A Nature Gift

In mid December I checked out the green waste bin looking for potential art materials. Saw a sweet little oak cutting. I snagged it.

Looked like a wee stump with a few twigs. Thought that it might be fun to use in a piece. Popped it in some water hoping it would prevent it from drying out before I had an opportunity to look at it closer. It has been growing new leaves, no roots. Pretty sure this is not a tree that can be propagated in water.

Oak Cutting

Last week I moved it upstairs. I thought it would get better light during the day.

Oak Cutting

I totally forgot to water the little oak one day. It requires loads of water.
Unfortunately, it’s started to lose leaves and some of the twig-like branches died.

I pruned the dried dead bits.

Oak Cutting

I think the green section may survive. How, not sure.

This leaf gave me pause.

Oak Cutting

Nature offers amazingly beautiful gifts!

Further From the Truth

Another piece that I am attempting to complete.

The quote in code is–The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it.

Drifts From Truth Layout

January 10 2021

Attached code blocks to tree wrap squares with safety pins.

Drifts From Truth

Drifts from Truth Layout, January 9 2021

Had thought about maybe stitching the blocks together.

Drifts From Truth

March 9 2021

When I revisited the piece last week, I decided that I liked the safety pins.

Attached the blocks to a piece of thin paper with PVA. After a thorough drying, attached the blocks to a piece of roofing felt. Then I applied clear shellac. Didn’t expect the result to be so glossy.

Further from the Truth

Further from the Truth

I used the same processes and materials for the separate test piece. After a thorough drying, I sanded the exposed white bamboo areas, then applied a product that I hoped would replace roofing tar.

Further from the Truth

Not sure what I think of the result.
Further from the Truth

The second test–To dull the finish and age it a bit, I applied a thin application of Rust-Oleum 2X Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover Matte Clear Spray Paint.

Further from the Truth

Before I decide how to complete the piece, I am thinking about trying another test with paste wax.

I think that sanding the piece so that some of the code is frayed would be appropriate for the quote.

The quote is often attributed to George Orwell, but it seems that the author is Selwyn Duke.

Materials–Bamboo paper towel (white fabric), bamboo thread, safety pins, tree wrap, roofing felt, PVA, shellac.

A Gnawing Ache

I am in the process of completing all of the pieces that are in progress. A Gnawing Ache is a piece that I started in 2018 when I was dealing with grief.
Gnawing Ache Sketch

I aged the razor blades, hardware cloth, and pins with a patina.

Gnawing Ache

Gnawing Ache

Gnawing Ache

Gnawing Ache

It occurred to be after I used patina on the pins that they would be stronger if I hadn’t covered the entire pin. The patina made the metal a bit fragile.

Code Used
Gnawing Ache Code
One horizontal square for dots; two vertical squares for a dash.

Cotton, Hardware Cloth, Razor Blades, Pins, Patina, Wood (from an old swing), Cork, Stain, PVA, Sealant

Never Underestimate the Petty Vindictiveness of Those in Power

Petty Vindictiveness Spikes

The spikes were aged with a patina.

Petty Vindictiveness Spikes

The pieces received an application of clear shellac with a solution of cloves in denatured alcohol.

Panel 1
The code at the top of the first panel has the–Take Notice.
Completed Petty Vindictiveness Spikes

Petty Vindictiveness1 Detail
Panel 2
Petty Vindictiveness

Completed Petty Vindictiveness Spikes

Wood, Hardware Cloth, Cotton, Metal Spikes, Cork, Wool, Shellac, Denatured Alcohol, Cloves

Be Yourself Framed

I thought I completed the Be Yourself piece in September of 2020.

Be Yourself

Not keen that the hardware cloth bows. Ran across a frame that I was planning to use for a different piece that didn’t work out. The frame seemed to fit.

Be Yourself Posted on September 2020

There was still a problem with the bowing so I added a piece of self adhesive Velcro to the bottom. It sort of worked, briefly.


I added tacks to the part of the Velcro strip attached to the frame and stitched the other part of the Velcro strip to the back of the piece.



Piece in frame attached with Velcro.


Sort of works, but still is not ideal.

The flannel stitched to the back of the piece is only stitched to the edges. The Velcro should have been attached to the hardware cloth. Learning experience for the next piece.

Fixed Up Box

Been thinking about making a piece with the quote–“If I had a flower for every time I thought of you; I could walk through my garden forever.”

When I ran across this box in my stash, thought it might be fun to combine it with the quote.

Postcard Box

The exterior bottom of the box had a hand written price of 79¢. Made me smile. The notion of how objects are valued is a curious thing. Some would say the value is whatever someone is willing to pay for it.

Box Lid Exterior
The lid of the box has a slot for a postcard or photo that is 3.5″ x 5.5″.

Box Lid Slot

I used a piece of parchment paper and bamboo fiber for the code. I applied PVA to the front and back of the code piece for easier insertion into the box slot.

Code Exterior

To prevent the code piece from moving about, I applied some PVA to the right side back of the parchment before inserting it into the slot. Why?

I noticed the postcard was a bit mangled. I thought it was wear from being carried around.


But there are thin wood strips on the top and bottom inside of the slot reducing the space. When I trimmed the code piece, it moved about a tad in the slot. Apparently the wood strips aren’t exactly square. The PVA should prevent the parchment code from shifting.

Code Used
The code is based on an altered Masonic cipher, also know as Pigpen.



Box Interior
Postcard Box Interior

I fixed up the interior of the box with a bamboo I-cord, a piece of linen, and some trim that I purchased years ago.

Fixed up Interior

I make a practice of gathering and drying plants to use in pieces. The interior lid has two dried Datura flowers. Why two? For the same reason I have two stacks of bound pennies inside the box.

Interior Lid with Datura Flowers

Code Interior

The second part of the code was stitched onto a piece of tree wrap with bamboo fiber.

Code Interior

I stitched a few flowers onto the flipside of the linen with code.

Interior of Box with Flowers

I placed a beautiful malformed Brugmansia flower on top of the dried flowers to protect them. The Brug flower should prevent the dried flowers from shifting when the box is handled. It should also prevent the dried flowers from flitting away when the box is opened.

Flowers with Brugmansia

Unusual for me, but I did not count the number of flowers in the box. Even typing that makes me anxious. Should have counted them. Maybe I will.

Dried Flowers

Dried Flowers without the Protection of the Brugmansia Flower.

The bound pennies are located in the front left corner of the box. The binding is a dried Brugmansia flower tied with a bit of cotton cord. There are two stacks of two pennies–the first stack is 1963 and 2018, the second is 1973 and 1990.

Bound Pennies

Wood box, parchment paper, tree wrap, bamboo fiber, cotton fiber, linen fabric, cotton trim, dried flowers, stain, PVA

Masonic/Pigpen Cipher