Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Covering Assets

There are useful things I've learned about art in college. I've slogged through the annoying critiques. I've been returned to the literal and proverbial drawing board ad nauseum. I've spent hundreds of dollars on art supplies to satisfy professors' whims. All this stuck with me like burrs on a long-haired dog. What I'd forgotten and is of great importance is the preservation of the art one has done. In college, students went through the process of making protective coverings for finished pieces with a sheet of tissue paper and then another cover sheet in some attractive color (usually for presentation purposes). All work had to be turned in covered in this manner or it would get bumped back without a grade. I've spent time slamming academia and its cruel handling of creative minds, but when it comes to a few technical aspects, like covering one's work . . . well, I'd have to side with the professors on this one. Despite the potential for a glaring F on the turned-in work, while it's in the pile waiting for that grade, a great many things can happen. Ignorant janitors, cups of drippy coffee, a stampeding herd of buffalo all of which spells damage and danger for the art that's been done. Sometimes, a thin sheet of tissue paper could be all that stands between one's art and a chuffing buffalo with a large latte and a penchant for cleanliness. So I took a little time to cover the 23 paintings done for this long-term project with tissue paper. That they have survived the kitchen in one rental, a couple of moves in a paper portfolio and construction on site is nothing short of a miracle. Covering this work means it's important to me, that it's worthy and it's going somewhere (not the bin). That is something an artist should never forget.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Little Things

Maybe I'm doing too much at once. Too many irons in the fire, as they say, but I seem to be tying up the loose ends in the studio.

I finished this bag with a guaze-y liner, crocheted strap and a beaded drawstring closure.

I started (yes, not exactly "tying up loose ends" by definition, but stick with me ~ my story gets better) this beaded I-cord gleaned years ago from here. (Oh, and I've still been spinning the Rambouillet as that errant spool in the corner shows.)

Because I ran out of matte board, this is as far as I could take SoulCollage in the physical realm. I've since turned to Photoshop and the Internet Images Pool for my collective unconsciousness gleanings. More on that another time.

And I've got four Oracle images done with a fifth waiting patiently on the easel. The process for this has changed. The complete lack of limitation has me in free-floating quandaries, but things are happening nonetheless. It's become an interesting journey interspersed with taxiing youths, dealing with business e-mails and faxes, animal husbandry and animally husbands.

Still plugging along with the cross stitch.

This is a photo-mosaic, 1000-piece puzzle in progress . . . There's really nothing more to say about this. The ends are too numerous to tie.

And this is Dirk's little dangling thread tamed: a finished ceiling in the kitchen. Up until now, we'd been enjoying the sight of our plumbing and electrical on a daily basis.

Monday, April 07, 2008

the new addition

Please meet Hilary Hammy Acorn Hamster. Newly acquired FREE from someone who had to move to a smaller home ~ no room for a cage and hamster. A Great Dane I'd understand, but a hamster? Well, there's plenty of room here. If the cats and dogs had the chance to meet Hilary, I'm sure they'd simply adore her . . . with Bearnaise. She rooms with Bennie and shoves kibble in her cheeks neatly enough. As long as she pulls her weight 'round the house, Hilary is welcome to stay. I doubt she does windows.

A girl and her hamster.

Oh yeah. It's my birthday. Forty-friggin'-four. It's beer worthy.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Dear Ruth,

My escape from the Big House was easier than anticipated. I made it past the guards and vicious dogs. I waded through the aligator-infested mote. I even had time to stop at the Starbuck's drive-thru and purchase a paperback of Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys at the Barnes & Noble. These are the obstacles involved with getting to a paid workshop, but I reached my destination sated and unscathed (nothing like a tall chai tea latte for the road).

Judith greeted me warmly and then returned to setting up the workshop. In no time, the elements of SoulCollage lay before me and a small circle of others who had come. After going over a few principles of the process, we each chose an image from the center and created an "I am the One Who . . ." statement. A few people put their images back into the center before moving to the work tables, but I held on to mine: a woman looking across a crowded discotheque. From that image, I made my first card and its statement: I am the one who looks away. Anyone looking at this image wouldn't know that the original photos were violent and flawed ~ one of the elephants was being mauled by a lion, the young girl was born without a left arm (a new genetic mark of the Chernobyl incident). And that, I suppose, is what makes a SoulCollage card very personal.

While Judith expected at least one card done by the next exercise, I was eager to get another out of my system. That resulted in this second image.

I'd have gone for a third, but time ran out and we all had to move on to the next exercise. We were all arranged at three different tables with lit candles and asked to look at our images and connect with them. With that connection, we asked our image what it had to say to us, what its statement was. This second image had this to say to me:
I am the One Who is the Hole, the Cleft, the In-Between.
You have to get through me to get to the Other Side.
The Guys will go with you if you want, but you'll be okay on your own because you already know what to do.
You won't have a plan, but you'll have a clue.
Cheeky bugger.
Then we all shared our images at the center again, laying them out in a circle on a rainbow-colored silk on the floor. Each participant passed their image around and read its statement aloud. The experience of creating and sharing was powerful and inspirational. Nothing like the staid critiques marginally creative students would have to endure in college. Judith then announced that SoulCollage circles are held, free of charge, the first and third Sundays of every month. I believe I'll be making my way back a little more often. I might even drag a needy person or two along with me. So, again, I thank you for a really great birthday present.
Now, I have two problems. First, all magazines are suddenly a gold mine of images which means that I may be squirrelling away a tragic amount of periodicals just to do more collage cards. (I'll just keep them with the Yarn Stash.) Second, it means I'm buying another book. But these are small problems I can live with.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Old Cross Stitch, New Numbers & The Power of Om

The Elemental Cosmos Pentagram was purchased in 1999. It's moved at least 5 times, has been worked on in 5 different homes and it was meant for the home I'm finally in now. Counted cross stitch is a bear of a challenge. One is flying blind, starting from the center and hoping not to lose one's way in the process. I've been working the bottom and the lower left section of this piece on spurious Saturdays and Sundays during a few of my favorite radio shows, Car Talk, Wait! Wait! Don't Tell Me! and Le Show. I get plenty of light in the sunroom regardless of weather so I'm plugging along to get it done and hung somewhere prominent. Another month maybe and this cross stitch will be done. Resurrecting this cross stitch and running into the ad for this book has sparked some inspiration in a different direction. Unfortunately, the company I'd gotten this pattern from seems to be out of business ~ Witches Stitches is no more.

This sign represents the new number on our house. I guess once the C of O was filed, the county EMS felt it necessary to inform us that we never lived at110, but 49. We'd been grossly misinformed for about 10 years as to our physical location. So I've been moved without actually moving. A little weird really. Anyhow, I decided a few things needed to change for the motto of our home. The Plantation had to go as it's oppressive and "work is work" begs for a rest. Instead, I planted the Om glyph and "Om Sweet Om" on our 49. Feels better so far.

In the process of creating an Om on the house sign, I started decoupaging (is that a verb?) om's found on the internet all over my old drawing table surface. Have I reached Nirvana yet? I don't know. I haven't gotten my latte.

Ah, yes! And here's Bucky the Homosexual Insult Skeleton in the latest poncho. It's just a long rectangle with one end sewn to one side. Bennie is waiting for hers to be done next. They are wickedly quick.