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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.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Another bins find....

During the winter months when "the bins" are not fed by peoples' garage sale leftovers, the pickings can get rather slim.  I've gone several times in recent months to walk away with not much at all, but it seems there is always at least one treasure that makes it worthwhile.

Apparently I wasn't the only one puzzled by what exactly this "thing" was for....wasn't a rug, wasn't a wall hanging, but it had a sewn border and a backing like a rug...but it was made of thin wood (1/8").  It is about 6'x4'. Weird.   No wonder it was one of the last things remaining in a very picked-over bin.  But, now that I'm using it, I am delighted I decided to bring it home!
The picture above shows it with the sewn border removed, as well as the backing...and it is now in two pieces.   I don't know if you can tell, but it made of tiny little slats, about 1/2" wide, with various types of print on it.
 Now that I can easily take the slats apart (they are just held together by a gauzy fabric on back) and cut them with my tabletop bandsaw (yes, Carol, there I go again with the bandsaw...I LOVE that thing!), I have tons of little bits of wood to add to the starts of pieces.  I'd had this piece started for several months now, but had ragged edges where the fabric ended and couldn't figure out how I was going to resolve that.  Well, 4 little slats, cut to length, then glued (with wood glue) and clamped down overnight solved that problem and gave me a neat and interesting edge.
I had some short lengths left  after cutting long lengths, so I used them to finish off the inside of a box that used to be a part of Strange Women, which is now reduced to 2 boxes, which I'll picture next time.  

Also, remember that tall skinny house-like structure I got at the bins?  I think it is finally going someplace through a weird set of mishaps.  Will keep you posted on that one.

Have had a couple spring-like days (though still cold), and the gardening experts are saying that the ground is so cold and so wet that we should wait till June to plant much other than cold season crops. So glad we built that greenhouse last year for tomatoes and basil and other heat lovers.  


Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Sounds like you found a printed rolling screen for a window!
Wow--that was a cool find! Looks great all taken apart.


Diane Lou said...

That would be another possibility, Anne, but it was bound with wide fabric on all 4 sides, and the backing was more like a non-skid rug backing (but why would you put these fragile, scratchable wooden slats down to walk on?), and there was no evidence of any kind of hanging mechanism. The mystery continues, but I am sure having a good time with all the little pieces as I find more and more ways to use them. I can't believe I almost didn't put it in my cart!

rebeca trevino said...

I have NO IDEA of what you are talking about. can't even imagine what that thing could be? did you take a picture of it before you took it apart? i like the window covering idea, and you are right, to walk on it doesn't make sense. it looks beautiful, really great for lining the box. i may have to keep an eye out for similar 'stuff' in my favorite thrifts. last week found some very kool woven place mats that i will be using in a similar way. thanks for the great ideas, none the less.

Diane Lou said...

I think you hit on it, Rebeca! This is giant decorative place mat!! I can see that you might find small versions of this as place mats. It is something I never even imagined existed.

People often ask me what I am looking for, and as this so well illustrates, I tell them I never have any idea, but I know it when I see it.

Pam McKnight said...

I have never seen anything like that either, I love your quote : " I never have any idea, bit I know it when I see it."

Diane Lou said...

That's the way it is, isn't it? It's such a gut reaction to things, and not thinking about what it is...or was...or will be.