Patti Edmon Altered Attic: July 2008

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Altered Birds

It's amazing how scrunched up inside I feel when I'm lugging around days and days worth of  pent-up creativity; busy stuff with the kids, company in town, doctor's appointments and a house that looks like  a dumpster disaster movie set.  I've tried sneaking up to the Altered Attic but no sooner do I get the cap off a jar and my kids either need of a referee or are vying for my time. But, with just two weeks left until school starts, I truly do understand that the emergency runs to Dairy Queen, various errands, discussions and debates really are more important right now.  The table can wait... there will be a window of time... 

The really incredible thing is that every time my spirits sink below pool (canoeing lingo for water level), I get a distinct 'nudge' of inspiration. A couple of days ago, I logged on to a few of my favorite blogs. While reading a post on Ragamuffin Girl I paused when I saw my name listed as the winner of the Fairy Girl Bird Box! Even if it is coincidence, which I generally do not believe in, I choose to view it as a sign that if I am patient that window will open. Soon. 

Earlier in the post she mentioned having a similar dilemma - too many non-art things crowding into the day, like getting her car fixed after hitting a chicken that was trying to cross the road (now we may never know the real answer...)  It reminded me of a journal cover I recently finished with a bird as the central image, so I'm posting it in her honor:) Thanks for the boost Ragamuffin Girl-friend!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Vintage Light Switch Plates

One word of warning when using alcohol ink...and most of you probably already know - wear gloves!! I went to church this morning looking like I'd just changed the oil in my car, which wouldn't be bad I suppose.... But, it doesn't wash off!!

Vicarious Vacation?

How many of you use Blog Catalog? I listed Altered Attic hoping to widen my circle will widen and sure enough, heard back from my new friend, Collage Contessa, whose blog shows up in the "similar blogs" panel on my BC page. 
If you check out her latest post, you'll see she's been on vacation too! I think I'll invent one, in the hopes that by using a little creativity while traveling through blog-land I can vicariously experience the beach and other cool places. 
No pity parties here though! I got to do the deMeng workshop and DH did an illustration conference in New York a couple of weeks ago, so we've had our share of adventures. Summer at home with two kids, a dog, two cats and a hamster makes for some fairly lively days. Trips to the pool, photo-walks and visiting friends... hey, I just saved on accommodations! Now if I can squeeze in some studio time.
Fortunately the last half-dozen light switch plates I made sold, so I'm working on another batch. I use alcohol ink for the base and get some really unusual colors and marbly patterns. I'd like to hear from others who use alcohol inks - I haven't really run across much in the way of tutorials, it was more of a happy accident. Sometimes ignorance, or should I say, lack of experience, really is bliss.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Summer Days

Ever since I joined Leah in the call to be Creative Every Day I have payed more attention to the infinite ways in which we express our creative selves aside from making art in the studio - viewing something as simple as a sign or the beauty of nature, how we arrange our surroundings (notice I didn't say 'organizing'),or finding new ways to meditate. Photography has always been my medium of choice for recording my daily walk and I'm always delighted to notice an odd detail in the otherwise ordinary. 

I picked my daughter up at camp the other day and dashed into the restroom before making the hour long drive home. Not sure why I felt compelled to take a photograph of this sign, it just kinda cracked me up that such a formal word was, well, a bit worn. If it hadn't been securely attached (and at a church camp:) I might have considered it a found object and brought it home for a bit more grunging. Oh, the other sign said 'Men,' were they trying to save on lettering? I also find that a bit curious...

The mimosa tree on the drive out of camp was so fragrant, the pink blossoms so different from any other flower I've seen. A mimosa tree formed an umbrella over the kitchen window of the house I rented in my mid-twenties... some interesting times, those years. Every time I see one of these trees I recall the vivid nature of my struggle to find my path, a path, any direction that would lead to a smoother journey. Ahhh, a whiff of the pink fluff, if only I'd known then... that I'd live five miles from that house and in an entirely different universe.

My daughter loves the camera almost as much as I do. Thank the heavens above for digital, because it allows her the freedom to 'see' at different angles. This is our neighborhood lost and found system - dangle it from a pole or tree and the owner usually returns. I'm not sure that's the case with this little fellow, though we found him rather cute.

More flowers... each blossom lovely, heavy with fragrant promise. I wonder, in a single day, how many photographs are taken of the myriad flora, from the common daisy and roadside Queen Ann's lace, to the exotic, rare orchids. I don't have a green thumb so I roam the streets of our quiet, historic neighborhood to enjoy the beauty of each season as Siddharta must have when he said, "If we could see the miracle of a single flower, our whole life would change."

Thursday, July 10, 2008

deLast of deMeng, for now

Finally, after two months, my Assemblook  (deMeng terminology:) from the Random Arts workshop is complete. I knew if I didn't finish it I'd put it away and diminish all the time, energy and creative resources I'd spent learning from Michael deMeng, such a fabulous teacher. 
Altering a book seemed like a fairly simple task, until I realized that there would be four layers of foam board on each 'page' and that, like the rest of my life, it would be an open book. (It will close - not the huge opening in the left side) but then I'd have to do the cover - ha). After many batches of the uszzzzzhhhh!!, mixing paint to look a bit like verdigris, burnt paper and other tricks of his trade, sticky from adding mica, Wholey Paper and everything else I could get my hands on, I feel a sense of completion. Now, I only wish I could take another workshop....

