Adding to the Mix

I completed Childhood Memories, the second of a series of four Memory Boxes I’m creating for the Functional Art Show at the Pig Barn Gallery on Bedlam Farm.  This piece gave me the opportunity to learn how to solder, since its design created construction obstacles that would inhibit the use of glue or screws.  I visualized this piece to emulate popsicle stick boxes to go with the context of childhood and memories in the painting; the mountains, lake, flowering ornamental cherry tree and attached swing made of a computer resister and copper wire are combined to provide the setting.  Each element is a single aesthetic memory that overlaps and combines with other meaningful visual memories.  My dreams often involve the jumbling of many memories together; this piece works a little like that.

The Functional Art Show will show a wonderfully eclectic mix of work by 9 artists.  We’ll have felt work, textile art, pottery, glass, notecards, and more.  And I will be joyfully adding to the mix with my Memory Boxes and handpainted drawer pulls.  Visit www.fullmoonfiberart.com for exhibit info.

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Learning to Solder

In trying to find new ways to affix the computer components for my Fusion Art, I realized I would have to learn to solder.  The first few pieces I completed were mainly affixed with super glue, an ok solution, but not necessarily long-lasting or durable.  I then started drilling holes and screwing portions of the next few pieces together, a better method, but limited in aesthetics.  For the new memory boxes I’m creating for the upcoming Pig Barn Show at Bedlam Farm on Columbus Day Weekend, soldering the SIMMS together was a necessary step in forming the cube-like structures I was striving for.

Never having wildly succeeded in any shop class in middle school, my expertise with anything that lives downstairs on my husband’s work bench is severly limited.  Some of it is just plain intimidating, but most of it I’ve never needed to use, so I just don’t know how.  The soldering gun was one such item.  Under my husband’s patient direction, I have been adding to my repertoire of tool-working skills as the need for more knowledge in those areas arose, and now I can check off the soldering gun.

Maybe these Fusion Memory Boxes are a great new development in my Fusion Art series, maybe they’re just the next small step.  At the very least, I’ve learned something new, and that alone is a reward along this creative journey.

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Conjuring up something new

The Functional Art Show at the Pig Barn Gallery, October 8 & 9, 11am-4pm, Bedlam Farm, Salem, NY

Back in June, I was asked to be part of a wonderful art exhibit at a lovely farm in upstate NY.  The Pig Barn Gallery Art Show, put together by fiber artist Maria Wulf (www.fullmoonfiberart.com) in a beautifully renovated pig barn on Bedlam Farm, where she lives with her husband, author Jon Katz, was such a positive and uplifting experience for participants.  As an artist, I found it particularly successful in that I sold both a traditional watercolor and one of my fusion pieces, validating my hopes that both styles could appeal to the viewing public.

Maria asked me to participate in her second exhibit planned for the Pig Barn Gallery, telling me she planned to do a functional art show.  My first response was “Wow Maria, thanks!  I would love to be a part of that, but my art isn’t functional at all, what in the world am I going to exhibit?” She assured me that I would come up with something.

And so I struggled with thoughts and ideas all summer, until one evening, while I was in the process of procuring a little computer part for a project I was working on from my chief supplier (my husband), he pulled out a box of memory modules, hundreds of them, to look for the initial request.  Looking at those pretty little pieces of memory or SIMMS (which are no longer usable in that they hold only enough memory for maybe one image), I was struck with an obvious idea on hFall Rememberedow to use them to create functional Fusion Art: Memory Boxes.

Pictured here is the first of the Memory Box series, Fall Remembered.  The painting is in gouache, and the assembled box consists of SIMMS, copper joints, and plexi.

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Admiration of Beauty – the Artist Inside

“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.”   quote by Shug Avery from The Color Purple by Alice Walker

When I read The Color Purple many years ago as part of a college course, and came across the above quote, I experienced my own little epiphany about art, beauty, spirituality, nature.  The quote gave voice to my personal beliefs about our appreciation of the aesthetics of the natural world being an homage to that which is greater than ourselves, but at the same time internalized within us.  

Every individual has a transcendent aesthetic sense, the ability to appreciate and honor beauty, whatever makes them stop in their tracks to admire that stunning and amazing thing that is outside of them, but inside themselves just the same.  It can come in the form of a double rainbow, the crashing sound of a spring waterfall, a sparkly rock from the shore, the inviting softness of a favorite pet, a freshly picked blueberry just picked warmed by the sun.  The list of beautiful possibilities is fathomless, of course, and is as diverse and individual as we are, ranging from the everyday to the rare.  

The capacity to behold and be affected by beauty is shared by us all.  How we internalize the experience and then interpret it is the artistic endeavor.  Artists, whether visual, musical, literary, theatrical, work to reflect and recreate their beautiful experiences through their art.  The act of creating is important and necessary to the artist; there’s a need to throw down that color onto paper, write those words, sing that song.  In turn, artists create their own beautiful mark for humanity to admire and be inspired by, bringing around the cycle of admiration and reflection to a wonderful elegance.

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