plaster

Smile!

Let's kick off the new year with a smile!

Hey guys! I'm in the middle of preparing for my final exam but just reeeally wanted to say Hi! I mean, my last blog post was in November... I don't have much time (yet) for the artist life, but 2015 has started, and in spite of (or because of) the recent events, I say let's kick off this new year with a smile! So there you go:

And I wish you all the most beautiful, loving, joyful and light-filled year.

Have you chosen your Word of the Year (or "woty")? It's the 3rd year I choose one (or rather I let one reveal itself to me). In 2012 it was Truth, in 2014 it was Trust (with Abundance as a co-woty) and this year it is EASE... The fun thing is that it kept coming back to me but for weeks I just couldn't allow myself to "choose" it, I felt huge resistance.... which I took as a sign that I really should let it be my word, and just eeeeease into it. Believe me it has already helped me and taught me a lot in just 3 weeks... If you have a woty you can share in the comments!

Ease wish holder
Ease wish holder

I'm going to make one of my little "Sacred Wishes" wish-holders for it (I Picmonkeyed the picture above). I don't have a single wish-holder left, I either sold or gave them away as gifts, a very good excuse to dive into plaster bliss again.

And by the way, look where they've gracefully landed... on the pages of the new Somerset Life Magazine! (which is one of the most gorgeous magazines ever!) I haven't seen it "for real" yet but my friend Lorene has been super sweet and sent me a picture of her copy (thank you!!!!)

sacred wishes article Somerst Life W
sacred wishes article Somerst Life W

Although I haven't managed to keep up with the blog lately, I do try to pop up on Facebook several times a week so if you want the latest updates, that's where you'll find me.

* By the way I want to say a big thank you to all of you (all 171 of you, and counting!) who have "liked" my FB page in the past 2 months. I've often felt so far from my creative life lately, not blogging, not painting, but seeing all these new faces has been truly uplifting (gratitude+++) Would you believe we're fast approaching the 1000 landmark? That's a whole lot of positive energy and I'm glad I'm sharing with you guys!*

So, these past weeks on FB I've shared a few glimpses of what (or who) is currently on my easel...

She's a guardian, a light-bearer, soft and strong... I can't wait for her to be complete (as well as her sister that I started too and will soon share on Facebook). I'll leave you with her now and get back to work...

Light and love dear ones.

Laly blog signature blue
guardian atelier WM

The Secret : a new winged key assemblage

The Secret : a new winged key assemblage

Ssshhh... it's a Secret...

The Secret: winged key assemblage by Laly Mille
The Secret: winged key assemblage by Laly Mille

Here is my latest assemblage piece in the "winged keys" series. It's a bit different from the other ones because it's the key-hole that's at the center this time. The papers are pages from a french schoolbook with images and words of Little Red Riding Hood, and handwritten lists of workers from a 1906 construction site.* They speak of the duality between the world of childhood and the world of adults, the feminine and the masculine, of initiation.

The Secret (detail) : winged key assemblage by Laly Mille
The Secret (detail) : winged key assemblage by Laly Mille

In the middle there is a little girl, maybe Little Red Riding Hood, or maybe Alice, or maybe a bit of both? Sometimes she is too big, and sometimes she is too small. Just like the key. The world around her keeps telling her "Eat me", "Drink me"... fix me, do this, do that, fit in, grow up.

The Secret (detail) : winged key assemblage by Laly Mille
The Secret (detail) : winged key assemblage by Laly Mille

But she looks through the key-hole. At you, at me, at her own "wonderland" of possiblity. What if she crossed to the other side? What if she were not afraid of the wolf? What if she were the key? Maybe initiation is not just about letting go of childhood to become an "adult". Maybe the "secret" is about welcoming the little dreamer that lives within us, our inner child, vulnerable and brave, innocent and wise, and gently opening the door, inviting her to play...

The Secret (detail) : winged key assemblage by Laly Mille
The Secret (detail) : winged key assemblage by Laly Mille

Have a beauty-full day everyone!

