the easy part. Bending chain-link wire is a whole other beast! Like I said, I'd never worked with it before, so had no idea what I was in for...including its desire to unravel once you "twist out" a couple of links. Good thing I was working on a 4' x 4' sized piece.

I really liked the way the crooked links looked pulled out--without straightening--it actually inspired a second idea that I will follow through with another chain link piece once I find the appropriate "accessories" I have envisioned to create a cool affect ;)

I hand work all my pieces which meant bending and straightening the chain link was difficult, but not impossible to muscle your way through. In fact I kind of got things down to a rhythm of 3 bends per link-bend in order to straightened each wire out. I earned a few blisters and soreness in the arms. Weaving it back through the fencing was the trickiest part and more time-consuming at first. I quickly found that any short cuts, like weaving the wire before straightening, only made things worse. So the steps involved cutting from the center of the "web," pulling back/unraveling a couple links, straightening the wire and then weaving back through the intact fencing to hold my barbeque web in place.

I could have made things alot easier by simply cutting the fence wire and short-wiring the barbeque in where it met the fencing, but I liked the design of keeping the wire arms woven back through. It was an important detail I wanted to keep.  

Once this stage was completed I really had some fun creating 8 beautiful crystal-bodied spiders to place in and around the web/fence. My exaggerated spiderlings. I added webby strands of new wire and small tear drop crystals to the grill to enhance the web. I thought the contrast of the rusty fencing and found grill would look great with the chandelier spiders. Once I attached my spiderlings, I didn't like it...too cluttered. It looked like I just attached pretty crystals to the fence. Off they came, except for the center, clear spider. I liked her there, she stayed.

Once I removed the other spiders, the web popped. The center spider looked good too, but the added wire strands were competing with her legs, making her disappear, so I removed those as well. Now she popped right out too!

I felt like I was balancing between too much and too little. I really had to step away from the piece a couple of nights to keep an editing eye. At least to keep tuned in to my instincts about it, there were differing opinions in the house! LOL

Anything I added to the fence seemed to clutter things up for me. I wanted something that would be a little surprise for anyone who took time to check it out closely, by adding something to the web. "Dead insects" cluttered it up again, a peace sign seemed too comfortable (I do a lot of peace signs in other things). Then the flash of Charlotte's  web "some pig" came to me and I went with "create" in my spider's web.

I felt it could stand alone at that point. But, I wanted to make it special. I decided to see what it would look like to add something along the side to carry the message of "create..." a little further...and I loved it!

I'll share those pictures with you, along with the final piece, in the next post ;)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Curiosity...What Extravagant Respite!

Laguna Beach, CA. As you're walking downtown, there's a little path that takes off from the sidewalk, if you follow the sculpture and plants, you will discover this little deck and the endless ocean view with a beautifully crafted fence that reads: "In this fleeting moment what extravagant respite as booming surf speaks its mystical passage across the undreamed depths." Surrounding the quote, are bits of stained glass treats and the tiny print framing the quote is the word "sound" repeated along the top and bottom.

My friend and I came across this little offshoot after an already long day on our feet--which were killing us, my shoes were starting to rub uncomfortably too. We were both ready to sit the next couple of hours out on the beach (shoes off), and dive into the glorious depths of girl talk, while the end of day approached. But curiousity got the best of us and we wanted to see what was down this short path.

I'm happy we did, I loved this quote fence, it's shadow on the deck, and the sound of breaking--yes booming--surf below! We were there less than 10 minutes (the beach was calling), yet I was revitalized by our discovery and temporarily forgot about my sore feet. Respite indeed.

Yes! Pursue your curious side. Answer its call when it beckons you, no matter how tired you feel. Curiousity energizes. Curiosity is your escape from routine, it is the trail less traveled that invites you to explore.

Explored curiosity fuels our creativity.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

On The Fence No More

I've decided to submit a piece to a local Chain-Link Art Exhibit and Competition. I found out about it two days ago and the deadline is right around the corner but I decided to go for it, so it's going to be quite a push. I just loved the idea of altering chain-link fencing, I was completely inspired! I have two solid ideas in my head. The chain link fencing is now in my possession, along with leveraging(?) pliers/cutters and my "plan." Which direction this piece takes on depends entirely on how easy the fencing can be manipulated using the mongo pliers in bringing my idea to life.

