Pat Gorgas came to visit early in the Covid days. We sat on my porch, social distancing as she described the project she wanted me to do. A commission of the late Toller Cranston – Canadian national figure skating champion from 1971-1976, and the 1974 World bronze medal and the 1976 Olympic bronze medal winner. Although I knew of Toller Cranston, I learned so much more about him as I started working on this commission. The Globe and Mail referred to him as “He is his own work of art.” He was fearless in expression, courageous in creativity, and innovative in interpretation. Toller had a determination, dedication and a desire to go where no figure skater had gone before. Renowned for his artistry, Toller Cranston brought freedom of expression to the sport and was acclaimed as the most influential figure skater of the 20th century. Toller revolutionized figure skating. He took the sport to new heights. He inspired generations.
A Married Couple by Toller Cranston
He was not only an artist on the ice. His paintings—colourful, flamboyant and intricate—continue to be sought by collectors all over the world. He became a legend.
For my client, Toller Cranston represents more than just a legendary figure skater. His world was her world too. Originally from Toronto, Pat, a figure skater, met her husband Arnim at the Michael Kirby Ice Skating School. They both performed in the Minto Skating Club’s Minto Follies for several years, and eventually in some of the same shows as Toller Cranston. She recounted stories of Toller’s dramatic entrances and flamboyant style. This commission is an homage to both a great man and to the life she and her husband enjoyed for so many years and the people they met in the figure skating world.
Toller Cranston Polymer Clay, textiles, wood and resin. 18″ H x 11″ x 11″ The wooden base has images of him skating as well as his art around a resin ice surface.
Posted in Art, Art Awards, Art Dolls, art exhibits, Art shows, art shows in ottawa, Artists, Christmas Elf, Elf, Elves, Figurative Art, Maria Saracino, Orange Art Gallery, ottawa, ottawa art scene, Perth, ON, polyform products, polymer clay, portrait commissions, sculpey, Sculpting Workshops, sculpture, Uncategorized, Vingettes, Workshops, Workshops
Tagged art dolls, Canadian National Figure Skating Championship, figurative art dolls, Figure skating, figurines, living doll polymer clay, Minto Skating Club, olympic Figure Skaters, original art dolls, original one-of-a-kind dolls, Ottawa art, ottawa art galleries, ottawa artists, polyform products, polymer clay, sculpture, toller cranston, World Figure Skating
This quote by Leonard Da Vinci is going to be put to the test as I settle into my new studio space – a compact 8′ x 6.5′ room. This is the space where I sculpt and create my figurative sculptures and commissions. It’s where I will be developing, photographing and filming new workshops and tutorials. And it will undoubtedly be my favourite place in the house.
To maximize my space, I installed peg boards around the room and IKEA picture shelves to hold paint, clay, jars of buttons, glues, etc. . . My old metal tool cabinet serves to hold all the little bits and pieces I’ve collected over the years and my workbench has added storage underneath. It’s compact and it’s efficient, and hopefully many beautiful things will come from this space.
Having a designated studio space means you don’t have to spend time packing and unpacking your supplies and tools. It’s not about the size of the space or what the view is from the window. It could be a corner in the kitchen, a closet, a spare room or the garage. Many successful and dedicated artists create beautiful art in small studios. What’s important is that you create.
“Setting up a dedicated space for your art sends a message to both you and the universe that says, this is important and meaningful to me, and I want to give it space in my life.” Tara Leaver
Posted in Art, Art Awards, Art Dolls, art exhibits, Art shows, art shows in ottawa, Artists, Christmas, Christmas Elf, Elf, Elves, Figurative Art, Halloween, Justin Trudeau, Liberal Party, Marguerite D'Youville, Maria Saracino, Mother Christmas, Mother's Day Gifts, Mrs. Claus, Orange Art Gallery, ottawa, Ottawa 150, ottawa art scene, Perth, ON, polyform products, polymer clay, portrait commissions, Santa's Elf, sculpey, Sculpting Workshops, sculpture, solar system, space, Studio 87, Uncategorized, Vingettes, Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health, Witches, Workshops, Workshops
Tagged art dolls, art studios, figurative sculpture, living doll, local ottawa artists, national capital network of sculptors, orange art gallery, polyform products, polymer clay, sculpey, Studio 87, studio space, super sculpey
The de-cluttering process was not much fun. Everything went into storage during the renovation. It was hard to be separated from my studio stuff.
I haven’t posted much over the last few months with good reason. My husband and I made the decision of downsizing and moving closer to the city core last summer. This involved selling our home, purging, finding temporary accommodations all while gutting and renovating a 110 year old building in Centretown.
