Patti Edmon Altered Attic: April 2008

Saturday, April 26, 2008

A Nest in the Tree Outside The Altered Attic

The quote I chose this week, by Henry Wordsworth Longfellow, resonates with meaning. Birds and nests populate collage and altered art in abundance; if you read the trade mags, the trend may be shifting to an as-yet identified new icon.  
I suppose it was Longfellow's way of saying the early bird gets the worm, that seasons change and life is progress, so keep pace. The idea that last year's nest is still hanging around, instead of having been plucked for use in an assemblage is an indicator of slower-than-desired progress. 
Spring is a magnificent spectacle; unfortunately, for those of us with auto-immune disorders, it can also be flare time - fog, nausea, malaise, joint swelling and pain. Yes, I find myself well behind where I wish to be and I am not one bit happy about it - why do they refer to me as a patient at the rheumatologist's office?  
A peek inside the nest might even reveal eggs, latent, oval and speckled, symbolic for one who is late to hatch, slow to bloom. I'm hoping then, for richer, fuller blossoms, and in my altered state, that I will be awake, alert to the slight cracking sound that signals a new life, another everyday miracle. 

Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in your soul. Emily Dickinson

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Altered Magnetic Connections

Evolving as an altered artist, particularly working here in the Altered Attic, can produce an isolation common to those of us who work alone. And, the downside of living with an auto-immune disorder (is there an upside? that's another story) is a major energy drain so I have to prioritize and make every effort count.
When I'm in need of a people/connection/chocolate fix, Third Street Stuff is high on the list. Our graphic design business (EdmonDesign - see links) is located above the fabulous store and coffee shop, also it's one of the unique and most interesting aspects of Lexington. They brew freshly roasted coffee (those Jim's chocolate chip cookies are worth a trip), exude personality plus, and, well, it's just the warm, upbeat kind of place writers, artists, students, musicians, mothers and business people hang out to chat, enjoy the wireless, shop and engage in the community. Hendrick is the man; not only is he one of the coolest people I've ever met, his personality is only topped by his service behind the bar.
Today I stopped in with some altered art magnets, journals, collage and other art pieces that I picked up at Studio 603, after last week's Gallery Hop. Pat, the owner of Third Street Stuff, loved my magnet art and she placed an order. On the spot. The oatmeal-chocolate chip-walnut cookie wasn't bad either - Oh Happy Day. 

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Altered Art Magnets




I started making altered art puzzle pieces long before I realized you could buy blank ones in craft stores. I found a couple of old puzzles in the basement that my kids had outgrown, i.e., with pieces large enough to paint, distress, collage, grunge, add vintage buttons, embellish with photographs, type, etc.

There is a great satisfaction in making recycled art, although I admit to purchasing more than my fair share of art supplies, I'm always gathering the old stuff others discard, the kind you can read about in most every artist's book on collage, collecting, assemblage technique. I have the same feeling they described, of always having been a packrat, now I'm one with purpose.
 

Friday, April 18, 2008

View from the Altered Attic


A major bonus in this attic is the window seat... spanning 6 feet wide by 2 feet deep, it is a lovely place for looking at the trees from a different perspective. And when our trees are blooming it's hard to feel less than hopeful, blessed by the sheer beauty that returns each spring. Taking breaks from creating collage, assemblage, magnets, whatever, to plop down on a cushion with a book reinvigorates without taking too much art time.

Our neighbors use a lawn service (I always wonder what that is they're spraying, when they leave those "Stay Off the Grass," the little warning signs in their wake) but we don't even fertilize. On even the greyest winter morning birds nest in the branches so there's always something to see, but when the buds first appear, then burst open,  it reminds me of faith: no matter that so many months pass without a promise, the unfailing delivery never falls short of miraculous.
 

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Keep Rowing and Enjoy the Ride

All I can say after witnessing last night's performance of Stomp, the amazing percussion troupe based in New York, is, well, if you ever have a chance, don't miss it!! The entire event was inspired to say the least.

Speaking of inspired, I'm looking at my supply list for the upcoming Michael deMeng workshop in Saluda, North Carolina, hosted by Random Arts - the delightful, enormously talented kindred art-sisters I was lucky enough to meet during our spring getaway to Saluda (no coincidence btw).
I came away from my time in the store with so many ideas, new techniques and materials, I can't imagine how amazing it will be to get to play there and do a workshop with an artist of deMeng's caliber. Hmmm, Dap Quick Seal Tub and Tile, 5-minute epoxy putty, dremel, wire cutters, mica, waxed paper... this sounds very promising indeed.

I was reminded this morning by my friend Diane, a sage and very funny pastor, that the journey takes place every day. I have to remember that, while I'm totally into process when it comes to making art, I sometimes get in a hurry to peek ahead, see around the next bend. My art life has been one of providence, a profound awakening and after years of paddling upstream, I am in the boat and floating in a state of amazed grace along this river of creative discovery. Instead of trying to chart my course, I've diverting my energy to making art (rowing), while remembering to thank God for His handiwork, for it's certainly no accident that I've been fortunate enough to meet and connect with incredible creative people and encounter opportunities for growth and inspiration.  So while I'm at the hardware store perusing the pastes and putties, I'll try to keep my favorite mantra in position: remain grateful in this moment, keep rowing and enjoy the ride.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Demons or Angels

"An artist is a creature driven by demons. He doesn't know why they choose him and he's usually too busy to wonder why."  William Faulkner

I must say that I agree with Faulkner, about being driven, the lack of understanding about why me, and the too busy to question. I often wonder if Van Gogh, Faulkner and other artists lived in todays world of yoga, group therapy and anti-depressants (along with the treatment for other illnesses, of course, both natural and pharmaceutical), whether they would still feel chased by demons. Was it just more avant-garde, stylish, cool to refer to the muse as a demon rather than, perhaps as an angel, or even, gasp, the Holy Spirit?!
The world would be a sad place without the foundation, history, gifts and sacrifices of artists through the centuries, in spite of their personal levels of torment, poverty, angst and abuse. What a grand stage they prepared for us, to play, revel, experiment and create sans the need for demons. 

disclaimer: the above was written in full awareness of the difference between fact and opinion.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Let it Flow, Let it Go

Why is it so hard to sit in the boat with eyes closed and let the water move us forward on our journey? So many times it seems easier to grab paddles and flail away at the current, as though by doing so, we can change our course. God builds the bridge under our feet not in front of us, so faith by walking not by sight. 
I am finding that while making art, when I try to force a style or look, influenced by another artist's work, I wallow in frustration. Only when I feel like I'm channeling, in the state of 'Flow' can I be true to the inner artist with a well of creativity that seems bottomless. I'd recommend reading the Little book of Flow, found on Life2.0, one of my favorite blogs. (see links)
Providence is at work in our lives so much so, that by simply getting out of our own way, we can reach forward and the next door will appear. The universe is like that, all by design, by miracle.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Returning from spring break...
The only thing better than a trip to Random Arts, in Saluda, North Carolina, is knowing I'm going back... for a two-day Michael DeMeng workshop. The owner of Random Arts, Jane, and her fellow artisans Joyce and Jen were amazing. Along with sharing favorite products, techniques and other tricks, they were a source of inspiration of the caliber that you don't often run across in daily travels. They carry an amazing variety of product and it's worth a trip to their site, if you can't make it to the shop.


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