Whether you think it says thump thump, thud thud, pitter patter or I love you, hearts are everywhere at this time of year and they say a lot of different things. I’ve never been a huge fan of the cutesy geometric heart shape but I have an affinity for the anatomical one that beats inside creatures.
In college, it became a regular mini-obsession in my art and I had quite big, if not horribly emo, plans on creating a massive muti-room installation that paralleled blood flow through the chambers of the heart with the cycles of love and loss (something you may still see me do some day).
If nothing else I am still intrigued by the shape, form and function of the human heart and its complexity. Here’s a few of my own anatomical heart based creations and then we’ll look at a smattering of the myriad of ways its popped up recently including the lovey dovey, the squishy, the odd, the beautiful, the wearable and the DIY.
I think the first heart I made was a patchwork piece made of fake red leather, a deep red maroon. I created a form, probably of stuffing and wrapped it in duct tape form medium of choice as always) and then carefully hand sewed the heart together. This little piece was fun, detailed and durable (like an odd football and similar in size). I’d love to make more and have them be specifically for that purpose ;). I really like hand sewing, especially when it yields something neat at the end. Eventually, on account of college art classes bing based on specific assignments, I had to incorporate the heart into a larger piece, which ended up including an oversized aluminum guitar and a welded cage flashlight…It was really the heart I was, and am still, the most interested in, though the whole piece is alright too.
I wish I could find a good pic of just the heart itself… For scale that ‘guitar’ is aluminum and about 5+’ tall and 8?” thick front to back.
So one of the things I’ve wanted to do is make glass hearts. I have a few different sizes and purposes in mind. I was told many of the sizes (small to medium) were really not going to work for the glass process and that it must be much larger than I had initially wanted. So, to this end I first sculpted a anatomical heart out of clay. I really loved some of the detail I got on it too. That was during one of several summers I stayed at college on a grant.
In the summer in central NY you’ll often find it the mud season. It gets incredibly hot, immensely humid and you get rain. During the time I was working on the clay stage of the heart, they were also working on the roof of my studio. It was interesting. Occasionally, they’d drop something through a skylight and I’d hand i back up to them. One day I came into the studio and found a beautiful if not peculiar and worrisome sight. It was raining, in the studio. A large sky light had been left uncovered and here it was raining inside. It was fascinating and I regret that I did not have my camera at the time. I quickly made sure my uncured clay was well out of splatter range. Everything turned out alright and I think it stopped raining eventually.
So after the cay hart was completely I reluctantly covered it in liquid latex, plaster and burlap to make a mold. After making and cleaning the mold I made several (6 or 7?) wax hearts using the mold. The first being made with recycled motor oil mixed with a cherry wax. It smelled pretty terrible and some of the overly friendly/inquisitive (read smarmy/creepy) seasonal cleaning folks became significantly less once they thought it was animal blood (which of course it was not). The rest of the hearts used much more cherry than motor oil wax, which was much more pleasant. After wrestling all of these out of the mold I made plaster/silica molds out of them, all but the motor oil heart, destroyign the hearts in the process. These molds were supposed to be used to make the glass hearts, but my glass blower moved to China and I failed to track down another. I also made a foam version with my mold and hope to make some out of other materials. Anyhow, here’s the surviving heart-
Some detail is lost with each level, so the wax heart doesn’t have quite as much detail as the clay one. But it is still interesting. That heart is big enough for you to hug, and 2 feet maybe tall?
When I was studying and creating in south France, I made a tiny, fit in the palm of your hand heart out of an odd white, very unexpectedly light weight, plasticy clay/dough. I really am not sure what the stuff is. If you have any idea, I’d love to know. Again I made a plaster mold, which lost vast amounts of the detail compared to the white heart. I cast several hearts in clay and them air dry. (these I would love to make in glass!) I still have the mold and one surviving heart as well and may actually make more of these since I can cast them fairly easily.
The hearts I made in France became part of a project/installation for our final show where I had a shelf of air dried clay hearts and a shelf of olive jars filled with one. The way it was supposed to work was that one heart would be dropped into the water each day of the show and dissolve. As they dissolved, the heart would bubble at a regular interval like a beat. Eventually it would crumble and become a pile of clay in the jar. Unfortunately, on opening night several ppl dumped hearts into the water, which somewhat worked as well. I have video somewhere of what it looks like when they dissolve. If I find it, I’ll have to amend this. So you can see.