Anyone who has gone through any renovation knows too well both the highs and lows of the process. We experienced both good and bad surprises like the unexpected extra costs of foundation issues to discovering and exposing beautiful vintage brick walls. We were lucky to have a great contractor and the results are wonderful. After 5 months of living out of a suitcase, we are now in our new home and slowly finding a place for everything within our 850 sq. ft. Just as we hoped, life has become much simpler and easier to manage.
Before . . .
Even more difficult during this time was downsizing and restructuring my art studio. In my old place I spread myself out over a large finished basement area and was able to teach complex workshops within this space. That’s not the case anymore. My basement area is much smaller and every inch has to serve a purpose. The space is enough for me to create and this week I’m so happy to finally be getting back to working on commissions and some new ideas that have been percolating during this pause period.
Unfortunately the space is small so I won’t be holding any in-house workshops anymore. All workshops and classes will take place in outside locations like the Orange Art Gallery. My first workshop of 2020 will be taking place at the Orange Art School on Monday nights in April. I’ll be teaching “Sculpt a Bust” and there’s only 1 spot left, so if you are interested please get in touch with them soon at 613-761-1500. I will also be scheduling some workshops in other host locations and hope to have that schedule up shortly. Online workshops are also available through my website at saracinocollection.com or at AforArtistic.com
Thank you once again for all your kind words, support and for following my work over the years. Stay tuned for new and exciting projects coming up soon.
Posted in Art, Art Awards, Art Dolls, art exhibits, Art shows, art shows in ottawa, Artists, Figurative Art, Maria Saracino, Orange Art Gallery, ottawa, Ottawa 150, ottawa art scene, polyform products, polymer clay, portrait commissions, sculpey, Sculpting Workshops, Studio 87, Uncategorized, Workshops
Tagged art workshops, living doll, orange art gallery, polymer, polymer clay, sculpey, sculpting, Studio 87
Last November I posted photos of some Christmas elves I made. Not long afterwards I received a message from someone who was in a frenzy to get her hands on one particular elf I had shown that looked just like her “Mémère” who had recently passed away. Unfortunately it was one of the first elves to sell and was already in it’s new home in Florida. This young woman was from Penetanguishene in Central Ontario. She was new to my website and my facebook page and she had been just casually coasting through Facebook when my page, and that particular photo popped up. It blew her away and she couldn’t stop thinking of it. Her grandmother had recently passed and her family was still mourning her loss – this photo popped up and looked just too much like her to ignore. She needed to buy this for her Mom.
It was late in the season and I was pretty well finished creating new work, let alone any more elves. She kept apologizing for being so persistent and sent me this photo to show me how much it looked like her Mémère. She pleaded for me to make another one. I wasn’t sure I wanted to take on another commission until I saw the photo she sent me. Then I understood.
It wasn’t a typical commission – it was an elf – an elf that looked like someone. Someone who was special and in many ways . . . like an elf. I started work on it right away and managed to finish it the week before Christmas. The elf has a removeable hat so they can see her crazy hair. Here’s the finished piece.
It was shipped and arrived just in time for Christmas. After the holidays, I got this lovely note. “My mom was shocked and happy. Everyone saw my Memere when looking at her. She sits on our mantel she is our forever elf.”
Job satisfaction?. . . Off the charts.
Posted in Art, Art Awards, Art Dolls, art exhibits, Art shows, art shows in ottawa, Artists, Christmas, Christmas Elf, Elf, Elves, Figurative Art, Halloween, Justin Trudeau, Liberal Party, Marguerite D'Youville, Maria Saracino, Mother Christmas, Mother's Day Gifts, Mrs. Claus, Orange Art Gallery, ottawa, Ottawa 150, ottawa art scene, Perth, ON, polymer clay, portrait commissions, Santa's Elf, sculpey, Sculpting Workshops, sculpture, solar system, Studio 87, Uncategorized, Vingettes, Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health, Witches, Workshops
Tagged art dolls, christmas, Christmas collectibles, Christmas Elf, doll art, doll sculptures, Elf, Elves, living doll, Maria Saracino, polmer clay figures, polyform products, polymer clay, polymer clay sculptures, polymer form products, portrait, portrait commission, saracino collection, sculpey, Sculpey Official, super sculpey
Teaching is a big part of my life as an artist. I love sharing my techniques and introducing both young and old to the joys of 3D sculpting and polymer clay. My style of teaching is to work alongside my students which means I create a new sample piece with each class I teach, but with a home and studio downsize, I’m running out of space!
