Patti Edmon Altered Attic: August 2008

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Blog Award

Karin at Beyond Words recently received an I Love Your Blog award, and, as with most awards of this type, passed it along to seven bloggers she wanted to 'tag.' I cracked up when I read her comment about the look of the graphic not quite blending with her style; it doesn't, to say the least. She also expressed gratitude because of the meaning behind it; there are rewards in looking a bit differently at something we might otherwise overlook. 
I was one of the lucky recipients tagged by her and I say lucky especially because she is such an amazing artist. When I look at her journal pages I feel the tug of raw emotion that runs like a current beneath the part of me that is currently making art. That's not to say that my work isn't genuine, or a reflection of my style. Just that I'm only skimming the surface, a rock skipping across the river before slowly drifting toward the darker, bottom where the real stuff accumulates. But, that we don't see, unless we're wearing oxygen tanks and masks. There's another layer, maybe dozens more, waiting to be plumbed; give me time, I tell myself and I will go there, the rich silty years buried where time has been frozen like leaves pressed against rock with enough force to imprint a fossil, a permanent memory.
Speaking of the need to look back, I also love what Lucy is doing with her new series, on Sweet Repeats. Her fabulous paintings, which she refers to as whimsical villages, are lovely, inviting, curious remembrances of her early life, a time when life, she says was carefree. The memories she is conjuring by exploring the genesis of her life will likely fuel creative periods saturated with mystery and meaning.
My friend and pastor, Woody Berry, said during a sermon, that it's necessary to know where we came from before we can know who we are, where we are going. One of his truths, it also has stayed with me. I believe we all share the need to dig down, recover, unearth, remember, savor, hold out our hands and say, "See?" The stories we have to tell, whether in paintings, beautiful narrative, like those created by my best friend Karen at Biographia, or in scrap books, photo albums, collage, paintings and assemblage, are the kind of treasures that join us, as we journey forward, in search of deeper truths.
I would like to honor blogs that inspire and inform, make me laugh or cry or want to find the courage to keep digging. I'll post them as soon as the list is whittled appropriately. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Pulled in too many directions, kids having trouble adjusting to their new school, the dog is sick, my arthritis flaring.... make for a tentative foundation of courage and strength, faith. A couple of weeks in this state is enough for me - hard to focus on keeping the pets fed and getting dinner made, let alone create the art for the swaps I've committed to... experiment with the techniques I've been putting aside forever, finding a deep, sacred space where I can connect the inner self with the universe, filling journal pages with wild abandon.
I found a fabulous blog - an artist who expresses her daily experiences with amazing imagery that is, well, quite enviable. See what you think -  visit Karin at Beyond Words. 
I love to dabble with photographs - find it very calming. Not quite the blank slate the painter approaches, tabula rasa, but an inviting image to explore and get lost in; starting with a perfectly lovely flower in shades of pale pinks and soft greens, I've begun altering it a little at a time, the way I seem to do with everything in life. Find as many variations as possible on the same theme... if I'm successful, I'll post the others, or, maybe get back to the trashy box that's due in the mail this week.... 

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Two months ago today, my lovely Aunt Grey (on the left) passed away. A second mother to me, she was also a very close and special sister and friend to my wonderful mother (right), who was the baby sister in a family of five children raised in rural southern Alabama, where my parents, one remaining aunt and a host of relatives and friends are braving tropical storm Fay to attend her interment. I so wish I could be there, but having children in school prevented us from making the trip.
A few days after she passed, I needed to channel my grief at the art table, blend it with memory, layer with love and hope and as with all life situations, try to create beauty from pain. I am a member of Paper Imagery Designs had at the time the weekly challenge was black and white, which was how I started the project, though I soon realized my desire to create something to honor the love and kinship that exists in my family. 
I have never tried to work in black and white before, aside from photography, and at first found it very challenging. The call for black and white entries at Somerset had been published too, but I don't feel quite up to that level; it was, however, a good incentive to continue the exploring blacks, whites, grays and the multitude of shades in between. As I layered paints over gesso, pressed in lace and scraps and other bits into the background, I started seeing the possibilities. 
Both women were lifelong seamstresses - my mom still helps me with complicated alterations. She  made clothes for my dolls when I was a girl, along with the Easter dresses for the three of us girls - I can't even find time to sew buttons on, unless it's on paper!! So I have been collecting bias tape, trims, buttons and fabrics from both their stashes for quite some time. The domino was my daughter's brilliant idea, the dots represent the nine years between my aunt and mother's age. Nearly every element has significance, and I worry that it's a bit fussy, busy maybe, but I always have trouble figuring out when  a project is 'finished.' I have since threaded wire across the top and added a couple of charms and buttons there too, and it's in a shadow box. 

