Patti Edmon Altered Attic: August 2010

Saturday, August 28, 2010

(Emma's) Inner Beauty

The entire months of July and August were consumed by the creation of three 12 x 12 pieces for a gallery show, in which I'm very honored and grateful to be included. I have very little experience on canvas, especially a piece bigger than 6 x 6! My desire to have pieces in the show won out, and I began planning the series of flowers - this is the first. For the petals, I take a piece of heavy paper, texture, embellish, paint and torture, then cut it into pieces. Fortunately I have that enormous stash of found objects and junk jewelry I've mentioned, so I didn't have too much trouble finding centerpieces, frames actually for the images. I am really bad at cutting a face from a collage sheet - or one from my own stash - without paying close attention to the maker of the sheet. I want to give credit where credit is due, so perhaps a bit of research is in order. I normally get collage sheets from Artchix, Kris Hubick, Paper Imagery Design... well, I'll go look. If anyone recognizes the face, please enlighten me!
Titles elude me so I emailed photos to some friends and used a combination of my mother's ideas, Dylan's (my son) and an old school chum, Danny, whom I have not seen in 30 years! This one ended up as (Emma's) Inner Beauty.

The show will be open during the World Equestrian Games. If you get a chance, visit the link, the sheer enormity of this even is amazing. A newspaper article said that 315,000 tickets have been sold. 315,000. That's more people than live in this city; every road and visible surface has been painted, paved, revamped, including rundown building and other such eyesores (that is, if you don't happen to think that old buildings are cool). I love horses. Several years ago, I had a horse, a gorgeous, ginormous bay Saddlebred named Richard, actually RWG El Milagro's Sir Richard (though I didn't ride him in the world championship class:). I loved him dearly and we had many an exciting ride. I love to watch eventing, dressage and admire most every discipline that the horse has to offer.
I do not, however like traffic. Or long lines and other delays; I wonder how many locals have purchased their tickets. Or rented out their prime-located residence for top dollar. What do people do when their city hosts the Olympics?? I'm sure I'll venture out, at least to the gallery opening:) I'll post photos of the other two ladies as soon as I locate their origin.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

soldering and synchronicity

Every so often I find myself questioning the direction my art is taking... more cigar boxes, or mixed media canvases, how can I retain my sense of self and still evolve. The first answer came when the senior pastor at my church called on me to create a series of pieces based on the discussion during a new Sunday School class. The Edge is about our ancestral need to express our faith, in written word (the Apostles Creed for example), story and visually. Of course, I said, never stopping to wonder about the challenge he'd handed me.
Then, I dropped my daughter off at the Woodland (Park) Art Fair, a juried annual show that attracts 200+ artists and an enormous audience. Impressive art sprinkled with mixed media.
Like this guy, a piece by Brad Devlin, a Louisville artist that I 'discovered' in Ann Arbor, MI a few years ago.

Having been in the midst of a rather nasty flare, I hadn't planned to stay but I happened upon a parking space - right beside the show - no walking! So, I wandered around long enough to chat with Brad, a few friends, and then I came upon Katie Sasser's booth - the most amazing jewelry! More mixed media on chain, it struck a familiar chord and I spent quite a while drooling over all the eye candy (not literally - it was too hot:) and talking about the best sources for tiny metal wings and things.

Quite unlike most of the jewelry there, I'm willing to bet you can see why it 'spoke' to me! And such a friendly, vivacious, wonderful artist; Katie doesn't have a blog or Etsy shop but told me to email her, that she'd be glad to take some of my bling and 'stuff' and turn it into amazing pieces for jewelry, assemblage, whatever.
I told her a bit about my art and that I'm a soldering weenie! She convinced me that, with a bit of practice, I really can make frames like the one I just put on a cigar box, and all kinds of cool stuff. She wrote down the name of a book where I would find everything I needed to know.

I'm looking forward to getting Stephanie Lee's
Semiprecious Salvage: Creating Found Art Jewelry - the book Katie recommended, also just mentioned on Seth Apter's The Altered Page as a favorite art book; his post includes a lengthy note by the author that is an incredible read.
Her words on process are about, "figuring out some way myself to make something work with what I had on hand. An approach which I am hoping to refine with each minute at the work table." Hmm, not entirely unlike my own journey, which may or may not be so blessed without the humanity, inclusiveness, sharing and encouragement of so many who have walked this path a few steps ahead of me.

p.s. I dearly wish I'd had this box, the one with the frame, photographed before I gave it to my friend, Susan. Between the gold and the purple it didn't turn out nearly as nice as the piece did!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Cigar, Cigarillo?

Having finished the 12 x 12 canvases that consumed the month of July and part of August, I was thrilled. Then I decided to have some fun. The local gas station sells cigarillos in a variety of interesting flavors, peach, strawberry, white grape... I can't imagine what they must taste like but I'll bet the nice Indian man who owns the place can't imagine why I keep asking for the empty boxes! I had to let sit for a day or so with the lid open to air it out! No more grape scent and I went to town, gluing, grabbing scraps and odds/ends that I've had sitting for quite a while.

Voila! The finished result is a half inch thicker thanks to all the layers, which also add stability, and hides the ink on the box. I have more junk jewelry than the law allows, or if there were a law I might be in violation. I've had my eye on the earring that I dismantled for the centerpiece; in the same family is a bracelet with some cool stones in the same 'family.' Below is the original piece:)

I had so much fun that I immediately started on a second one, which is a prayer box for my friend whose mother passed away unexpectedly, earlier this summer, and now her daughter is visiting a pediatric cardiologist. Needless to say, she has been on my mind a lot and I know it isn't a 'fixer' but hopefully it will generate good energy.

