Friday, April 19, 2019

Where Did the Week GO? Oh yes, it went into ART!

(Above:  Cigar boxes collaged with decorative papers, vintage ephemera, antique prints, and cancelled stamps.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

When I came to the Osage Arts Community (OAC) in Belle, Missouri, part of my plan was to sort through some of my stash of found objects and assorted paper.  At nearly sixty years of age, it is high time I make some decisions about what I am really going to use, what ought to be thrown away, and what would be better off in the hands of another artist.  All this stuff had POTENTIAL, but for me, the word 'potential' is almost a stigma.  'Potential' in and of itself is not art!  Materials never used waste any potential.  They might as well be thrown away.  So, I've been sorting through boxes of decorative papers, vintage ephemera, antique prints, and cancelled stamps ... collaging them onto a collection of old cigar boxes.  I have forty-five of them in progress.  (More about this ... just scroll down!)

(Above:  A foreign exchange student from Cordoba, Argentina who visited OAC and volunteered for the first fitting of The Red Carpet Dress.)

Although I'm quite capable of spending every waking hour making art, I often need to switch from one project to the next.  This week found me doing several things, including a fitting for The Red Carpet Dress.  This recycled red floor covering from last November's Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft show is a work-in-progress. It is headed to an August 31st runway fashion show with ecoFAB Trash Couture.  I am relieved that the dress actually fits a person. I now have a workable plan to replace the problematic back zipper and ideas for finishing the back. 

 (Above:  Altered Cross Stitch. The Route to an Enemy's Door.)

Every evening I've been stitching on another, altered cross stitch.  This vintage embroidery was donated by a friend.  She back it with cotton batting and added seed stitches to the original border.  I placed it on linen, added my twisted phrase, and densely quilted the two together ...

  (Above:  Altered Cross Stitch. The Route to an Enemy's Door.  Detail.)

... with hundreds and hundreds of running stitches over the entire surface.  This work integrates old to new, creates great texture, and unifies the hand of three different people!  I am already working on the next piece.

(Above:  Painted Wonder Under drying on the studio floor.)

In anticipation of two Wisconsin workshops, I painted almost an entire bolt of Wonder Under. 

(Above:  Using the paint dregs.)

I even pulled a print-on-fabric from the ceramic plate used as a palette, let the rim of the plate dribble onto watercolor paper, and pull the brush into a few gestural marks.

But now to return to the cigar boxes! I am not finished with any of them.  There's still more to do while mentally thinking about containment and containers, about potential and waste, about working outside my comfort zone, and about my own TEDx talk, Precious: Making Plans for Your Precious Possessions.

In my TEDx talk, I tell a short story of a lady who gave me her grandmother's doilies.  I tried to refuse but the lady said, "If I give them to you, they might become art and I won't be guilty for never using them and having no one to leave them to."  I then suggest that some things are better off with someone else ... that by giving away your precious possession, you might actually be saving them from the fate of being forgotten, wasted, unused.
 (Above:  My OAC studio table covered in vintage and antique images ... all clicked and ready to be used!)

This is so true ... but it also got me thinking about my own stash of "potential".  I have saved so many things while thinking, "I could use this for art some day."

Yet ... when is that day?  What is the plan?  When will "potential" turn into the promise of reality?  During these past weeks, quite a lot of it happened.  I've given away pads of pre-primed canvas paper, images I deemed to large to use, and some of the cigar boxes.  I've thrown away more paper than could fill an industrial sized trash bag.  I'm putting into action some of the potential I've stored untapped for years.  It's been as rewarding as it has been both mentally and creatively challenging.

It was hard to start.  It was hard to be a rank amateur at collage techniques and figure out the best ways to cover so many surfaces.  It was hard to keep personal demons at bay ... the voices heckling from the back of my mind trying to say this entire project was folly.

Every day gets easier.  Every day sees fewer and fewer items on the studio table and more complexity and joy on the boxes.  Every day I am caring less and less what anybody else might think about the results of this activity.  Below are more photos along with some quote that relate to "potential" and the need to act on it.

“Potential has a shelf life.”
― Margaret Atwood

“But as long as something is never even started, you never have to worry about it ending. It has endless potential.”
― Sarah Dessen

  “Potential," I said, "doesn't mean a thing. You've got to do it."
― Charles Bukowski

  “You know what talent is? The curse of expectation.”
― Stephen King

  “Potential doesn’t mean shit if you don’t get off your ass and start working.”
― Rishank Jhavar

“There is nothing sadder in this world than the waste of human potential. The purpose of evolution is to raise us out of the mud, not have us grovelling in it”
― Andrew Schneider

  “It takes drive and focus to move from potential to reality.”
― Amy Leigh Mercree  (I really like this one!  Just google for the antonym of 'potential'.  You'll find words like 'actual', 'existent', 'factual', and 'real'.) 

"Creation is bringing potential into being, bringing inspiration into action. Inspiration and action are nothing when they are apart. Inspiration feels like a great a wondrous thing, but if it is not manifested, it is as if it never existed." ― Kristi Bowman

  “Dreams become regrets when left in the mind, never planted in the soil of action.”
― Auliq-Ice
“One of the most terrifying things I fear is not my potential, but how much regret I’ll die with should I never use it.”
― Craig D. Lounsbrough

“You are given the potential to excel, whether you do or not is entirely up to you.”
― Steven Redhead

“Anyone who has ever achieved anything has been a steward of his potential.”
― Chris Matakas

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