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Nothing Could be Finer than a Friend in Carolina...

To be blessed not once, but twice in the same week is manna from heaven. I won't 'repeat' myself by rehashing my big old pity party, but I've alluded to recent traumas with my kids going to middle school, my illness, my aunt's death, more than I'd care to deal with such a short time span. So, winning a drawing held by Lucy, a fabulous artist in North Carolina, was a double dose of goodness indeed.
If you haven't visited Sweet Repeats, go now! Wait, finish reading first. Lucy, Sweet Lucy, truly is the kind of found angel/friend that appears when we are open, eyes and heart, in need or just receptive, to the grace that travels along the universal vibes in bubbles, streams, rays, flickers of hope and goodness. 
To receive a package from her is more than a brightness in the day, it shores up a hurting heart, rises up low spirits and reinforces every good thing in life. When I received the prize I was blown away by the fact that, along with the print, which mirrors my journey so cleverly, there was also an ACEO (see below), a package of goodies and a beautiful mug that states that "My Journey Begins Today." 
I had a yucky day yesterday so I'm glad to begin anew today with Lucy's  support, friendship and kindred spirit karma. She also has such a fabulous playlist:) I often leave her blog open to enjoy the collection she has created! 
What could be finer...

Growth Through Darkness

I realize that the print appears to be the same size as the card, but it's because of my lack of computer saavy... the print is 5" x 7" !!

ACEO - Believe, Receive 

Monday, August 18, 2008

Kentucky is not known for cactus, or should I say cacti? cactuses? At any rate, there is a guy who lives in a really cool little house with lots of angles and interesting architecture, which abounds in our historic (old) neighborhood. This guy has a very small garden space but a long narrow stretch of grass across the street from his house is his playground. He makes sure the species and blooming cycles provide year round color, interest and fabulous vibes. 
I decided to play with this photo, as it really is a green cactus, to enhance the beauty he has already offered. Painting and collaging in Photoshop was my first love, before I discovered the world of mixed media, and I like to go back now and then, to play. 
I am ever the novice - if you want to see remarkable photography, visit Elizabeth at  the The Last Door Down the Hall - one look at her banner is evidence of the quality of her work. She also frequently offers free images, many of which I've downloaded for use in projects.
I'm hoping this week will be more succulent than prickly - I'm anxious to get back to work in the Altered Attic; I hope each of you experience an answered prayer, an inkling of something good to come, a visit from the muse, connection with a close friend, the ability to stay grounded in real time - live in the moment!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A Gift from my Ragamuffin Pal

I don't buy tickets for the lottery, cake walks or raffles - unless it's for charity. I experience at least my fair share of good fortune, but I'm just not one of those 'lucky' people. How does one improve odds? Or is it luck or coincidence anyway... accident or fate? A bit of research reveals beliefs that are as varied as they are fascinating. 

There are schools of thought that ponder whether fate can be explained by mathematical occurrences; some believe that every move is guided by the hand of God, driven by fate. Then there is Deepak Chopra's Synchrodestiny, the magic of connecting with the underlying field of infinite possibilities; the ability to see amazing potential in every moment. If, in fact, we study these convenient occurrences, we can even increase the number and quality of our daily coincidences.  

From a mathematical perspective, I had fairly decent odds of winning the Fairy Girl Bird Box, a beautiful creation by Ragamuffin Gal, (she picked post number 7 of 32, and I was the lucky 7:) But the timing felt more like providence, the nudge I needed, the lifting of spirits. 

About a year and a half after being diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder (certainly not terminal but an annoyance nonetheless), I began to view my chronic illness as a journey and my faith deepened immensely. I had been stopped in my tracks and believed there was a reason and whether or not I ever think I understand isn't up to me; I can only control how I choose to respond, decide what kind of person will I be as a result of this altered state of living. 