*(a big thank you to Marie-Aimée at AlterTheTime for the gorgeous paper!)

"Vulnerabilis" a new winged key assemblage

"Vulnerabilis" a new winged key assemblage

This is my latest "winged key" assemblage. This one is called "vulnerabilis" and speaks of how sometimes we get hurt, betrayed, abused, but we feel we have to soldier through it all and keep going anyway. So we lock up our heart and soul like fragile butterflies. "Safely", behind glass, standing still, maybe visible, but untouchable. Too vulnerable.

Vulnerabilis, winged key assemblage by Laly Mille

Vulnerabilis, winged key assemblage by Laly Mille

We protect ourselves, we pretend. We cringe if someone comes too close. We recoil. We put up signs that say "handle with care" or even better, don't touch me at all. Don't break the glass. Love, friendship, a helping hand, empathy, intimacy? Entering the danger zone. And we get used to it, living behind the glass, seeing life through the glass. We make it home.

Vulnerabilis, winged key assemblage, detail by Laly Mille

Vulnerabilis, winged key assemblage, detail by Laly Mille

And yet, being vulnerable, truly vulnerable, is something different. It doesn't mean we're too fragile for life. It means mustering up the strength to let ourselves be seen, heard and touched again. Owning our story, daring to let this butterfly spread its wings, alive. Vulnerability doesn't mean weakness, it means courage.

But when we're so used to our pretty cage, our self-inflicted imprisonment, it's not easy to open it and take flight. Yet it's not sealed forever, somehow we know there is a way out, we hold the key. And maybe, if we let ourselves dare to trust again, someone will gently help us unlock it from outside. And we'll feel the wind again.

Vulnerabilis, winged key assemblage, detail by Laly Mille

Vulnerabilis, winged key assemblage, detail by Laly Mille

The "winged keys" are an assemblage series. I add a new one from time to time. You can see the other pieces HERE.

Wishing you a good flight today...

Vulnerabilis, winged key assemblage by Laly Mille

Vulnerabilis, winged key assemblage by Laly Mille

Sacred wishes

Sacred wishes

Sacred wishes

Hi everyone!

Last week felt like I needed to take a step back and get off the computer a bit. I really needed some quiet meditative time, which for me meant... plaster time!

Sacred Wishes by Laly Mille

Oh! the bliss of those immaculate white strips of plaster gauze... Gently soaking them into warm water, smoothing them with my fingers and watching the magic happen is sooo relaxing. I never had a manicure (don't tell!) but I'm sure it doesn't get much better than this! And I just love the natural feel of plaster, the texture of the overlapping strips, the stray bits of thread here and there that I surely wouldn't want to trim, the amazing way oil pastels pick up the texture! The whole process is so relaxing, my mind just goes blank and all I have to do is enjoy...

Sacred Wishes by Laly Mille

So anyway, what did I end up with?... Well, the holiday spirit is definitely kicking in and I felt like doing something about wishes... This is a season when we feel that, very soon, light is about to take over darkness again. And the little girl within me feels that this is a sacred time when anything is possible, a time for hope and wishes...

Sacred Wishes by Laly Mille

So I made these little "wish-holder" sculptures. Their shape is reminiscent of a kimono or a sacred robe, and inside their "chest" is a heart. They are meant as a daily reminder of our own sacredness, our own divinity and our heart's deepest wishes.

Sacred Wishes by Laly Mille

A little label holder at the bottom will hold wishes, and as always, I incorporated a real little 4 leaf clover in each one for extra good luck! There are different kinds of hearts too : some are made of silver birch bark, another is polymer clay, and my favorite is a heart shaped dried leaf that I found on the street... I just love love love the result! How simple and peaceful and hopeful they look...

Sacred Wishes by Laly Mille

LISTEN TO YOUR HEART AND MAKE A WISH!

Sacred Wishes by Laly Mille

Little winged mysteries...