Will keep you posted on my progress...
Ahh, a blank canvas ;)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Creative Intentions (Making prayer flags in the pines)

My mom treated me to an amazing prayer flag making workshop up at the Idyllwild Arts campus, taught by visiting artist Karen Michele. It was a beautiful July day of creating under the pines—a deer even stopped by for a visit (too bad I missed her)! There is something for working on a creative project in a conifer forest, at least for me anyway. I love the smell and there seems to always be a breeze, which I love the sound of the wind through the pines. I always feel like the trees and rocks, the streams, and the unseen creatures are encouraging me to open up and express myself in some way :) Very comforting.

The theme for this class was Tibetan inspired (perfect!) with the thought being that the wind will carry the intentions of the writings or imagery on the flags out into the world to benefit all living beings. In Tibetan culture, there are 5 flags, each with its own color and associated element. The word in parenthesis are my own wishes/intentions inspired by the element:

BLUE = SPACE (happiness)
WHITE = AIR (silliness)
RED = FIRE (transformation)
GREEN = WATER (compassion/peace)
YELLOW = EARTH (grounded/our roots)

I am a little attached to them right now (I know, I know…"bad" buddhist! LOL), but I have every intention of placing these outside when the weather cools off a little. I am in search of a special place, maybe our front door(!), to hang these so they can fulfill their true purpose! I think it would be fun to document their "lifespan" of prayer releasing :) I’ll be sure to keep you posted!

My whole strand is about 4 1/2 ft. long. Each panel is made from a recyled pair of jeans (flag panels) and acrylic. Each one is slightly smaller than 8” x 12”. They are embellished with: embroidery, can lids, glass beads, leaves, material, buttons, wire, scrap metal pieces, post cards, copper wire, metal tags, Sharpie...

Here are each of my flags, click its image if you’d like larger view:

RED = FIRE (transformation)

YELLOW = EARTH (grounded/our roots)

BLUE = SPACE (happiness) “There’s plenty of space for everyone’s happiness…”

WHITE = AIR (silliness); sometimes this element is referred to as wind or cloud.

GREEN = WATER (life) (compassion/peace) = compassion, peace. “Let compassion flow for all...” the script repeats, "compassion for all sentient beings"

While photographing, a breeze released a batch of my intentions for you! Maybe you felt it...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I'm Sure He'll Grow Up "Normal"

I'm sure you've figured out by now that my style of art is well...not the norm? I like humor, death, birth, the unexpected, whimsy, nature, critters...you know, life stuff. I like weird and mysterious. I think my son is starting to pick up on that...he is 3 weeks shy of 4 years old now, and a highly sensitive little one (to sound, overstimulation, people, lots of "unknowns" and the like)--but with an eye for the strange. 

For example, I have a Dia de los Muertos piece where I shaped and painted skeletal dinosaurs--he digs them, "I really like your triceratops mommy, they're really good dinosaurs!" Most recently, I have a spider that I think will become part of a larger something or other, but in the meantime I've placed it in the car, on the dashboard--positioned so it would be looking right at my son when we drove to his swimming lesson. I wondered what his reaction would be to our macabre little hitchhiker:

His first reaction was, "Mommy, what is that?" Fifteen minutes down the road he was trying to get me to agree that he should have him. "I like that spider's face, mommy. He's funny." He named him Skele-Spider by the way, but he apparently goes by Spider Bones too.

My son quickly adopted Skele-Spider and insisted that his new friend wanted to learn how to play his video game and wishes to be added to his bed (stuffed) animals... "Mommy, I promise 'kay? I heard you, he's not a toy, I will be careful mommy, pleeeeease." I agreed that Skele-Spider would probably love to learn how to play MarioKart but I didn't think he should be with his toys. After much negotiating, Jeffery agreed show him the games then return Skele-Spider to the car to go on trips with us instead.

Jeffery can't really hang out with me too much while I'm working on pieces because, 1) I work with dangerous, sharp and crusty metal objects, 2) he's usually asleep anyway, and 3) there's just not a lot of room for him to do his own creative thing while I'm doing mine. One of my sooner-than-later dreams is to create a better space in our garage that is safe, with more room, and more inviting for both of us to be out there together. I want him to witness a variety of creative processes while freely developing his own.

I watched both of my parents creating wonderful pieces and projects while growing up, jointly and individually. I was always encourged to create my own things verbally of course, but equally important I remember that I always had plenty of space and materials to do so! I want to make sure I provide the same for my little one...surrounded by skull beads, fantasy bugs and creepy creatures made of found junk--complete with skeleton spider friends. You know, "normal."

"Skele-Spider" made with skull bead, scrap telephone wire, copper wire, medium x-mas light bulb. ~4 1/2" leg span.

