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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.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

More on "the bins"...

Since posting about "the bins",  I've done a little more research as people here, and on other groups, have mentioned not having any where they live. Apparently in some areas, they are called not the Goodwill Outlet, but the Goodwill As-Is Store...or even the Goodwill Blue Hanger Store.   I was told by a Goodwill employee that in Oregon and Washington, there is one outet for each Goodwill region within the state.

To find what you have, Google Goodwill Outlets...or call your local Goodwill and ask (or ask to speak to a supervisor if you get nowhere with that).   Of course, other sources for goodies are all your friends (once you put the word out that you are looking for things), estate sales, garage sales, thrift stores, and secondhand stores.   Also some recycling centers (here in the NW) also have recycle/reclaim stores that are affiliated with recycling station.  And, in some parts of the country (not here) local dumps still let you dig.  And then, there is dumpster diving....and on...and on...and on....

The point is really that once you start looking, there is stuff everywhere!  I've found some wonderful things squashed on the road or street...rusty cans, metal bits from cars, a squashed frog, bones, bottle caps, and more.  Look at all of nature's discards...feathers, bones, teeth, moss, lichen, branches, leaves, cones, seedpods, stones.

Take a different look at all your own stuff.  For example, for years I had boxes of some of my mother's things....boxes I never opened.  In my clean out and organize mode, I decided I needed to either donate, use or discard many of these things.  It was very freeing to put some of them in my art, and I felt good to have upcycled it.  I felt good that her image, her stuff was out there in the world being enjoyed by whoever bought the art.

By the way, the free art was shipped to squidglass.  Watch for other maybe some "stuff" to work/play with.
(Childhood copyright by Diane Lou)

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