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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.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Throw-a-thon for Haiti

Yesterday afternoon we were part of a fun and feel good event at George Fox University in nearby Newberg, Oregon. Friend and fellow potter, Mark Terry, who teaches ceramics at GF organized a throw-a-thon for Haiti. Potters volunteered to come and throw bowls which, after glazing and firing, will be sold to raise money for Haitian relief. I'm not sure, but often these events involve the attendees paying for a bowl and getting a bowl of yummy soup to eat.

Mark was incredibly organized! He had students wedging clay and forming it into balls. Potters (students and pros) were sitting at all the wheels throwing while being supplied with a continuous supply of clay balls in the requested weight. Students also removed all the formed bowls and put them on shelves, keeping count as they went.

When we left, 500 of the goal of 1500 had been made. Nils met his goal of making 50 per hour (!). By 7, there were 1000 bowls made, and they were going on until midnight. It's hard to visualize 1500 bowls on racks and racks and more racks, because it was amazing when we left at 3 to see what 500 bowls looked like.

It was fun, for a good cause, and a good chance to catch up with friends. Thanks, Mark, for your amazing work!


Leslie Brier, Brier Design Studio said...

That's a lot of bowls! We just attended a similar fundraiser here in Fredericksburg. The group sold 500 tickets (five hundred bowls), had all of the soup, bread and dessert donated and raised over $35,000. We came away with beautiful bowls, and a feeling that we had done something to make a difference.

Diane Lou said...

Yes, it is huge, all thrown in 12 hours! And as of last night, only 200 remained to be trimmed on the bottoms. Quite an undertaking. I can't wait to see how much money it can raise. Fabulous to hear how well the fundraiser there did!