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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.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Gardening continued...then back to art

Following a couple inquiries from viewers of this blog, I thought I should clarify that my method of gardening is called French intensive gardening. It allows a huge amount of food to be grown in a relatively small space. It is most often done in raised beds with excellent soil....loose, rich and well-drained soil. Often the rows are only 4-6 inches apart, but by planting early season crops like spinach, radishes and lettuce next to later maturing crops, it works. When high summer hits, the early season crops will be going to seed or far past their prime and can be pulled out, making additional room for the mid- to late season crops to mature. Then in late July, when it is time to plant the vegies for late fall harvest, other things will have finished their cycle, freeing up room again.

In fall, when frosty nights occasionally happen,I'll put hoops covered with plastic over the beds, creating mini-greenhouses which will be used again in early spring to get a jump on the gardening season.

With slightly cooler weather in the forecast, perhaps I won't be spending my days watering, and will have time to get back into the studio. I'm looking forward to the 13th and going to community garage sales in Wilsonville with my sister. New goodies for art, I hope!

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