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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.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Garage sales...

Since I opted not to have chemo, I still have hair....so decided I really needed a cut.  Harrold, my hairdresser, is in Salem, and on the way home from there, I saw this big garage sale sign on the highway that pointed back towards some farms and country properties.  Needless to say, I pulled over, turned around and went back.

The first sale was OK...found a few books and a few things I could use in art.  As I was paying for those items, they mentioned that their neighbor was also having a sale, but that it was "mostly antiques".  I almost didn't bother to go, envisioning a garage full of furniture (which we don't need) and high-priced items.

Ah, but no....this was a "pickers" dream come true.  Fran (yes, we were quickly on a first-name basis) was closing down the family farm since the death of her father and husband.  Her dad had bought the place 60 years ago, and you know what that means....lots of old rusty stuff and wood.  And Fran herself was a bit of a packrat who loved collecting weird things, interesting decorative wood pieces, frames and more.

In fact, Fran is a tuffet maker!!  Now how weird is that?  Did you know that the word tuffet is not used anywhere in literature except in the nursery rhyme (and references to it)?  And I had just read that the day before I met Fran.  So she collects wonderful old legs, fabrics, and buttons to make her tuffets.

The minute Fran saw me digging through a box of weird wood things, she said, "OH, is that what you're looking for?  Then come with me..."  And off we went to the assemblage artist's dreamland of wooden stuff.  I started picking up things, and she was saying, "Oh, 50 cents for that....a quarter for that." and I thought "oh, yes....."

And here's what I got....and she charged me a total of $40!  Not bad...and you can't even see all the little things that are in there.  I'm already busy taking things apart and figuring out what I am going to do with them.


4 comments:

rebeca trevino said...

what great finds! i only wish i could have been there. can't wait to see what you do with all these treasures.

Diane Lou said...

I have plenty to share, Rebeca. Wish you had been there too!
A lot of it went into storage down at the old studio until I need it.
When I looked at all the frames, I planned to take 5 or so, but then she said, "Oh, $5 for all of them." How could I not take them all?
And the two old crib pieces (in the background)....50 cents a piece!
Lots of goodies. I started tearing apart the lamp (reddish thing in the middle) yesterday. Will post pictures.
Thanks, Rebeca!

squidglass said...

Wow! Beautiful stuff! Isn't it great connecting with other collectors of weird stuff? All the sweeter since our kids and neighbors think we're just neurotic junk hoarders. (I can tell by the resigned expressions and rolling of eyes at any display of my latest finds...)

I wouldn't have recognized the awesomeness of the lamp until you started taking it apart. Way cool.

Diane Lou said...

You are so right! It's fun having everyone think we are way off.

One of my favorite quotes is: "Masquerading as a normal person day after day is exhausting."

And one of my dearest friends told me I am the only person she has ever known who didn't think she was weird!

It's fun being an exceptional person, isn't it?