I'm far from crippled but the changes in my daily life have been profound. I've calculated the number of hours lost to mandatory rest and sleep, moving slower, feeling downright yucky and it’s the equivalent of a full-time job. Like the one I had before I got sick. At the business my husband and I started in 1990; the role that I realized was the most significant facet of my identity, when it slid away as the months at home passed.

But if this is a journey then there is a path; once I began trusting that God does build the bridge of faith beneath our feet rather than a few hundred yards ahead so we can conveniently see where we are headed, I became less fearful of taking a few steps.  

I walked into the world of mixed media art. I had never considered myself an artist, though I had been writing all my life, been immersed in photography, had the need to paste together, rearrange, smudge, blur images into a meaningful composition. My husband is an illustrator and painter so I had access to the tools I needed, and after stocking up at some amazing online art stores I started experimenting with collage. Once I hit that Flow zone (I highly recommend the outstanding article on the subject) I was hooked and now, almost two years later I can hardly imagine life without art. I don't believe I got sick because God intended for me to make art, though, this path has unfolded as though it was meant to be. 

In the short months that I've been blogging I have connected with such a remarkable group of mixed media artists, nearly all with far more experience than I, who have inspired, uplifted, amazed and encouraged. This doesn't seem accidental at all but like I have finally discovered the reason behind my pack rat habits - saving old letters and photos and jewelry from the 70s, along with stashes of paper and cool doodads - and a passion that makes use of latent talents along with some surprises. 

I may not be a career artist, but if I hadn't gotten sick I doubt I'd have tested my wings, not when billable hours were on the table. 

I still suffer waves of guilt when the business is stretched and there are so many chores to be done. But it's getting a bit easier. Every minute I've spent crafting, exploring, has been the silver lining, the lemonade from this tart illness. That it is new also makes it vulnerable, fragile; too much time away and my dreams fade. This summer was packed with events and demands that left no time for art. After a few weeks I fell into a funk. 

I knew I'd succumbed when poring over the magazines and artist's blogs cram packed with amazing art, adventure, forward motion. While catching up on a few of my favorites I read a post by Ragamuffin Girl about how splintered her time had been as a result of complications that would have been funny if they hadn’t caused some material damage. Then the next sentence listed my name as winner of her drawing... I would be receiving her delightful creation. 

Ask and you shall receive. Begin to sag and out of the blue experience a nudge of encouragement. Could it really be that simple? Or, lucky? Coincidental? 

I hope you enjoy these photographs of Ragamuffin Pal’s work – it’s truly amazing and much more detailed than those she posted on her site. The word 'Hope' appears in type, on a silver charm and rests, a solid egg nested as I await my return to the studio with renewed faith. 


Sunday, August 3, 2008

OK Linda, since you've outed me as an unorganized, total mess, here are 'real' photos. Painting backgrounds on puzzle pieces for magnets on one table and finishing up a journal on the other... There is a shop here in Lexington that carries my work, all the vintage switch plates are gone and the button flower bouquets too. And, I have an order for six magnets that is ready to photograph and deliver to another shop. Exciting to put my work out there, anxious to see how it sells... 
Linda, is from New Zealand, here visiting with her hubby. She has the same auto-immune illness and we met years ago on the National Psoriasis Foundation message boards. This computer has extended my world in ways I never would have imagined, friends who have psoriatic arthritis, talented and amazing mixed media artists and writers. I never would have thought that I would be fortunate enough to encounter so many authentic, amazing and kindred spirits in blogland.
Lucy - I'm going to have to look at the map and locate Dunkirk and Silver Creek! 
Have a blessed, authentic day.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Creative Space

A challenge was issued by Paper Imagery Designs, such a fun, inspiring group!, to post photos of our creative spaces. These were taken before it got really messy, I've added 3 sets of rolling drawer bins and you can't see the top of either table, but I post these to encourage myself to clean up my act!
Our dog, Leo (Tolstoy:) enjoys the best view - I try to make time to journal and watch the birds at eye level, always helpful to have a different perspective.
I've promised myself that I will resume my 'hour a day' minimum in the Altered Attic - it has been way too long!


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