Alexander the Great

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Congrats to Alexander, the proud new owner of my Dragon Warrior
leather mask. He purchased the mask last night during the opening
reception at the Reserve at Mayfaire. It was a great night for sales!
I said good-bye to several wearable masks and my large leather wall
mask titled "Mythic".

New Mask

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Just finished this two piece leather Green Man mask. Inspired by nature. The lower face piece is attached by magnets and can come on and off with ease. Very comfortable and has adjustable straps for heads of all sizes.

New Stands

Friday, May 29, 2009

I have been busily making some new stands for my leather masks. I wanted to create something that would represent the masks as sculptural pieces. I worked with my friend Karen, who designed and welded the copper together. I did the cutting, pounding, and painting of the bases. I think they look much better than the styrofoam heads. Check out the grouping on display at the Reserve at Mayfaire.

The Reserve at Mayfaire

Sewing my new project

Thursday, May 28, 2009

My sister brought my mom's sewing machine all the way from Missouri a few weeks ago. It was covered in dust and some parts didn't work so I had to take it into the shop. Now it's out and I've been stitching away at my new project. This will be a huge wall piece. More details to come.

Dragon Warrior Mask

I finished up this Dragon Warrior Mask a few weeks ago, but I just got around to getting some good photos of it. It has a detachable face plate too.

New Leather Journal - Steampunk

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Last night I finished up this new leather journal cover. I used several pieces of leather which I hand stitched, dyed with antiquing gel, riveted, and burned. It was very fun to do (as some of you know, I enjoy the process of making things). I especially love the fisheye glass piece covering the gears on the front of the journal. I burned in the designs on the back with a woodburning tool, kind of like branding.

The Masks of Nature

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Three female artists reveal the relationship between masquerade and Mother Earth

By: Lauren Hodges - May 26th, 2009

Artwork of Karen Crouch, Gail Sue and Leslie Pearson
The Reserve at Mayfaire Clubhouse
Reception: May 30, 5-8pm
(910) 256-4019

Animals have been using disguises to mask themselves from the outside world since the Big Bang (or the Big “Bling!” depending on your beliefs). Some creatures use them to hide from predators, while others use camouflage to hide from prey. Whatever the use, the main goal is survival and prosperity in the natural world.

Humans use masks literally and metaphorically to hide their true natures in order to survive in society. Only the bravest of creatures go through life without a cover of some kind. Artists—with their hearts painted onto canvases, manipulated into sculpture and even, in Leslie Pearson’s case, sewn into a mask—are never lacking in guts.

“I work at ACME Art Studios,” Pearson says, giving credit for her courage to her tight-knit group of creative support. “It has come to mean so much to me. “With 22 working artists there, it has become a little family and a place to bounce ideas off of each other.”

At ACME the only masks worn are the ones Pearson tries on her friends for fun. To her the artistic collaboration within the studio is nature at its finest without the need for camouflage. “We really do have diverse backgrounds and interests outside of what we do in the studio, but our common bond is the way we are all passionate about our artwork. We all love what we do and understand that it is our creative outlet.” Juices flow so willingly within the studio that it seems, well, natural that the beauty of nature is the biggest inspiration. “I ground my work in the essence of living things: vines, leaves, birds, trees,” metal sculptor Karen Crouch say. “Fronds become vessels; birds sit at the helm of deconstructed boats; trees snag moons; peas and vines tangle up sails. Increasingly, I ground pieces with stones. There is an element of solidity and an element of decay, but both are parts of the natural cycle.”

Crouch finds similarities in many of her colleagues’ works. Gail Sue, for instance, an Australian-born painter, inspires Crouch with her bold color choices, including violet, magenta and aqua, used on an otherwise earthy pallette. Crouch sees her work next to Sue’s as a complement, with each artist highlighting a different strength.

“While Gail pushes the color, I push the structure,” she says. “We are working in three different mediums, but each of us draws from the world around us, both the natural world and the man-made structures that help us live in and navigate that world.”

Pearson, Crouch and Sue all recently decided to see how much their different strengths could support each other’s works by pulling together a collaborative show. “We called our show ‘Diverse Perspectives,’” Sue says, “simply because it was hard to come up with a theme that would do justice to our different approaches and styles: Karen’s sculpture in bronze, Leslie’s leather and mixed media art, and my contemporary paintings in bright colour. So I guess the theme of our show is the diversity of approach with three different artists presenting their visions.”