If you like what I do, here’s an opportunity to pick up an original piece at very special prices. I’ll be at Wall Candy – Sweetly Affordable Art Expo this Saturday, November 23rd in the Aberdeen Building at Lansdowne Park from 10am to 6pm. It’s free admission and there are over 100 artists to check out. From Potted Elves to Framed Santa Reliefs, La Befana and more, come visit me at Booth #117. Here’s the link to the show . . . hope to see you there! https://www.facebook.com/events/2345798758991077/
Posted in Art, Art Awards, Art Dolls, art exhibits, Art shows, art shows in ottawa, Artists, Christmas, Christmas Elf, Elf, Elves, Figurative Art, Maria Saracino, Mother Christmas, Mother's Day Gifts, Mrs. Claus, Orange Art Gallery, ottawa, Ottawa 150, ottawa art scene, Perth, ON, polymer clay, portrait commissions, sculpey, Sculpting Workshops, sculpture, space, Studio 87, Uncategorized, Vingettes, Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health, Witches, Workshops, Workshops
Tagged art, art dolls, christmas, Christmas decorations, Christmas originals, Christmas Ornaments, Elves, figurative sculpture, La Befana, living doll, Maria Saracino, polyform products, polymer clay, Santa Reliefs, Santa's Elf, saracino collection, sculpey, sculpture, super sculpey
Not all artists accept commissions – they can be stressful because you are trying to meet someone else’s expectations. You might also be asked to create something that is outside of your usual area of work. As a result of this, commissions are often more expensive. A recent commission took me outside of my comfort zone, but I learned so much from this experience and I’m proud of the legacy this piece represents.
This is Buddha, a sculpture that took me almost 4 months to complete. It is my client’s offering to his temple. A large piece, 34″ tall, sculpted in polymer clay but guilded in 24-karat gold leaf. The robes are made from three colours of Dupioni silk. The under robe shown here is in a soft yellow orange hue, lined in cream silk. The traditional Kasaya is made from a deep orange/red Dupioni silk divided into 13 sections trimmed in gold. I had to learn the correct way to fold and wrap his body. The clasp is also made from polymer and gold leaf. I created the staff from scrolled wood and covered it in 24-karat gold leaf. It holds 12 metal rings. His crown is created from paper, polymer clay, resin and gold silk trim.
My client purchased a precious gemstone to place in his left hand. To protect the sculpture I had a museum quality acrylic box, custom made by Canus Plastics.
As challenging as this commission was, even more challenging was packing and shipping it to Philadelphia. I attended a seminar on how the National Gallery of Canada ships delicate artwork and used many of their tips and tricks. In addition to this I also built a wooden crate. Each step of the packing and unpacking of the sculpture had to be documented and photographed and the directions were included in the crate for both the client and possible inspection by custom officials.
After a couple of nerve wracking days, the sculpture arrived safe and sound. Happy client, happy artist, happy Buddha.
A few years ago I developed a series of smaller sculptures for an exhibit supporting the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa. Expanding on a polymer relief class I was teaching at the time, “Fish with Faces” came to be. These whimsical little humanized fish floating above sanded and polished burls of wood were a big hit, and sold out at the exhibit.
Since then “Fish with Faces” has become an ongoing series available exclusively at Studio 87 in Perth, Ontario. I’ve done them in various sizes and colours and I give them beautiful Italian names that reflect their mediterranean influence and a sense of peacefullness. Names like Sogno d’Acqua, Mare Azzurro and the two latest fish to find new homes, Tranquillita and Riposo.
Resin coral reefs support the two newest additions to the collection – Aquaril and Meditazione. Brass rods support the fish over the reefs or wood burls, and tiny glass bubbles either pop from their mouths or are supported on their tails. The fish are sculpted from Living Doll and Sculpey.
You can find the whole collection at Studio 87, located at 87 Gore Street East in Perth, ON. Also available are my exclusive Galaxy Bowls and Pendants in polymer clay and 24K Gold. Only $40 – a perfect Mother’s Day gift. Check it out at http://galleryongore.com/artists-p-z/saracino-maria/
Posted in Art, art exhibits, Art shows, art shows in ottawa, Artists, Figurative Art, Maria Saracino, Mother's Day Gifts, ottawa art scene, Perth, ON, polymer clay, sculpey, Sculpting Workshops, sculpture, Studio 87, Uncategorized, Workshops
Tagged 87 Gore Street East, art, Decor a la Mode, Fish with faces, living doll, Maria Saracino, Mothers Day, original sculptures, perth, Perth artists, Perth Ontario, polyform products, polymer clay, polymer clay figures, saracino, saracino collection, sculpey, sculpting, Sculpting in Polymer Clay, sculpture, Studio 87
This morning I found out I received 1st place in the 3D category of the Light,Space,Time Figurative Exhibit. My winning entry was “The Railroad Traveller”. I also received a Merit Award for “Lunch in the Park”. I’m beyond thrilled, not only to win this honour, but to be in the company of several other artists I know and respect.