Monday, July 26, 2010

My First ATC Swap: NATURE

Recently I participated in my first artist trading card (ATC) swap. It was a great experience and I absolutely love the treasures I received in return! Participants were from around the globe including US, England, and Australia! Each artist was asked to choose one word as their individual theme. Mine was nature. I chose to go the APC route (altered playing cards), here are my contributions to the swap:

Nature Opens Doors To The Hidden Parts Of Ourselves

Quote on back of ATC: “Nature gets into our souls and opens doors to hidden parts of ourselves.” ~Pamela Heyda.  Photo(s) are actually one and the same ATC.

Made with 5 cards total, from recylced cards and Bicycle Pink Deck.
3.5" x 2.5"

Nature Has The Ability To Connect Us To The Spiritual Realm

Quote on back of ATC reads (I think): “Patterns, cycles, rhythms... nature has the ability to humble, simplify and connect at a level that goes beyond the physical and into the spiritual realm.” ~ Judy Lalingo. I liked that quote because I liked the simplicity of this card and the idea that owls are spiritually significant for many.

Made with 5 of hearts from Bicyle Pink Deck of course, and punched/embossed owl, floating above card :)
3.5" x 2.5"

Life & Nature Are A Constant Stimulus For A Creative Mind
Quote on back of ATC reads: “Being inexhaustible, life and nature are a constant stimulus for a creative mind.” ~ Hans Hofmann
Made with Jack of hearts from Bicycle Pink Deck, layered with two old postcards (flying scientist—from a movie perhaps(?)—and green trees). I just love the imagery; and I’ve always wanted to be able to fly like that :)
3.5" x 2.5"

...It Became A Butterfly

Quote on back: “Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.” ~Anonymous
Made with 3 of spades from Bicylce Pink Deck and left-over spades from another, recycled deck, also scrap wire, glass tear drop beads. Butterfly floats.
3.5" x 2.5"

Here are the treasures I received in trade--all a surprise until the moment I opened the package! Very fun! In image order from top to bottom: "Silly" by Lori Pilla, copper "Delight" by Mary Hicks, "Easy" mini-canvas by Jean Foley...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

It Really Is That Hot...

Living in the southern California desert, we're pretty used to hot summers. Lately, it's been unseasonably hot with temperatures well into the 100-teens. We hit those temps every year, we're just getting it earlier than usual, along with some humidity we are normally blessed to be without.

Needless to say, the stifling desert heat is what inspired this dead bug. Made with a piece of scrap metal, wire, glass beads and a great skull bead (from my mom) that adds that extra touch of the macabre. Approx. 5" long.

Friday, July 9, 2010

CED Challenge: July theme "LIFE"

Inspired once again by Leah Piken Kolidas' Creative Every Day Challenge, where this month's theme is LIFE.  "LIFE" immediately awoke my inner doodler! Here are three doodles I had a chance to do over a weekend getaway with family.

"OCEAN" emerged as I doodled away, initially thinking of a star (star=sun=life). It quickly morphed into a more organic, fantasy sea star which, for me, gave this doodle a very marine feel--and an alternatively fitting expression for LIFE--oceans are teeming with life both known and yet to be discovered.

"OCEAN" doodle

"LIFE" was inspired by the curly lines rooted above in "OCEAN" doodle, I liked the idea of drawing prolific life germinating from a huge seed. It also reminds me of a microscopic peek into a pollen grain, something of which plays an important role of new life in itself! The tendrils grow out of its space, reaching out to nearby anchors for more growth. When I was almost finished, I quickly realized this looks more like a dozen sperm penetrating an egg. I went back and forth between "germination" "conception" and landed on "life" as both are represented, depending on what you see ;) I added a tiny leaf, symbolic of the germination of new ideas, and a message to protect new life now threatened in so many fragile environments. This led to me think about the BP oil disaster, and how these black circles could just as easily be oil drops suffocating the new life struggling to emerge.
"LIFE" doodle

From "LIFE, the black circles made me think of oil drops suffocating the struggle for new life depicted in the previous doodle, so naturally the "BP DISASTER" came about as I started to doodle a third page. It started to remind me of an APC I made a while ago, with contrasting pink and black/white flames and I began to think of the burning of the oil on the ocean, and the ongoing loss of marine life and beaches of which the dark ugly masses of oil are encroaching. I doodled a dead sand dollar in the inevitable path of oil about to engulf another pristine beach.
"BP DISASTER" doodle

If you have never doodled, or haven't in a long time like me, bring it back into your life! It requires no "talent" as that is the creative liberation doodling brings! No pressure, no expectations, no directions, no worries. You draw or write whatever your pen guides you to create. I have found it to be very much like a creative meditation (in fact meditative doodling is what Zentangle is all about!).