But it doesn’t end at sculpted hearts. I have countless paintings, some abstract some not, some 5 or 6 feet high and some small as well as drawings. This is one of my favorites. I don’t know if there is a name for this type of drawing or these line patterns but it’s something I do a lot, sometimes involuntarily.
These are all older pieces of mine. I’ve been surprised by the number of things one can find on etsy when searching for anatomical hearts.
And clearly I’m not the only one making hearts. They are all over the place used in puns and art and cards. Like these:
I adore some of the more art and illustration representations as well, with this being a favorite by far, especially being a printmaker
sadly, but great for Munstre, this lightbox, and it would appear the whole shop, is currently sold out (or possibly on vacation but there’s no indication of that)? The image will link to the shop for now and I strongly encourage you to check it out. MUNSTRE creates stunningly beautiful work in these lightboxes and you will want to see more for sure.
And if paint and light aren’t your kind of decor, how about tile? Hang it up or use it as a regular tile for something truly unique.
I don’t know exactly where to categorize this one- decor? art? practicality? But it is definitely one not to be passed up:
love them :). And if you aren’t into black check out the rest of the shop for red ones too and last I checked you could even get a set of one red and one black.
and I’m fond of this ‘Ghost Heart’ as well
Check out the rest of the shop, you are sure to be fascinated. And if you aren’t looking for a ghost heart you can also find a vampire heart and what may be a human heart as well.
Art, plush and cards aren’t the only places we find hearts. There’s even practical heart shaped items, like soap…
Cool shape, color and scent, mmm pomegranate and it’s vegan too! And you’ll see once you click through, it has all that without a crazy price.
And if you prefer wine to fruit scents try these equally fun affordable soaps above.
And equally practical and fascinating is this spoon rest. Who knew displaying an organ could keep your counter/stove clean?
And, as you look through this shop, you’ll notice it’s part of a set :).
Practical and yet wearable-
And then there’s a vast array of wearable-
These lockets are an absolute favorite for me for wearable hearts since it gives you the outside and the fascinating inside. Check out heronadornment on etsy for many variations including half hearts, whole hearts, lockets, different chain lengths and a variety of metals.
another really neat wearable piece:
Talk about a ticker..
I simply adore this one (above) . The work, the detail the fascinating combination of shapes. From the shop announcement: ” Although they look like metal, don’t be fooled – they are completely handsculpted from polymer clay!” would you have thought? And MonserKookies has so many more heart variations. Do go check out that shop.
I like the name on this next one and that it’s got a different interpretation than many of the others-
Lovely silverwork indeed
And if you prefer copper, try this one
but it appears to have sold now, so might I recommend the gunmetal variety the image is linked to? There’s also an antique gold colored one and some other intriguing pieces in her shop you should see.
And if metal isn’t your thing, how about rubber?
And if you’re not into black, there’s a massive variety of colors available in that one.
Now for some more color and cameos…
Stunning and fascinating don’t you think? Note that the shop is in vacation mode until March 1st so you won’t be able to get your hands on it until then.
Kinda of wish I knew more about that one, but it’s fascinating anyway.
For more colorful hearts check out Saucerville’s Hearts which is giving away sparkling heart pendants with $10+ orders.
And wearing your heart doesn’t need to mean jewelry
Perhaps at this point, your creativity is tingling to get working on something and you love this anatomical heart stuff but aren’t sure what to do. Check out these DIY ideas to help you get started.
If you want thorough instructions and a completed product all from one box check this out
If you just want to make something but are having trouble with the detailed drawing of the heart, why not just use a stamp like this
Or these colorful stickers also by snew (rubber heart above)
And if you want to get started on something right away, go digital with these digital collage sheets:
Hearts aren’t just for Valentine’s Day. So, if you stumble across something unique and intriguing do share! The complexity that beats within you is there daily, be fascinated.
PS- musically, until I can find or make something using real heart beats, try pitterpatter goes my heart by broken social scene.