Yet, the theme might be more obvious than they realize. Pearson’s masks mixed with Crouch’s and Sue’s outdoor elements make a magnificent atmosphere like that of a masquerade garden party. The metaphor for masks in nature is cheeky and perfect for a group of such sharp women. Another obvious similarity is their shared love of curves and curls in their work. As a leather mask sways into a point for a Mardi Gras-style finish, Crouch’s iron vine snakes upward in the same fashion as does Sue’s palm tree swaying in the breeze. All elements of cohesion point to the group’s final similarity: a tendency to stray from the straight and narrow. “I always want people to take away a sense of peace and hope,” Crouch says of her work. “Sometimes my birds are like little souls sailing along, looking forward, being still and hopeful. For much of my life I made little room for peace and stillness. I hope my work creates a little slice of that now.”

Most of all Pearson hopes to inspire creativity in others. “Seeing an exhibition of artwork is the catalyst for inspiration,” she says. “I’m always amazed at how inspired and encouraged I am after I’ve been to see someone’s artwork because it’s an expression of how they see the world around them. I think the community will be inspired because of the way we use the variety of materials in our work. Plus, it will be a lot of fun to try on some leather masks.”


Thursday, May 21, 2009

This is the second piece in a new series I'm working on. The first one is called "40 Days and 40 Nights", and I screenprinted then sewed 40 pieces of paper together on photocopied journal entries. For this one, I did the same thing, only used twice the number and tried it on rusted fabric. I still need to do the sewing.

Pick of the Week

This weeks pick is "Live Oak at Bray's Island". 31.5" x 48" Oil on panel. Be the first to email me and it could be yours for $700. This week only.

What I Did On My Summer Vacation, by Leslie Pearson

When my sister and her boyfriend Mike were in town last week visiting from Missouri, we decided to attempt body casting using some alginate mold making material that I had. I wanted to make a mold and then make a cast out of plaster to stretch leather over. We tried three times and failed at each one. Mike was a good sport though, even though he had to shave his body for the activity. You can just see the disappointment in my sister's face in the final photo. That pretty much tells the story.

Journal Cover

Monday, May 18, 2009

First off, could I possibly be any more in love with leather than I
already am? Ha ha. Anyway, since journaling, blogging, and the overall
documenting of my life is so important to me, I decided to invest a
little time in making a leather journal cover and I'm having a blast.
I'll be posting the finished product in a few days when I've had a
chance to apply my leather antiquing gel. It should arrive any day
now. I'm constantly waiting for new deliveries from Tandy Leather
Company. In this photo, you can see my templates that I drew out on
paper first, it's just trial and error.

New Mask

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I have an upcoming exhibition of my masks here in Wilmington, so I'm working on a few new designs. The one I started this weekend is of the "Greenman" style, inspired by nature. I always fit the masks to my face unless it's for a commission, but today I gave my hubby a fitting so the mask will be more comfortable for a man to wear.

Wikipedia: A Green man is a sculpture, drawing, or other representation of a face surrounded by or made from leaves. Branches or vines may sprout from the nose, mouth, nostrils or other parts of the face and these shoots may bear flowers or fruit. Commonly used as a decorative architectural ornament, Green Men are frequently found on carvings in churches and other buildings (both secular and ecclesiastical). "The Green Man" is also a popular name for English public houses and various interpretations of the name appear on inn signs, which sometimes show a full figure rather than just the head.

The Green Man motif has many variations. Found in many cultures around the world, the Green Man is often related to natural vegetative deities springing up in different cultures throughout the ages. Primarily it is interpreted as a symbol of rebirth, or "renaissance," representing the cycle of growth each spring. Some speculate that the mythology of the Green Man developed independently in the traditions of separate ancient cultures and evolved into the wide variety of examples found throughout history.

Photo Shoot

I needed a photo of myself for the new website I'm designing (stay tuned...hopefully it will be launched by the end of the summer), so I enlisted the help of my super hubby Justin Pearson. We walked around downtown Wilmington and spotted a really cool green door to do our photo shoot.