I plan to give it to her tomorrow night when we have a 'porch chat' and I'll have to take photos; they have one of the many gorgeous porches in this old neighborhood, wide with plenty of room for a small party. (Hopefully it won't be a hundred degrees:) We're having our porch replaced so I missed out this summer, but next year we'll be up to standard and will get to enjoy sitting out front, chatting with neighbors, exercising my eyeballs while they walk and walk....

Though the heat here (and most everywhere) has been oppressive, I am going to miss summer. So much of my relaxation and inspiration came while at the lake house, out in my favorite cove floating, gazing up at the clouds and thinking about.... absolutely nothing. It's no wonder I feel so much better when we're down there - now that school has started, routines are in vogue again and so is getting up 2 hours earlier than I need to, which is not my idea of a good time! I have a feeling that many art moms out there are struggling through the same transition, enjoying a bit of free time but not the rigors of a regimented day.

Oh, just in case you aren't on Michael deMeng's email list, you have to check out his new Shades of Alchemy iPhone app! For a very modest price you can summon the recipe for the "uszhhh" with the touch of a button. If you haven't experienced it - or Michael deMeng before, make sure to check it out! He's a fabulous workshop teacher, all around great guy and mega-talented assemblage artist. The color I mentioned is the coolest way to age paper and a great wash for any media. Hey, I used it on the cigar box!

Thankfully, I have an iPhone and will have the app up and running in the morning. He has plans in the works for non-iPhoners, so check out his Assemblog site for more info. Thanks Michael!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Friday, August 6, 2010

I've already established that door hangers can be fun (yes, Sharmon, you know they can:) So, I'll just say that in the midst of a deadline for a gallery show, for which I am not yet prepared, I find myself distracted by fun. Not that a mixed media canvas isn't fun, but I don't have the seasoning to separate creativity from the thought that a date is looming large. I'm in the midst of my third 12x12 and I really love them; for me they are a larger project so making door hangers is like instant gratification, one of my favorite things!

Here's the one I made for Al, my nickname for my lovely daughter Alice, who never ceases to amaze me...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Art, Insecurities and Realizations

Over the summer I've learned a lot about myself as an artist. Could have been the dozens of hours I spent making water angels in the lake... Several days I did little else; I truly realize the luxury of idle time, thought and the insight it often allows. We chose to spend our free time two hours from home in a cabin, minimal packing and travel time (and expense), no sights to see or relatives to visit (except the in-laws and Jim's mother is a great cook:). That's one of my ideal vacations, especially since this auto-immune disease swiped its portion of energy. But I've never liked to need a vacation to recuperate from a trip.

I have been making art for just over four years and I still hesitate to call myself an artist. Maybe it's a relic from my writing days. Tell people your a writer and the first question they often ask is, "oh, what have you published?" Hence the differentiation between writer and author. I have written all my life, published commercial and non-fiction, I also have the equivalent of an MFA in fiction writing. But since I haven't published I'm, well, a writer. I'm not even sure there is an equivalent in the art realm, perhaps a creative, a painter, a dabbler? I have sold some of my work but that isn't the point. The point is, it doesn't really matter.

Which leads me to another realization. I've always posted a certain type of work. Who is interested in my process and the little, often quick, sketchy fun pieces that are stacking up on my (storage) table. Like these four panels I did not long ago on the back of an old cut up board book - playful and light. I have received such lovely, fun, encouraging, warm and funny comments on whatever I post so I doubt this will be any different.

Speaking of sharing, nothing is better than knowing I'm not alone when it comes to tripping over knee-deep piles of stuff, guilt about undone chores, misplaced lists and sense of time travel, as in skipping over days and weeks. I've read so many posts about where has the time gone and the frustration of being away from the studio for too long at a time. There is much to be said from knowing we are traveling in the same boat.

Traveling. Of course we are all on a journey; I do wish that my creative dreams were a bit better defined. I wonder if I resist clarifying so that I won't have to take myself, my art more seriously? So I won't know if I don't accomplish spoken-out-loud goals? I'm not talking about the 6-month, two-year, five-year plan of the career sort. But, a lot of ideas do cross my mind like the big fluffy clouds in the endless, crisp blue sky and the space between my backfloating body and the heavens above. I want to reach the end of my journey knowing that I've lived as rich and creative life as possible, one overflowing with joys and just as few regrets. What about you?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Flight of Dreams

Flight of Dreams

You stretch your arms, palms held out the way you reach

into the chambers of my heart, once lush, velvet with

dreams of my own, so many unspoken, now pale as

the last hint of evening light.

The sun has dropped low over

the old black barn, weathered by hundreds of

days just like this one.

The sweet grass and Queen Ann’s lace

return each summer from an imaginary sleep;

who would have guessed that an uncultivated carrot

could dream itself into such gauzy white lace,

nodding in the slow breeze, they sense,

like you do, a certain current in the air.

Others might shrug, if they noticed at all

or understood the flight of dreams.

I watch you gather up the breeze, rise into the veiled

yellow pink light and smile, knowing

that the magic in your heart is enough.

That you will defy this life of mortal gravity

the way only you can.


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