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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, 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...


Amy Burnham said...

Hi Diane!
I feel SO BLESSED to be a part of this last firing. It was inspiring to be around such a talented and dedicated group of people.

Diane Lou said...

And you are such a wonderful part of this group of people. As Jake kept saying, "Everyone is sooo nice!" Or, as Mark Heimann says, "It's like there's a sign at the end of the driveway that says, 'leave your egos here'".

We are all blessed to have this community of artists in our lives....and, we peeked...the firing looks yummy!