Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Adventure Calls You

RK and I are on a bit of a life path change.  It has the all the elements of the kind of life change one might fantasize about:  working from home, working for yourself, taking time for the pet in your life, having time to do the dishes, laundry AND that project you've been wanting to work on without pressure, working harder and longer on some-days so other some-days are spent doing the fun stuff.
The ideal (the want) is to stretch into the all the possible elements of this path.  Last night, I was mentally running through all these different things I want to spend my new-found time doing:   I actually pictured a  large writing pad hanging on my office wall and saw my hand, writing in big cursive, formulating a list of the things I'd like to do in this new life.  Instead of it feeling like a 'to do' (or die) list, I saw it as another potentially creative project in this daily strive for more creative living.

{The ever talented S. recently told us a theory he came up with that scared the sheet out of me:  What if, he pondered, the people that waste away their time and talent in this life, come back as totally talentless, un-creative people in the next life. A torture worse than limbo.  So we don't want to be wasting any more time...}

So, one of the things that presented itself to me (see: hand cross off large-writing pad list) was going early morning hiking.  The kind of hike where it starts with fog, burns off to sun, lunch by a creek, and next thing you know it's afternoon.   Even with the obvious at my backdoor, I hadn't yet thought to myself:  Hey, it's Thursday, I should go hiking in Muir Woods.  I live right near Muir Woods, it's spectacular nature communing and it could do nothing but improve my outlook.  This I have time for!  This should be done!
Luckily, it turns out I know someone that does think that way.  
So away we went.
We dropped into the woods in the A.M.,
ate our brown-bag lunch by the stream,
and came back out in the P.M. 

I can't say enough about the restorative nature of nature.

Just as I imagine the people in the Carolina Mountain Club felt.

I see great things in the future.   In this new life, I'm the type of person who adventure calls to and I answer.  I'm game.

(vintage photos via the great looking, very clever ambitious project via the incredibly inspiring mountain club)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Good Friends, Great Blogs

My good friend Melissa Easton has gotten into the blog world and I'm thrilled!
A designer by trade, she recently decided to give gold rings, juicy juicy gold rings, a run for their money. I happen to be the receipent of more than one.  Rarely a day goes by that I don't get a compliment or a question about one of them.

Melissa is one of those people you feel really honored to know.  Super clever, major design sense, and does what she dreams.  She brings the strange, beautiful, and  wonderful of the design world and observations about everyday objects to those of us in the lesser-know.

(all images from mrs easton's blog)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thoughts in a WorkSpace

Things I love:
wood glue
school paper
shoe polish
red thread
sewing needles
f*ked- up wood
bent metal
pencil lead
old tape

Things I hate:
red pens

Truly self-indulgent, but I tried to get the whole process down the other day.  Jotted down thoughts as they came, or as I noticed a particular ritual.  So many rituals go into studio work.  You have to get in the right space of mind, time, etc,  in order to even begin to imagine what the next piece will be.

Having the right drink or no drink at all.
I usually have something on hand:
in that order.
I rarely ever reach soda level.

Immediately change closed-toe shoes to flip flops. 
I stand for nearly the entire time I'm working, up to 6 hours at a time.
Plus, standing up gives better flow since I'm constantly grabbing from different shelves, drawers, tabletops or bookcases.  I've never had everything in one place, ready to create.
The music.  Very, very important.
I've forgotten my walkman a few times, a good 10 minute bike ride or 20 minute walk back, turned around, back up the steep hill to home, to music.
A must have.
Current music that's leading me through the work:
A Fine Frenzy
TV on the Radio
Regina Specter
Bon Iver
Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros
Octopus Project
New Pornographers
Jenny Wilson

I guess it's all about getting into "character":  it's weird.  I know it's kinda weird.  Very "Seth Speaks" kind of channeling.  And once the idea starts coming through, I have to listen to it very closely... or I lose the scent.  Then someone else might come through.  I can't pick up the phone, I can't run outside for air or have someone just stop by when I'm in this state of mind

In a way, this project had a form to it that made it easier:  Four people, four phases of life.

I found myself purposely re-using some of the same materials in different peoples 'phase' of life. There are most definitely certain threads in/of life that can "tie" us together.  So, I end up using the same string, or kind of paper,  or the same receipt in 2 or 3 different (pieces) lives and imagine the little french hardware store that all of these people encountered at some point in their lives.  It's that miniscule degree of separation from one another.  Crossed paths.  Seemingly alone but we're all tied together somehow.

At one point, RK expressed that I was just giving away all these amazing finds (the card collection, the film rolls) and two things came to mind:  One, that one of my favorite artists, Nick Bantock, once said you have to use the 'real' thing in all your projects and don't think twice about it.  Secondly, that I've discovered in creating these stories, things are so much better understood with the actual, real ephemera.  These things have been places, they have an energy that lives on.  In many of these cases, I then go on to enhance these objects and make them:
objects d'art
TALISMANS (from a greek word which means to initiate into the mysteries: gads i love that!)

