Saturday, July 10, 2010

Flat Files and New Work

Flat Files and Vintage Pattern Cabinet

DH and I moved my new flat files into the studio last week and I immediately rounded up all the large sheets of paper, sorted them all, and laid them into their labeled drawers. I've wanted flat files for a long time but made do with some homemade storage on closet shelves, under the bed, hanging from skirt hangers behind the door, and in cabinets.  

I've always liked functional antiques and when I spied this pattern cabinet in an antique store 35 years ago I grabbed it. It's served several purposes... but mostly for storing patterns, and now for paint, supports, and other art supplies. I also have an old type face cabinet at the other end of the studio which is perfect for rubber stamps, embroidery and sewing threads, and buttons.

15" x 22" (38.1cm x 55.9cm)
Collage on Paper
$75 plus $4.95 shipping and handling in the US
E-mail me for International shipping rates or other inquiries.

As always, the process of handling the large sheets of paper stimulated creativity and I've been working larger again.

HOME - detail

The photo is my own, of course, combined with several kinds of Washi (aka Japanese rice paper). The thin papers present a challenge when the glue is applied so I carefully spread soft gel medium onto the substrate (140# Arches) and laid the washi in place. Then I used a tacking iron to heat the medium and fuse the papers in place.


  1. Hi Jo
    this is very interesting...what is the nest made from, I can't quite work it out...and the photo you mention is that the dark square behind the nest?
    I love the tones and the intrigue.
    happy days

  2. The nest is a photo of a bird’s nest that I found sitting on a concrete wall near my doctors’ office. The shadow of the wall printed out that luscious dark brown and caramel when it actually wasn’t. So the nest and the dark brown under it is a photo and the dark brown at the top was cut from another print and added to create the illusion of a square.

  3. I love this collage, and envy your flat file and the pattern storage cabinet I would give my eye teeth for! We live in an apartment, so none of this would work! It does make it slightly easier to pass up large antiques when I find them, though...

    I love the collage, also, especially your photo, which goes so well with the washi paper.

  4. Congrats on your new flat files, ack! I'm jealous. lol

  5. Great collage Jo! And those files - I hope some similar ones turn up in my life too. Nothing better than to be able to store your papers. I love your studio space. Just what every artist needs - a dedicated space that is an easy commute!

  6. Jo those are a great find, and they look wonderful in your studio!!

    Fabulous collage!

  7. Hi!
    My name is Susan Lenz. I'm a contemporary embroiderer in Columbia, South Carolina currently working on a series called "Decision Portraits". Are you the nice person who referred Patricia Albiston to me? If so, do you mind if I link you in the upcoming blog post featuring the finished piece? Also....if so, how did you find me? I'm looking forward to hearing from you!

  8. Hi Susan,

    Yes, I referred Pat Albiston to you, and of course you can link to my in a future blog post. You know, I don’t know how I knew of your project. I think someone told me but who knows who. You know how the internet is, you read a blog post, click on a link to another blog, and so on and all at once you find something really worthwhile. I think that’s how I learned of you. When I emailed Pat I wrote to her: “Pat, I think you qualify for Volunteer… just scroll down till you see the word. I haven’t read all of this but the project sounds worthwhile to participate in. The woman who is making the request is a stitcher, like us.”.

    Pat and I are friends in a group that started as an embroidery group in 1969 and I’ve followed her progress over the years as a Volunteer at the Henry Gallery where she put in hundreds of hours identifying and documenting the embroidery stitches in the Textile Collection. It always amazed me that she, like so many other women of our generation, freely gave of her time for a variety of worthy causes rather than becoming part of the women-who-lunch groups.

  9. Thanks, Robyn. I get so much pleasure from collage, whether it’s one of my “dailies” or something more serious. There’s something so exciting about making something from nothing, sort of like your sculptures. The wood is such a simple material but you magically turn it into incredible things of beauty.

  10. I was delighted to see your vintage pattern cabinet! Mine was bought at an auction when we lived in Maine about thirty years ago. It is five feet tall and the drawer fronts are glass so the patterns would show through. I store ink, brushes, lace and "important stuff" in it.

  11. I love mine but yours sounds even better with the glass fronts. There are all kinds of purposes for the old display cabinets. I have a couple of spool cabinets as well as a very tall cabinet from my uncle’s turn-of-the-century drugstore, one that held apothecary jars, as well as a shorter check that’s got 16 drawers. Plus a type setters chest and an old typewriter paper chest, small and a bit to narrow for today’s papers. Hmmmm, I guess I have a collection!

  12. Jo, thanks for telling me about your collection of cabinets. My husband once collected antique desks. A space challenging hobby!


I appreciate comments and questions.

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