Art competitions are a way of promoting your work and building your credibility as a professional artist. The benefits can range from exposure, exhibitions and even self-confidence to cash, promotional material and opportunities. In this competition artists were asked for their interpretation of the “Figurative” theme by submitting their best abstract or representational art for this competition. The gallery received 845 entries from 35 different countries from around the world. The exhibition was divided into three media categories. Painting & Other Media, Photography & Digital and 3 Dimensional Art. In addition, there is an overall Winning Artists Category, and also included Special Merit awards and Special Recognition awards for outstanding art.
Here is the link to the competition and the exhibit. Scroll down and click on the 3D category to see the entries. https://www.lightspacetime.art/figurative-art-exhibition-2019-april/
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged art dolls, figurative art dolls, figurative sculpture, living doll, Maria Saracino, national capital network of sculptors, orange art gallery, ottawa art exhibits, ottawa art galleries, ottawa artists, ottawa arts, polyform products, polymer clay, saracino collection, sculpey, The Saracino Collection
The Irish celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, their patron saint on March 17th, but did you know that St. Patrick was the son of Roman immigrants, so he is also widely celebrated in Italy. But it doesn’t stop there – St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated all over the world. As a matter of fact, for at least one day, everyone likes to be a little bit Irish. And who doesn’t love Leprechauns and the stories of those magical wee folk who live underground, causing mischief and hoarding pots of gold. If you are like me, every time I see a rainbow, I always look to see where it ends and think about that elusive pot of gold.
Thinking ahead and as a distraction over this long cold winter, I made one little original Leprechaun. He’s my wish for an early spring. Meet Cormac, the Brew Master. Standing a wee 14″ tall, he’s one of a kind and available through my website at https://saracinocollection.com/collections/frontpage/products/cormac-the-brewmaster-leprechaun or on Etsy at https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/684984967/cormac-the-brew-master-leprechaun
May good luck pursue you each morning and night. May your thoughts be as glad as the shamrocks. … May the luck of the Irish enfold you. May the blessing of Saint Patrick behold you.
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged art dolls, Beer, figurative art, figurative sculpture, Irish, Irish Beer, Leprechaun, Leprechauns, LinArt Gallery, living doll, Luck of the Irish, orange art gallery, original art dolls, polyform products, Pot of Gold, sculpey, Shayne Gallery, St. Paddys Day, St. Patricks Day
Have you every met someone for the first time and you can’t help but feel like you’ve met them before? If you mention it, that person usually responds with something like, “yes, I get that a lot.” Well meet Edith. When I created her there was something so familiar about her. Since then, everyone who has seen her feels the same. I’m intrigued and slightly disconcerted at times at that feeling. I cannot explain vibes and auras and feelings (sixth sense type stuff), but I believe in much of that. Something about Edith makes her genuine, kind and friendly. She has joy of life. Maybe what we recognize in Edith is what we look for within ourselves.
I think subconsciously I dressed her in orange for a reason. It combines the energy of red and the happiness of yellow. It is associated with joy, sunshine, and the tropics. Orange represents enthusiasm, fascination, happiness, creativity, determination, attraction, success and encouragement.
Edith is sculpted in Living Doll Polymer Clay and stands 20″ tall. She can be viewed in person at the Orange Art Gallery next week. I’ve tagged a few people who come to mind when I look at her.
Posted in Art, Art Awards, Art Dolls, art exhibits, Art shows, art shows in ottawa, Artists, Figurative Art, Marguerite D'Youville, Maria Saracino, Orange Art Gallery, ottawa, ottawa art scene, polymer clay, portrait commissions, sculpey, Sculpting Workshops, sculpture, Uncategorized, Workshops
Tagged 3D art, AforArtistic, art classes, art dolls, art studios, art workshops, E-classes, figurative art, figurative artists, figurative sculpture, living doll, Maria Saracino, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa art, Ottawa Art Classes, ottawa art exhibits, ottawa art galleries, ottawa artists, polyform products, Polyform Products Company, polymer clay, portraiture, saracino collection, sculpey, Sculpting in Polymer Clay, The National Capital Network of Sculptors, The Saracino Collection