Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Holiday Cheer (up!)

why so sad, mr. utility?
can't you see the red bow behind you?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

histoire fabuleuse des dieux

I came across the Prinzhorn Collection (of the Psychiatric University Hospital) and now feel I must travel to Germany to see it all in person.

agnes richter, a patient in a mental asylum in austria in the 1890's, spent her days embroidering text on to the jacket of her hospital uniform in attempts to record her life story. agnes, who had been a seamstress before her incarceration, painstakingly embroidered onto every part of the surface, both inside and out, sometimes so intensively that the text was illegible.

The core collection comprises approximately 5000 pieces of art created by approx. 450 patients of psychiatric institutions. These pieces comprise mostly drawings, water colors, writings, like letters, notes, drafts of books and exercise books, which were often self-manufactured, as well as oil paintings, material manual work, collages and 70 wooden sculptures.  Approx. 1880 until 1933; main collecting period between1919-22.

A small but important part of the Collection is particularly fascinating due to the highly individual means and singular yet compelling formal solutions that are employed, and which contain a meaning of their own. These works are art in the closer sense of the word. They use aesthetic means to convey an understanding of extremes of human feeling and experience - often of a pre-linguistic nature, as is encountered in psychoses - and of how these are assimilated in madness, which has its own specific mental horizons. This "other" view of life appears to be quite hermetic, yet we for our part are generally unaware of the relativity of our own thinking, as laid down and shared by the society we live in. These works enable us to experience an underlying dimension of humanity that is potentially present in us all.

I believe the old saying would hold true, there but for the grace of god.

Monday, December 14, 2009

david foster wallace

The first time I'd read about David Foster Wallace (i'd read Wallace, but not yet read about him) I was on the 33 bus and wholly engaged with this article in New Yorker.  I nearly missed my stop.  Which is saying something 'cuz the 33 bus is not something you want to keep staying on. What a sad tale.  What an intense life this young man led.  Much of the intensity existing inside his own brain.  His depression ran most of his thoughts and actions, his life.  His very successful writer life.

After he committed suicide, his fame grew.  As is usually the strange case with infamous people of each genre.  Each time I read something else about him, I felt like I knew him.  So young and so brilliant, his writing described as "designed to be unwrapped—and there was always a gift inside for those who took the trouble."

Today, as I was reading  a short fiction piece of his, in a recent New Yorker, I wanted to hug him all over again.   At one point, he writes, as the narrator, that  

"I was never the sort of child who believed in 'monsters under the bed' or vampires, or who needed a night-light in his bedroom; on the contrary, my father (who clearly 'enjoyed' me and my eccentricities) once laughingly told my mother that he thought I might suffer from a type of benign psychosis called 'anti-paranoia,' in which I seemed to believe that I was the object of an intricate universal conspiracy to make me so happy I could hardly stand it."

The entire piece is about a little boys memory of his parents, himself, and the magic that is being a kid.  As someone (read: me!) who's constantly trying to capture the feeling to describe the momentous yet small wonders of life and do it in not so many words... I find Wallace's final run-on sentence, of about 315 workds in length, truly inspiring.

(photo book i made: the drive cross-country, cross-canada, when RK & I moved from NY to CA)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Friday, December 11, 2009

Holiday Art Show, Tonight

It feels a bit like a carny announcing the circus whenever I put the word out, but it's been really fun and super motivating getting ready for this show (that may have just the tiniest of turn-outs...but I don't care!).  It's a good feeling to treat a one-night gig as a big one-night gig.  So, with that, let me place another shout out:

and give you a preview of a few more things that will be on show tonight,








Bon anniversaire, maman!  Joyeux anniversaire!

Cromette, a french doggie with an underbite,  por vous!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

to one gives, gives another

The other day, my super stylish, super talented friend, Sarah , kitted me out in this hip outfit:

I was just walking through the hood and heading to the studio.  But this little outfit made me feel so cool and inspired, I gifted her right back that very day:

These strange but beautiful hard metal name plates must be used.  I saw them as bracelets that particular day.  So, there it is, a soft leather bracelet with a button closure, that wraps around her little wrist and claims Claire.

When I gave it to her she let out a squeal.  It just so happened, that very day she was doing one of her infamous clothing sales in the neighborhood and had just sold a pair of jeans that she was somewhat sad to see go.  The jeans were a funky pair, but they had the name Claire scrawled across the knee in permanent pen, which is why she bought them in the first place.  The girl who bought them from Sarah this day claimed the same reason for the purchase.  I guess to one gives, gives another...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

French General at Chateau Dumas, 2010 here we come!

This past summer, my sister, Kaari,  my mom, Kick, and I took a trip to the South of France.  But not just any trip, and not just 'us'.

We introduced life at Chateau Dumas.  A huge Chateau in a tiny town.  15 women, from all over the U.S. who'd been dreaming of life as a frenchwoman, came along too!  Kaari got it into her head awhile back that maybe all these women that ask how she finds all the juicy stuff that fills her shop or what her annual trips to France are like might like to come along with us and do it all first hand themselves.  And, as with most things she dreams up, it quickly became a reality.

A reality we'll be repeating again for two weeks this coming summer.  Last summer, we travelled, we ate incredible french food, we drank gorgeous local french wine, we laughed, we met incredible local artisans keeping old world crafts alive, we dyed with woad, and we hit up the local flea markets.  It was like heaven on a stick.  This coming summer, we'll do all that and more...

There's nothing I love more than traveling and hanging out with my family and this was made all the better by the fact that we all love to host!  With 15 new friends, we sat on the terrace of the Chateau with a glass of wine, watching the sunset, talking about that days adventures and looking forward to the next. 
I just heard from my sister that there are a limited number of spots left for the trip we're making this summer -- If you've ever wanted to craft, create and live life like a frenchwoman in the South of France, come along! 

2010 French General Chateau Dumas trip details here.

Tons and tons and tons more photos here and more here.