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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, August 28, 2011


In the garage sale photo from the last post, in the middle you will see a round hanging lamp, which is painted a purplish-red.  After unloading and putting everything away yesterday, I started to disassemble it.

I used a cable cutter to cut the wires that formed the whole thing into a circle.  Then found the connecting point on the decorative part and got it apart.  When I wanted to cut it down into a smaller piece I found the steel very hard...but did finally get through it cutting with a hacksaw while the piece was firmly clamped in a vise.

The paint was obviously not the original coating and was easily sanded off to reveal the metal in the bottom photo.  Although, as I started sanding and there were still bit and pieces of paint left on, that was a lovely finish too.

I love this shape and will use it across the top of at least one piece I am currently working on, and I'm sure will quickly use it up.  Quite a deal for $1.

NOTE:  I hope all of you on the East coast are safe and secure while Irene creates havoc.  Thinking of all of you.

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