Little winged mysteries...

hypothesisW1.jpg

It's been a while since I didn't post any addition to my "winged keys" assemblage series. Here is the latest one, "Hypothesis", and a little flashback to all the previous ones (links are included if you feel like reading their various stories).

What I love most about the art of assemblage, is that something is born out of chaos and randomness. Bits and pieces of this and that, found objects and discarded materials suddenly seem drawn to one another in a very unpredictable way, until something emerges that somehow makes sense. I don't really think about the "meaning" of a piece while creating it, but once I take a step back from the almost finished artwork, thoughts and words come to mind which make it complete. And in the same way, if life sometimes seem full of chaos and randomness, maybe by trusting our intuition we can put it all together in a way that works for us, our very own "hypothesis"...

Art, if necessary by Laly Mille
Art, if necessary by Laly Mille

"Art, if necessary" was the first of the series (although I didn't know at the time that I would be making several others). It has the basic elements that have been consistent through the series : a plaster "container", a vintage key, wings, white and natural tones.

Other
Other

"Other" was the second one in the series, this time with the wings of a bird (a vintage print) and a cage as the container.

Life, still
Life, still

"Life, still" was first inspired by this beautiful prune-tree branch that I found in my garden. It speaks of fragility and the passing of time, and of the way art can keep some precious things alive that would otherwise be forgotten...

Within the lovely chaos of my drawers, I still have many keys, wings and orphaned objects awaiting their turn. I might be sharing them here soon...

Sacred white

Sacred white

IMG_76071.jpg
Overflow, plaster and fiber mixed media sculpture, © 2012 Laly Mille
Overflow, plaster and fiber mixed media sculpture, © 2012 Laly Mille

Last week-end I had the great luck to take part in a fiber arts workshop at the Jean Lurçat Contemporary Tapestry Museum in Angers (thank you mummy!). The current exhibition is a tribute to Thomas Gleb entitled "Sacred white!". Featuring about 50 contemporary artists, the exhibition focuses on the themes of the colour white and the sacred.

Overflow, plaster and fiber mixed media sculpture, © 2012 Laly Mille
Overflow, plaster and fiber mixed media sculpture, © 2012 Laly Mille

This workshop allowed us to freely explore this theme through fiber sculpture and assemblage. Every morning for 3 days our little group of 14 women and 2 little girls gathered in the museum and started with a commented tour of a selection of pieces from the exhibition. Then we settled in the museum's little fiber arts studio, fumbled for inspiring bits of white fabric in big brown boxes and let our imagination take flight!

Overflow, plaster and fiber mixed media sculpture, © 2012 Laly Mille
Overflow, plaster and fiber mixed media sculpture, © 2012 Laly Mille
Overflow, plaster and fiber mixed media sculpture, © 2012 Laly Mille
Overflow, plaster and fiber mixed media sculpture, © 2012 Laly Mille

I ended up creating this piece called "Overflow" out of various recycled bits and pieces (an old crocheted doily, a piece of curtain, wool, plaster and a plastic bag!). I hope you like it! I had a really good time and can't recommend these workshops enough!

Overflow, plaster and fiber mixed media sculpture, © 2012 Laly Mille
Overflow, plaster and fiber mixed media sculpture, © 2012 Laly Mille
Overflow, plaster and fiber mixed media sculpture, © 2012 Laly Mille
Overflow, plaster and fiber mixed media sculpture, © 2012 Laly Mille

New territory

New territory

moorlandW1.jpg

This new piece is very relevant to my journey these days : I walk this new territory with my two bare feet firmly on the ground and my head towards the windy sky. There is no visible path because I have to make my own. This is not a high mountain, but rather a wide hill that requires me to climb one little step after another, to endure, to hold fast against the wind, knowing that it will take time, and enjoying it all. Although it is a solitary journey for now, I can see like-minded souls flying and struggling and playing in the same windy sky, and I hope we will meet along the way...

