Last week on a night when I couldn’t sleep, I padded down to the cool refuge of my basement studio and assembled two rows of collage. I can’t say that making the collages meaningfully improved my mood, which seems to be tanking with abysmal frequency these days, but the intense focus did provide momentary relief. Minutes slid into hours. Collage has always had that kind of power for me.
The images can be read left to right, like a story. They overlapped as I laid them out, but obviously to photograph, I had to make selections about where to end one image and begin the next. When the collages get converted to SoulCollage cards, the edges will become permanent. A color xerox machine will be involved.
Feel free to offer your sense of what the story is about. I’d be curious.
Some of the collages have changed since these pictures — tidied up or supplemented.
This is not a story, but here are some fairly random notes prompted by the pictures:
What do I chose to reveal and how and to whom? Where are my sources of strength? What haunts me and what haunts the ones I love? Where is succor? Love matters. Where do I run when things turn backwards? Will she jump? Is that your mask or mine? Can the old terrors keep getting at me? What will I trade for peace? She reclines in front of a young man in possession of himself. They are so far away! What does their future hold? Will they ever connect? Why is my bowl so frequently empty? Who is he? Who is she? Will the angel really bring pink roses in the final hour? What about now?
Try to answer the question ‘what is art’ and find half your audience in a narcoleptic stupor in a heartbeat. But ASKING the question and PLAYING with it in your hands and your lens and your canvas, is a fiery, soulful exercise.
If you make collage using magazine images, you can’t help but feel a little sheepish about matters of originality. When is borrowing theft? And, how important is endurance, anyway? Fade, fade, fade.
I made and framed this collage about thirty years ago. I can’t remember if it’s under archival glass or not (probably not. I was a law student paying for tuition with loans). Does the fact that I covered and cut the images of an artist’s clay masks turn them into ‘my’ work. Probably not, which is likely why I’ve kept this framed piece to myself all these years.
But now — look at the light angling across the glass! The light adds its commentary, without my authorship, and changes the stolen images yet again. Does my capture NOW make it more ‘mine’? And if paper is ephemeral, what is light passing over paper — even if captured in a photo?
“Light eats cloth” commented Mo yesterday. Fade, fade, fade.Part of me shrugs — or even yells a New Mexico YES — because maybe that is part of the point — this mixing up of signature with indices of time.
I once sent a piece of patchwork to Grace in New Mexico. I had pulled some inner knots tight and didn’t know how to undo them. It seemed a simple thing to ship cloth west. I got energized by the idea of some fabric I had pieced together being touched by her, being blasted by the desert sun and sniffed at by goats.
The exercise gave me this idea of shipping sections of patchwork around the world, and asking others to let the elements ‘do their thing’, then return them to me so that I could piece them together into a more meaningful Global Warming quilt than I’ve made to date. (Still just an idea).
Jude plays at these edges all the time. Think – Magic Feather cloth, which gathered up hand sewn bits from all over the world, stitching a community together in the process (and a masterpiece cloth). Think of her play with light and shadows. A recent post showed one of her spectacular quilts with a shadow of her hand splayed over one side. Is the work the photograph of Jude’s hand casting a shadow on the quilt? Or the brief event of the shadow? Or is it ‘merely’ the cloth afterall, but now with a memory of the shadow?
Enough words. Time for a run to a garden center. It is an absolutely stunning day and I have both boys home!! Happy Mother’s Day to me!!! And Happy Mother’s day to all of you. We all mother something — ourselves, our pets, our ideas, and some of us, children.
I wondered if there were four recent pictures on my phone that could stand in for the same titles. These are the four I picked.
When I found out about a three-day indigo forum in Charleston, South Carolina this coming September, I practically jumped out of my seat. I didn’t even go to the impracticality of the opportunity given its price… just reveled in the notion of a free and clear calendar.
How different to consider a pricey tuition than to anticipate the juggling of school and doctors’ appointments and meals and well, you know, parenting!
Check it out: Sea Island Indigo Workshop.
Here is the revised and nearly complete “Fool”. I let the underlying blue paper serve as mountains, instead of the cut-out denim I had originally. And I replaced the sad-eyed basset with the black and white mutt you see below. I was happy to find this dog — it so nearly mimics the one depicted in the Rider deck. The Rider deck will be my prime source, by the way.
In terms of synchronicity — I was cutting out the suitcase, wondering whether I would find a good rose (something I considered essential for the card), when I flipped over the page and found the one you see there!
All that remains is to add title and number and make color xerox at proper size. And maybe revise the sun rays. What do you think? Too hokey? Inconsistent with the rest?
I’ve been thinking about ancestors lately, and the things they do or do not leave behind. The eighteenth anniversary of my mother’s death just came and went.
The ship shown above the rooflines above is a photo of the very vessel that transported my mother’s father, Albert Victor Jacques, from Hartlepool to New York. It arrived in this country on November 1, 1923, and he was 25 years old.
I am also wondering about how to collect these small shards of history and their images, if any, to pass them along. Here? In a private blog? On a thumb drive, and if so, what format? Anyone else tackling this?
Oh. And, it’s snowing again.
* Another two pages from Sketchbook Project, “It’s Not About Me – Questions for a Nineteen Year Old.” The entire book is pictured in the Arthouse Coop Digital Library, here.
Another page from recent Sketchbook Project, “It’s Not About Me – Questions for a Nineteen Year Old.” The entire book is pictured in the Arthouse Coop Digital Library, here. I hope the link works. Sometimes I get an ‘in progress’ message.
Here is the facing page.
It would be a good day to stay inside and drink tea. Unfortunately, there’s a four o’clock appointment on the calendar. We are right along the belt where it is difficult to predict the precipitation as rain or snow. It’s snowing now.
Originally, the question for these images was, “Where will you go when the snows come?”