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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, October 13, 2011

Bins stuff and another anagama firing

Last night the warming fire was started in our 8th century Korean anagama kiln, and the next 3 days will be consumed with the firing.  We'll have about 30 or more people here off and on doing their shifts, day and night, of stoking the kiln.  By Saturday we should have reached the requisite 2400 degrees, and we will close it up tight, sealing the ports and the door for it to simmer and then cool for the next week.  The following Saturday will reveal what we have.

There is no art process quite like ceramics where it is the final step that either makes or breaks the piece (no pun intended), and that final step has so many variables, especially in woodfire.  The type of wood, whether it is wet or green or dry, the weather, how the kiln is stacked, how the firing is conducted, how fast the temperature get the picture.  The best piece in the world can be destroyed in this final step...a crack can develop, the pot can tip into a another piece sticking them together forever, the glaze may not mature, a piece from an exploding pot may stick to the perfect piece...or as happened once, a series of kiln shelves may fall, starting a domino effect within the kiln.  The artist must truly "let go" of the piece once it enters the kiln.

Anyway, for our second topic, I was able to make a bins trip on Tuesday, and found a bunch of small items that interested me...a whole $25 worth (which also included some Christmas tree decorations, a book, and some other things).  Here are a few photos of what I picked up:
I love the 2 round wooden pieces (no idea from what) and one is already set out to be used in a new piece. The little wooden trivet (red and natural circles) has already been cut apart to yield a bunch of little circles that will be used as accents. Beneath everything is a handmade, crocheted piece on old natural linen.
 Old gauges (upper right), white vintage drawer pulls (very neat), finials, sepia ink, a clamp. old sewing notions, wooden blocks, tweezers, and more.
 Some more odds and ends.  I'm sure the section of glass tiles will be used in bit and pieces in some art.
I really love this big clock dial, and even though it is a reproduction, it will look fabulous in some pieces (because I will probably cut it apart, and maybe even try to get a large copy of the front of it done before I do).  The little scary Halloween tree to the left of it is much more interesting when you cover up the face part.  A couple old frames, one handmade, sort of tramp-art-like are good.  And I like the tasseled cord too.  And so does Jasper (Jazzie), our studio cat.  He's a big old guy who is loving spending his final years in the studio with lots of little round things to bat around on the radiant heated floor.


Carol said...

Some wonderful findings, there, Di, and I love that your cat is allowed to enjoy them. We have a very old cat and feel he is entitled to do pretty well anything he wants. I also enjoyed your last post and especially the little armless skeleton. Very cute.

Diane Lou said...

Now with the firing over, I can't wait to get back into the studio and play with the new stuff. But this week is another crazy busy week with a tree-thinning guy coming, taxes to finish up and send in, another trip to Portland, etc. Like everyone's lives, there seldom seems to be times that are not filled.

Glad you have a sweet old cat too. Jazzie is a cutie.