Elegance in Balsa

Every Tiny Art Build Party is a fount of inspiration. Some people arrive with materials in hand and an idea ready to go and others with a bottle of tequila and the desire to make something. This past weekend's Tiny Art Build Party in Oakland saw all kinds from Doug Worley chopping toothpicks down to size to Hot Damn's protest signs for the Bity Billion Bunny March to Adam's popsicle stick gate.

Wooden Horse by Suzanne Forbes (photo by mikest)

The Oakland Tiny Art Build Party also saw the appearance of the marvelous artist Suzanne Rachel Forbes. Suzanne is a distinguished Bay Area portrait painter, sketch artist, and illustrator… who just so happens to be an amazing balsa sculptor! In 2009, she made an exquisite balsa wood horse using only the scrap wood that the BPAF brought to the Tiny Art Party. Amazingly Suzanne crafted the horse freehand without a single reference image. Piece by piece it came together using nothing but glue, an X-ACTO, and whatever materials are on hand at the time.

Balsa Betty by Suzanne Forbes

This year, Suzanne has continued her tradition of refusing to ask for a tiny art grant. Instead, she comes to the Tiny Art Parties to build using whatever materials have been gifted. She is also pushing her tiny art farther this year: Suzanne has taken on the challenge of sculpting the female form—specifically the iconic Bettie Page, again using only scrap balsa wood, an X-ACTO and glue. It was truly astonishing to watch the hips, waist and bosom slowly gain form from her talented hands.

More of Suzanne's stunning art can be found on her website, Flickr, and Etsy. She also is a writer for the sex-positive website CarnalNation.