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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, March 20, 2011

Spring and the super moon...

The rest of the crocus have all sprung up after the very few early yellow ones. Their brilliant colors make me smile thinking of spring and summer and gardening and flowers.  The netting that you see is because two deer have decided my garden would make good eating, and they love tulips....and there are several hundred waiting to bloom!  I also used deer repellent, since I never feel safe relying on just one thing to keep them away as they are so persistent.

Yesterday we unloaded the anagama and the "caboose" kiln.  It was a very mixed firing with failure to reach temperature through much of the big kiln, but there were also some amazingly beautiful things, some the result of underfiring.  As someone said to me, "Sometimes enough is just enough."

And don't we need to remember that in so many parts of our lives?  Feeling contentment and peace with what is our life, with what we have (and once we move beyond our basic needs being met, there really is little that we "need"), with each day, hour and minute.  Not always wanting more, feeling lack, feeling the "if only I had....." feeling that leaves so many people over-shopping, over-eating, over-drinking, over-doing, over-everything.

Twice a week I attend yoga, and one of the goals of my practice is to shrink my world to my yoga mat, and attend to the feeling that there isn't so much going on the world that needs my attention at that moment.  That quiet space and time is quite freeing.

With that, I wish you, on the first day of the season, a joyous spring.  Don't forget to peek at the still glorious super moon tonight.  It is at its closet point in its elliptical orbit in decades, so the moon will seem even bigger and brighter than usual.    Enjoy!
( Kiln photo of Don Hoskisson)

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