Friday, October 2, 2009
so somehow thought it appropriate to show a piece I made some time ago.
3" x 3"
shrinky dink with colored pencil
polymer clay with gold leaf
I made a lot of tiny Framed Shrinkies (more to come) and sold many. Got a little tired of them, but still, they are sweet.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Monday, April 6, 2009
A Pig on a Pedestal
A Thoughtful Frog
The Library at the Armory, Pasadena
And then she sends some others back to me in return.
For her it's all about vintage fun. But for me (yes, still cell phone-less) a Rolodex is part of my everyday life. The cards I get in return will be tucked in there to make me smile.
Sunday, March 1, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
The rack and I completely block the way. An older woman in ill-fitting 80's style clothing in gaudy colors, stops next to me. Her oversized bag gets lost in the clothing rack as she squeezes into the aisle. Long, stringy, graying hair, a child's barrette pulling her bangs back over her forehead, she smiles a loose grin with a missing incisor, and warmly admits that she recognizes me. Yes, I've seen her around too.
"Come on over and have a sit with us." She motions with her head towards the chairs and couches for sale, placed around a worn-out coffee table with a $20 price tag. "You're a regular; you belong over here chatting with us. We have nice talks."
Yes, I visit this Salvation Army store a couple days a week. Yes, I'm a regular, but I'm not a chatting regular.
I check today's stash:
- a lovely, tastefully beaded black Alex Coleman vest. Maybe I'll wear it at Christmas.
- a long and lean, foot-long, wooden pig. It feels warm and seems to oink a golden oink at me. "Take me home, gold leaf me, I'm perfect," it says.
- a small and grimy child's school slate that might be old enough to be worth something, but I plan on gold leafing the border and chalking in something clever on the slate.
- a tiny wicker bird cage, about 3 inches tall, without a price tag.
I thank the lady for her invitation and quickly flip through the rest of the rack before moving on to the checkout counter. I chuckle over the thought of hanging out at the furniture section while the guy behind me in line picks his nose, and the young man in the red Salvation Army vest loudly sings along with Crocodile Rock playing on the stereo marked $15.00.
My beautiful vest and wooden pig are recorded in the cash register, treated as items equally worth taking home on an early Thursday afternoon. I love how a 40-year-old hand-beaded vest and a "Buy One/Get One Free on Brick-a-Brack" item receive the exact same nonchalant reaction from the counter lady. She picks up the tiny bird cage (also destined for gold). The rule is "No tag - No sale." She looks up, recognizes me, and pushes the cage towards me across the glass-topped jewelry-filled countertop. Conspiratorially, and with a smile and a sweet wrinkle of her nose, she says, "You just take that, Sweetie."
Glancing over at the furniture section I feel strangely honored by the earlier invitation. Of course there's no question that I want to buy these things. It's fine. I'm a regular.
Softly singing along to Crocodile Rock, I check my outfit, my bag. Pointing into the glass case I spy a little costume jewelry piece and say, "Can you show me that barrette?"
Saturday, January 24, 2009
And I, to play my part, was suitably silent and humble.
When my mother was dying of brain cancer, for the last four months of her life, I cared for her day and night. People would tell me how wonderful, how brave I was. They thought I was being so completely unselfish. I must hold some kind of secret, because they thought they wouldn't be able to do that sort of thing. But I moved into my parents' house, bathed, coaxed sips of water into, changed the diaper of, held the hand of, and tried desperately to understand the mumbled mixed up words of my dying mother for completely selfish reasons.
I wanted to be like God. I wanted to understand everything. I wanted to be omniscient. I wanted to make instant connections between life and death, and have it all make sense. I wanted to know everything and hold it all in my hands. I wanted to hold my mother's pain and her inability speak, her jumbled, mumbled words, even my dad's false teeth or the dead skin that peels off my feet, my mom's diseased cells multiplying as a cancerous tumor, her dog that never left her side, the scar on her head, the one on her neck, and her missing ovary. I wanted to care for it all.
But all I could do was care for my dying mother, and make art. I made vessels so I could try to hold that cancer and pain.
Now, I'm older. I no longer want to be like God. The vessel stage has passed (sort of). My fingers no longer wiggle and I'm happy to shove my art work in front of anyone feigning interest.
There are no more secrets. Even if there ever was one, it was only ever this simple: This is what I do.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
But why do I gold leaf them and put them in "ceremonial tins?"
The easy answer is: I can change something tiny (icky even) into something so big and worthy.The short version of a complicated answer: Making forgotten dead things important - I realize now that even though my process has changed, 15+ years later, I am still making artwork about my mother's death.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
After one such weekend a few years ago, I ended up with this...
...the very beginning of my obsession with shrinky dinks, gold leaf, and birdhouses.
Soon thereafter, in an epiphany (hey, my calendar states that today, January 6, is the Epiphany), I realized that I could embrace my crafty love in the pursuit of "serious" artmaking.
Although I still see Rosie regularly, we no longer craft together. She has recently given me permission to write about the reasons for that. Perhaps soon, I will share that story here. Thanks in more ways than one, Rosie, for giving me permission to make art again.