Plaster délice

Plaster délice

platreseche1.jpg

A sneak peek into my little work area in the basement, with a few plaster substrates in the making (see Judy Wise and Stephanie Lee's book "Plaster Studio" for the detailed how-to). And I've just realized why I loooove the whole process of preparing those : it's because it reminds me a lot of making... cheesecake! The wood panel at the bottom is like the cracker crust, and then I pour the smooth and creamy plaster on top, and then it sort of "magically" sets.  For a day or two, before it's fully dry, the surface still keeps this creamy look with yummy little air bubbles... I even love the smell!

The witchy hour

The witchy hour

A huge "thank you" to the many people who came to the opening of our exhibition last Friday! Thank you for the warmth of this moment, the encouragements, the kind words... My little heart is bursting with joy and gratitude... And back to work now: here is a new painting!

The witchy hour, Mixed media painting on wood, plaster and encaustic © 2012 Laly Mille

The witchy hour, Mixed media painting on wood, plaster and encaustic © 2012 Laly Mille

For the time being, I've decided that my "abstract" pieces" will remain untitled. I have found that my mind can relax and even "shut up" when I make them, that I can simply enjoy the process. So maybe it's best not to weigh them down with words once they're finished. And maybe it leaves more room for the viewers to imagine, to project their own feelings and thoughts, or simply to relax as well... But maybe I'll change my mind!

2015 Edit: yes I have changed my mind! Sometimes a painting needs time to tell me its name...

Life, still

Life, still

Life still : mixed media assemblage by Laly Mille

Life, still © 2012 Laly Mille 19,5 x 29 x 6 cm -  7,7" x 11,4" x 2,4" Mixed media assemblage on plaster

Another one in the "winged keys" series! A little play on the words "still life"... Life, "still", as in enduring in spite of its fragility; and as in "quiet", too, standing still and waiting for the observer to look away to resume its flight... To me "still life" is so much more poetic in english than its french equivalent "nature morte" (dead nature)...

Life still : mixed media assemblage by Laly Mille

Other

Other

Other: mixed media assemblage

Other © 2012 Laly Mille 26 x 20 x 20 cm - 10,2" x 8" x 8" Mixed media assemblage, wire, plaster, paper

Sometimes we can feel different, inadequate, labeled as "other" and trapped in a cage that is too small for our wings. But we'll manage to escape and take flight towards our dreams!

This piece is part of the "winged keys" series. This key belonged to my grandparents and has a lovely aged and rusty look.

Working with plaster and wire is so much fun! I recommend these two books (one is in french and the other in english):

- Fil de fer, un brin de poésie

 by Claire Rougerie

- Plaster studio

by Stephanie Lee & Judy Wise (including how to make a similar plaster cage!)

Art, if necessary: a winged key assemblage

Art, if necessary: a winged key assemblage

Inspired by entomology boxes, this piece is part of a "winged keys" series. To me it speaks of mystery, holding the key to our dreams, as elusive as they may sometimes seem to us. The dice at the bottom evokes chance, coincidences and good luck, and how we must make the most of them to soar...

Art, if necessary : mixed media assemblage on plaster by Laly Mille
Art, if necessary : mixed media assemblage on plaster by Laly Mille

© 2012 Laly Mille

10" x 12,5" x 2" / 26 x 32 x 5 cm

Mixed media assemblage on plaster, wire and paper

Earth 1 & 2 : a plaster diptych

Earth 1 & 2 : a plaster diptych

Mother Earth, holding me in your womb

You keep me grounded in your strength

You allow me to grow my roots

So I can safely reach for the stars.

Thank you.

Earth #1, mixed media painting on plaster © 2012 Laly Mille

Earth #1, mixed media painting on plaster © 2012 Laly Mille

Original paintings available HERE.

Earth #2, mixed media painting on plaster © 2012 Laly Mille

Earth #2, mixed media painting on plaster © 2012 Laly Mille