Left-hand 'page'

Click on the Right hand page to view in Flikr

Monday, July 7, 2008

Blog Award!

A great big thanks and hug to Kristin Hubick, from Retro Cafe Art Gallery. She nominated me for this award, my first and oh, so special. When one receives this award, the following is in order:
1. Put the award logo on your blog
2. Add a link to the person who awarded you (I'd already done that:)
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs
4. Add links to those blogs on yours
5. Leave a message for the nominees on their blogs

A few of my favorites are: Lucy at SweetRepeats, Leah at Creative Every Day, Katie at Ragamuffin Gal, Lani at LaniPuppetMaker, Karen at BioGraphia, Jane at RandomArtNotes, Christine at Artist's Nook, Marilyn at Unshelved Words, more to follow!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Love is a Verb

Nothing like a holiday to remind us how important people and tradition are in our lives. I often struggle with isolation- a chronic illness, making lemonade (art), even buying my supplies online and I got in a funk thinking about my lack of plans for the 4th. I stared back at my prednisone-puffy face in the hair salon (first time in six months) while clusters of tanned, slim gals chatted into cell phones and to each other - is it just me or do other people's parties always sound more exciting? I'm amazed by how quickly I let myself wallow in that 'left behind' feeling.
The 4th of July has always been one of my favorite holidays. A dozen or so years ago my hub and I started wandering down to watch the 8:00 a.m. 10K race. From the comfort of chairs in the median, under beautiful old trees, we'd drink coffee, watch the runners sprint out Main Street, loop around and make their way back downtown. One year we invited a few people over for more coffee and brunch after the race; within a few years it was an annual event. Several of us  were having our babies so the numbers - and the chaos - grew along with the fun. The party would wrap up in time for the parade.
We lived in that comfortable old bungalow, our first house, for nearly a dozen years, surrounded by friends who became extended family: the golden days of lemonade stands, snowball fights, potty training... long afternoons on one or another of our porches, yelling when the kids ventured too close to the street, decorating cookies on Halloween and at Christmas. 
One of my closest friends began talking about how cramped their house felt after daughter #2; we'd had the similar itch for more space. It wasn't long until reality hit - our Richmond Avenue days were numbered. We were the first to go, and then Judi and Clark; Meredith and Jim took jobs in Louisville, then Josh and Sarah left... It isn't that we moved a great distance, but it was just enough to disrupt our habits of raiding each other's medicine chests and refrigerators, bonding over the trauma and tedium of sleepless nights, skinned knees, birthday parties, and, always brunch on the 4th.  
My immune system must have drawn strength from those seasons on the porch; soon after we moved I was diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis (similar to rheumatoid), and I couldn't keep up with my own family let alone friends. A couple of summers went by and then Ron and Vickie took over the 4th. I was thrilled, albeit relieved; a tradition had been restored. 
I  wasn't thinking those warm thoughts earlier this week as I sat draped in black plastic, my head layered in folds of tin foil; just that my husband was leaving for a conference in New York City.  I was sick and a single parent and I threw myself a good old pity party. But when I got home there was a message. Bring a dish if you want - or not - just come. 
I hadn't seen some of the people since the last 4th; it seems we're all juggling a bit too much, having trouble staying in touch.  The fabulous food, lively conversation and familiar banter lifted my spirits; I was invigorated after three hours with old and new friends I didn't even realize I'd be so glad to see. 
So, while the Altered Attic has become my primary refuge - writing and art are solitary even for those not plagued by swollen joints and flu-like fatigue - the fastest way out of a funk is focusing on other people. Whether it's through this blog, by email or phone, I feel a renewed call to act. To let people know just how much they mean to me, how extraordinary it is to share an ordinary moment. After all, love is a verb; to call it a feeling is like saying food is the same as eating; we all crave the nourishment of connection, illness or not, in a state of funk or one of amazed awareness. 
We left just in time to dash downtown and hop on our neighborhood float. My friend next to me commented on the sea of happy faces, all people who still believe in the necessity of parades. And being together.
Happy 4th of July to all.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Art Spanning the Centuries

My cousin, Vic Chevillon, is a geologist and artist who lives in Reno with his lovely wife Lynn.He has traveled extensively and has more stories to tell than anyone I know... an all around cool guy. 
Vic has created a series of four petroglyphs that are geometrically true to art found in Northern Nevada 10,000 years ago. The petroglyph installation in downtown Reno is part of Artown. The annual, month-long festival draws 350,000 people and artists - visual, performing and musical - the likes of Ringo Starr, Wynton Marsalis, Mandy Patinkin, the Missoula Children's theater, Street Dancers from Chicago... and my cousin Vic, and the list goes on. Artown was developed to strengthen Reno's arts industry, enhance civic identity and national image, thereby creating a climate for the cultural and economic rebirth of the region. The National Endowment for the Arts calls it one of the most comprehensive festival offerings in the country. 
Vic describes his Peace Quest Sculpture as welded steel, four pieces tied together by space, form, color and our longings across time. I'd go on, but it's really better to view the photographs and poetry he has written to accompany this amazing work of art. Or, check out what the Reno News Review has to say. 


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