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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, March 27, 2010

Anagama book now ready!

After a quick trip to the post office, we've been looking through the book I just finished to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the East Creek Anagama kiln here on the property.  Nils and other potters had it designed by Katsuyuki Sakazume in 1984 with the inaugural firing in 1985.  We have now had 105 firings in the kiln with hundreds and hundreds of potters participating.
The book includes the history, the building, and events through the years with hundreds of full-color photos.
I made the book through and cannot recommend it highly enough.  The quality is gorgeous, nice glossy paper and I didn't even pay for premium paper!  I had the book in 8 days from the day I uploaded it.

If you want to order you can do so by clicking on the photo link at the top left, or by contacting me.  I'll have some more in stock in about 10 days.  If you order through blurb, first Google blurb+coupons.  There are sometimes 20% off coupons there!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Hummingbirds and tulips and people's choice....

Such delicious little pleasures as spring arrives.  Today is absolutely a NW foothills summer day.  Nearly 75 this afternoon as I worked in the garden watering and planted more early crops, worked on landscaping around the garden, watched for my Mason bees (I think I saw them.  They are solitary bees that pollinate a great many more flowers than honeybees, and because they are solitary, they are non-aggressive.  They lay eggs before they die, and next spring there will hopefully be more bees.  Also known as orchard bees). 

The hummingbirds returned mid-March as is their habit, and today there were 3 feeding.  While I was in the garage, one flew in through the open door, flew to the window and there got tangled in a long-neglected spider web, so I was blessed with being able to lift it out of the web and hold its weightless body for just a couple seconds before releasing it.

I love that the garden is right beside the studio, so I can bounce back and forth,  so, from the garden to the studio I went.  Over the years I have collected many tiny boxes (6" and under), so recently I challenged myself to use the tiny things I have collected, things so small they get lost in larger pieces, in the tiny boxes and make tiny pieces.  I have about 10 so far, and a couple more in process.  A fun little divergence...  Maybe they'll go into the under $100 show next month at Currents Gallery.

I currently have two pieces in that gallery in McMinnville on our very charming 3rd Street downtown, and I was just notified that one of them won People's Choice.  They are having a Recycled Art show, and I'm told the award ribbon is also made from recycled materials, so I can't wait to see it.  The piece pictured above, #4, was the winner.

We had grandson Jake, age 10, here for a few days of spring break.  Nothing like a super-energetic 10-year-old to wear one out!   That said, his enthusiasm for everything is missed when he is not here.  He's a great kid.

The first red tulip opened today after a month of various varieties of daffodils opening, the crocus coming and going, and the perennials pushing skyward.  What could be better?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Anagama opening

Pictured above are many of the people who participated in the 25th anniversary firing of the East Creek Anagama.  What an amazing group of people!  As Mark Heimann has said, "It's like there's a sign at the end of the driveway that says, "Leave Egos Here".  There is no pretense among these good people, only love and support and camaraderie.
If we'd been doing a "people's favorite" award, Mya Hoskisson's newest horses would have won. Just so you should know, Mya is only 14 years old, but she has been making art forever.  She had shows when her age was still in the single digits.  Her newest horses are a delight!

Spring is everywhere with flowers in bloom, leaves bursting out, and sunshine (thank goodness).  In the garden, the radish, carrot, spinach, Asian greens, peas, and lettuce seeds are already up and thriving.  Counting the days till those first salad greens...

Friday, March 12, 2010

25 years of fire....

Where has the month gone?  Sorry for the lapse in posting as we prepared for and then had the 25th anniversary firing of the East Creek anagama.  There were repairs to do, work parties, then a weekend of loading, then the Wed-Sat of firing, and this Saturday will be the opening so we can see what the fire has given us.
We were blessed with good weather Friday night for the big potluck dinner outside by the kiln.  Nils was honored by long-time attendees at the firings with a beautiful hand-forged Swedish wood-splitting ax, engraved with the words, "East Creek Anagama, 25 years" and on the back of the handle the words "loyal and true".  The gift was presented by Brittany Hoskisson Bailey who has spent her entire 23 year long life around the firings, and who has been stoking the kiln since she was a little girl.  It was a little tearful for Britt and Nils, and for all of us.
The firing went perfectly in terms of quickly getting up to temperature (2400 degrees) so we hope the results are also grand.
Grandson Jake, age 10, was here that weekend, and Britt taught him to stoke the kiln, which he adapted to quickly and loved.  He was initiated with soot on his cheeks and a cheer from the crowd into the anagama stokers group by Mark Terry (above)   The next generation...