I LOVE things that are just on the brink of it all going to hell:  A tiny book whose pages are so creased, when you turn it once more, a piece of the page breaks off in your hands. But, you can OWN that moment when it's all still just perfect.  You grow to learn, nothing is sacred.  Even this seemingly sacred item that's been around for ages.  I strive to create these defining talismans.
I notice that I'm constantly moving my objects around me (my own sacred talismans, for the time being) to create little stories of inspiration.
and soooo many more photos of the whole process at good ole ever-loving-loading flickr.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

C'etait le bon temps!

 C'etait Le Bon Temps:  la premiere phase, phase deux, la troisiene phase, phase de quatre

My mind and my time has been consumed with work for this upcoming show.  I finally delivered the pieces yesterday and today find myself catching up with all the other things put on hold for a week.  I'm really so excited about the work and the work it took to finish the work, exactly!

Some final moments of some final boxes...

A tiny string collection of a woman who has learned the beauty in simplicity and that everything is actually tied to everything else.

An old address book with a few address' left behind on the pages.  One man's a-to-z thought process about family and friends.  Each page has a typed line, beginning with the letter showing.  In the back, he's kept his collection of old stamp plates, as well as a little autograph page from an old school book.

The egg shell collection of every newly-born, fallen bird.  A nest is being built for them...

And a few finished pieces to boot...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

4 Phases of Life, coming together

I've been trying to write down the whole experience of working this intensely in the studio.  It happens so infrequently and yet, when it does, it is SO memorable for me.  SO visceral.  Especially when I'm creating work that has a thru-line.  And with this current work, the thru-line is making it feel like one big piece instead of 16.  I'm definitely channeling these four people and each one of their life phases.

One of my characters had a huge card collection.  She was a big card player, all games, and she raised budgies.  But games were a defining time in her life.

This incredible photo book paper, called spider web paper.  Is actually embossed with not only the webs, but the spiders and flys to boot!

A list of family names hides behind the back of the game players box, among other notes she took during her days on the phone.
what day is the picnic?
3 lbs, 5, lbs, 7lbs
be sure to call betty

Copious notes, to be sure.  Even though you can't see them.

The 'wonderful hotels' notes, written by a man who traveled cross-country with Blythe:  Pinned in the back of the Greatest Thing in the World book.

A photo of two women (i think...) which will be tucked into a little envelope with playing cards that are typed on, all of which you can take out and read.  On the back of this photo, in pencil, is written "to keep".  That phrase shows up again later in some one else's life, written 'round the jar full of broken eggshells:  To Keep.

Getting close to having to let these 4 people go... the show gets hung this weekend for the opening on Friday.

more photos of details and such...

Friday, August 20, 2010

W.I.P. indeed!

Work-in-progress...each day I walk in the studio and stay as long into the night as possible.
I'm so happy I could burst.

Scenes from the studio daily.
I am loving every minute of it.

Things are drying, pressing...

There's a little piece of old fabric folded over and over behind this gold frame.  It makes the paper puff out like a pin cushion.

And getting things done.

When I'm finished there will be 16 pieces that show the four phases of four different people's lives.  Most of the pieces are interactive:  you can pick up the front of these pieces above and look at all the detritus from one person's first phase of life.

And in one of the others, you can open a little box and find someone's collection.

It's always hard to talk about this stuff.  I just want people to look at it and get inside of it and figure out things for themselves.  I want them to feel like they've just come across something, a discovery, a piece of someone's life they've just found.

And as I'm making each piece, it feels like someone else's life.  I can imagine the person that saved this scrap from an autograph book, or a piece of a map from a favorite trip they once took.  Every once in awhile, I try to sneak a little bit of something from my life.  Maybe it's something from my grandfather or a photograph of a distant relative.  And, more times than not, I slip a little tribute in to my love-of-life RK

It's coming along and I can't wait til the big show!
It opens a week from tomorrow, August. 27th at Arc Gallery, San Francisco.
Maybe you're looking for some more culture in your life...?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The One That Got Away

I may have mentioned once before there was a little sompthin' sompthin' that I craved at the market and another crafty shopper came along and got that sompthin'. And it took me a number of days to get over it...but I knew I'd have to 'cuz it's just stuff and nothing valuable. And, as it turned out, two weeks later at another flea market, we found a whole slew of these little things I'd wanted so badly. So, that one, well, it all turned out okay.

But it's this one, this teeny, tiny, hairless, squeaky, metal bird that really haunts me.  He was in a locked glass case.  And he still jumped around at the turn of the key.  The shop owner wanted 30 euros for this fanciful, irreplaceable, metal toy.  And it was worth it.

But I didn't buy it. 
It was still early in the trip and I had to think rationally about 30 euros, as the dollar was dropping in worth every day, and I figured something else would come along... it always does.