09 August 2008

Gūo- Guo 2

Gūo- Guo - meaning fighting cricket...

One day about 6 weeks ago I stumbled upon this little wooden cage in one of my favourite Asian antique shops.

With wonder I asked the shop owner what this was for.

His response was, we Chinese have bizarre customs.

This is a cricket cage.

For catching crickets.

A bit surprised by the cost of the cage he explained that a good cricket fighting cricket can fetch up to $150,000 in China.

I had to investigate further but prior to that he explained to many the many fables, poems and a brief history of both the singing cricket and the fighting crickets in China.

At the same time I chose this rather rare photo of a Year 3 School class in China.

Now as you view the piece I know many of you will wonder why I used so many natural papers and textures.

I did this as it fit historically into the piece,

the shortage of papers at the time, the fact that the boy at the centre of this story was from a poor area and family.

My Visual Anthologies do not usually have alot of words as you know but for this piece I wrote a story that went along with it in order to explain the very extensive cricket culture.

I had also decided to use some of the Antique Chinese embroideries
that I had left from a piece I had done prior.

The frame surrounding Hong and his sister here is an antique brass handle/fitting from a cabinet found in the same store.

Hmmm stitching rusty car old car parts together with wire to make a frame??? Yep, it fitted with my attempts to use old things that maybe a child like Hong would have used to put his story together.

I chose alot of everyday textural things like the ever-so humble string

I used alot of embroidery floss – since old embroidered fabrics were used throughout this piece.

I know many would think that when doing a piece of art on China one would expect to see, as many do use, shiny silk fabric – NO WAY – Not here.
Note: old spine of a book used in the above photo

Those fabrics were not used by the people in the era I was writing about.

Ahh yes and the humble tea tin and broken porcelain

I loved cutting them up -
well not really - the cuts on my hands were not so fun!

ageing them

and creating books
out of them too

I challenged myself to stitching and binding this tin book to the traditional bookbinding methods -and it worked

I drank alot of tea

I just adore how these birds on the tea tin came up so well after I aged them

Yep remember in the last post I said book within books

Natural papyrus was used here

and what would a woman do without her now endless supply of cheesecloth - a 1000 thank-you’s to Sharon who always come through and ships me out piles of it when needed (which I always seem to do) xoxoxoxoxoxox

I used lots of broken mother of pearl shards

this piece looked like a farming hoe and went well with the story

Thanks for all the "lurve" about my surgery whih has now turned into many mini ones subsequently - getting there slowly.
But I wanted to say thank to you all for your caring thoughts.


Sapphire Dakini said...

This new piece is really amazing. I love your work.

kelsey said...

How magical this piece is Judy! I love the natural textures and depth that you've put into it and I can only imagine how much the recipients are going to just love this too!!!

The emotion and research you put into each of your works is surely evident of your love of this art.

Heather, paperfollies.typepad.com said...

i would love to see this in person and explore the layers and really examine all of the details...wonderful ~ thank you for sharing!
xo heather

Lynn said...

You are so respectful of which ever people you are honoring in your art pieces Judy.
I especially love the fifth from the bottom photo.

I want to kiss your poor fingers all better.

viv said...

thank you for sharing so much of your pieces. inspiring as always..

rochambeau said...

Dear Judy,
This is an incredibly beautiful book created out of materials things I adore! You did a great job choosing interesting subject matter too. Sorry to hear about your surgery's. Hope you are feeling well today!!


Leslie Miller said...

Your work is simply stunning. Thanks for all the great up close photos. You are an inspiration.

Lani Gerity said...

I've been studying all the images for your Guo-Guo project!
I just love it!
My childhood was spent in old junk shops in Taiwan (pawn shops were great fun although our parents had no idea what we were up to). I just love everything old, Asian, and wabi sabi. I love where you are going with this and I'm glad you are taking it to Nova Scotia!
I can't wait!

gina armfield said...

Once again - breathtaking! I love all the research and thought you put into your work it shows

Janny said...

This is really gorgeous!!

Jen Crossley said...

How you amaze me every time I read your blog.
Your work is a real credit to you Judy the depth of emotion and research you put it every piece is astounding.
Hope you starting to feel better you have really been through the mill
ps your impressed arent you I used big word like astounding lol

Lost Aussie said...

What a stunning piece of work Judy. Definitely no need for any shiny red silk!

Sarah said...

Your work leaves me speechless Judy. Totally amazing how far you will go to make a piece as authentic and original. Hope your on the mend now and feeling alot better. Sure sounds mini surguries werent much fun at all.
PS. I cant wait until November in Melbourne.

RowanDevoe said...

Wow! Love your work! It is just amazing, magical and beyond words! I must explore your work more!
merle of rowandevoe

Ro Bruhn said...

You never cease to amaze me, who else would think of cutting up a tea caddy and turning it into a book. AND I even see some great colour in there too. Wonderful job as usual. Hope your mouth's on the mend now.

Robyn said...

I'm always gobsmacked when I look at what you do, Judy. This piece is absolutely amazing. Hope you are feeling better each day.

vintage moon studio said...

Another stunning piece... your detailed research lets the soul shine through. Lovely! xo Deb

Tiglizzyclone said...

Such lovely work you do! I enjoyed especially enjoyed reading about the crickets.

Sharon said...

I have come again today to look again as I frequently do. Your work just leaves me in astonishment! It is magical and breathtaking and more than I can take in during one visit. Your talent is unequaled. Now I want to play with tea tins.

kathywas said...

This book is ever so striking. Just another example of the beautiful artwork that you create. I, too, am a fond lover of Asian art, but I love the way that you incorporated the old, vintage colors into the piece instead of the usual red and black. Very, very powerful, indeed!

Doveen said...

Wow, I found your blog through Carmi and LOVE your China Masterpiece! Please contact me if you come through Hong Kong so I can show you my hunting grounds! So moving and so inspiring,Thanks! Doveen in Hong Kong

Deryn Mentock said...

Just stunning Judy. Your work has such heart and soul!

Queen Of Toys said...


This piece of work has to be the best read I have encountered in a very long time. I have loved all of it and enjoyed the journey, oh how I would love to see this piece in real life and to touch it would be amazing. thank you for your art and thank you for your creativity.


lindaharre said...

Judy.....your work leaves me speechless:D

seth said...

The details in this piece -- all the stitching, the papers, the metal bits, the text -- just so...well, the usual adjectives just don't do it justice!

Studio Panorama said...

What an absolutely amazing piece of work!

paris parfait said...

Because I've been traveling much of the summer, am behind in reading blogs. Didn't know about your surgery - hope you are well and continuing to feel better! As for your work, it is gorgeous and imaginative and no doubt will be cherished forever by the ultimate owner! xo

Elizabeth said...

The details of your work is jsust amazing. All of the time that you put into each piece shines through!! I am totally enthralled!!!Thank you for sharing your work with us!!