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The Muse's Storage Box

The Muse's Storage Box
Copyright Diane Lou.

Alchemical Dreams and Disparate Realities

Rust and bones, broken toys and old text, game boards, gears and nests. Even as a child such odd, unwanted items evoked a pit-of-the-stomach response that bordered on exhilaration.
While I make no attempt to conjure up specific feelings in the viewer, the ambiguous juxtapositioning of familiar materials creates art that evokes half-forgotten, dream-like visions that beg to be interpreted by the viewer. There is a sense of deja vu (the already seen) tempered by a sense of jamais vu ( the never seen, or the illusion that the familiar does not seem familiar), and this contradiction asks the viewer to dig deeply, to look inside her own repository of wisdom, intuition and experience to find her own meaning in the familiar objects she sees.
The once-private discards of people's material lives that I collect for my art seem to carry universal memories with them, memories that can engage and mystify the viewer. Their beauty lies within the rust, the erosion, the wear, and the mere fact that they were once possessions.
I play with abandon and with no forethought. Each piece of detritus seems to suggest to me a relationship with some other piece, and I begin to put them together and wait for the mental "buzz" that lets me know I am proceeding as I should. Even at this point, I continue to remain in the play state and will not allow myself to direct the outcome of the piece, a process that requires complete trust. The outcome often mystifies me as much as it might any viewer.
Remember when, as a child, whatever was in reach became the instrument of your creative exploration? That is my life. A rusty, flattened piece of metal on the street, a gnawed bone by the roadside, a unique twisted branch from a tree, a fallen nest, a broken egg, a snake's skin, a dead butterfly...all will be added to my collection and eventually have their beauty honored in one of my pieces. The resulting art creates a new story with its own imagined history, one that invites the viewers to lay some claim on it by allowing themselves to be enveloped by the sight, the history, and the ambiguity of the realities before them.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Anagama firing continues

This picture shows one of the four side ports on the anagama during firing (below).  Yes, this is what you are looking at right before you have to open the concrete port to drop in 2 sticks of kindling every couple minutes.  And if that much flame is coming out before you open it....well, you can imagine what it is like when you open it (above).  Very dramatic, slightly scary, but heaven to pyromaniacs, which most woodfirers are (but in a good way).  

The kiln is cooking along nicely after a perfect start by Scott who worked all night on Wednesday.  We had a soaking rain overnight last night, good insurance against any of the 3 firings we have going today starting an unwanted fire.  And then, the prediction of sun for the rest of the weekend.  We couldn't have asked for better than what we are getting.
Cindy will start a pitfire today, and the smaller wood kiln was started yesterday.  The huge wood piles that have accumulated gradually dwindle, until, at the end of the weekend, there won't be a lot left. Then the whole cycle will begin again.
(Photos courtesy of Cindy and Don Hoskisson)

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