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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.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Anagama, art, gardens, and life

Yesterday and today friends and fellow potters gathered to once again load the anagama kiln for another spring firing. This time, our mural, made last year and featured on the blog, will finally get fired. Hope all the pieces make it through so we can install the mural on a prepared wall on the outside of our home during the warm days of summer.

The decks and bird feeders are filled with squirrels (looks like momma Douglas brown had 6 babies this year, and the big grays have returned too) grosbeaks, Stellar jays, chickadees and rosy finches as well as lots of chipmunks. Watching the pecking order provides constant amusement for us when we sit at the dining table.

The garden is taking off now that we are finally getting some warm weather (April was colder than February), and my mason bees/orchard bees that I bought 6 six cocoons of this spring are already laying eggs for next year! Finding another hole filled with cocoons in the mason bee "home" always amazes me. This little solitary (non-hive) bee that lives only a few weeks spends most of it laying eggs, eggs and more eggs, in between pollinating raspberries and other fruits. Nils is enjoying radishes (the only vegie I don't eat) and we no longer have to purchase greens for salads. The raspberries are covered with blooms, as are the strawberries.

My trips to Portland where I act as caregiver for 2 days a week have been alternated with productive, art-filled days which allow me to re-center myself. The plus is that the Goodwill bins have been filled with goodies like they were a few years ago, so I have lots of new materials to work with and inspire me. I packed away 2 big boxes of things that had been sitting around way too long knowing that at some point they will seem new to me again. Photos of new work are coming soon.

Watching a loved one suffer through cancer while remembering my own bouts with illness and surgery and recovery last year makes me treasure each moment and take in each thing, good or bad, as part of my experience. We learn and grow from all of it.

Love each day!

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