Birthdays can be a little less exciting for people like me, whose birthday falls in the few days after Christmas. Luckily for me, my family came through. Jim got up early enough to bake me a rhubarb pie for breakfast after my Zumba class Grandma left me an elegantly wrapped box with a nice bottle of malbec and Lindt chocolate. My boys even got me an iphone, soon to be delivered. I’m going to enter the twenty first century! I’ll be connected to the world wherever I go—it’s all very exciting!
Because it’s a new year, I thought I should launch into yet another new project! I made a bunch of block stamps and I’m having a great time trying them out. My plan is to use them on plain fabric (read: salvaged pieces of my husband’s old shirts) to create more striking center panels for my upcycled wearable art clothing. I have some puffy fabric paint that I used on earlier projects, such as making a giant 3D lotus tree on dryer sheets. I created the stamps by cutting out pieces of craft foam in shapes that appeal to me. I’m using wood glue to attach them to wooden blocks I cut out, but I might also bring out my old linoleum carving tools to create more stamps. The exploration phase of any project is pretty exciting, and I never know where the experience will take me next.
In the bigger community art world, brains attacked me again this week. Jill Bolte-Taylor is organizing a project where giant brains will be molded and local artists will bring them to life. I was initially intrigued with the project and the chance to work again with community artist and all around great guy Joe LaMantia in a collaborative effort on a brain. The level of paperwork required to launch on a brain project turned me off, though, and I haven’t thought much about it lately. I got a phone call from Joe late last week inviting me again to participate, and I’m meeting with him shortly to share my ideas for a project. I’m intrigued about exploring bipolarism in a brain design. I would use felted artwork to explore the two extremes of emotion, overlaid on the two hemispheres of a brain. One side would represent euphoria, with felted flowers on a green lawn with butterflies floating overhead. The other side would reflect depression and sadness, expressed on a black felt background with black cables intertwining. One concept that I’m exploring is thinking about ways to connect the sides and capture the idea of rapid cycling between the two states. I’d like to have some vines growing from the green side into the blackness and some black electrical cords growing from the dark side into the green space. Suspended over the black side I would suspend a ball-and-stick structure of lithium citrate, one of the drugs used to mitigate the symptoms of the illness. I’d like to incorporate the color of lithium, which burns as a beautiful red-fuchsia in a flame. Thinking about the colors warmly reminds me of conversations with my father-in-law on Sunday mornings when he would visit. He’d give long, unplanned lectures on whatever topic seemed appropriate to the morning. That somehow seems right to include in a brain art piece.
Finally, as the holiday season fades away, I took a little time to tie up the loose ends from last year. I got out my receipts and entered all the receipts into a spreadsheet. I reclaimed the art studio by putting away all the Christmas present wrapping leftovers (the studio was a disaster zone, but it was worth it). I can see the rug again, so I’m ready to start weaving. I think my first piece will be another memories piece. This is a series I started with rusty metal pieces underground that transition to structures above the ground, such as bikes or flowers. With the first real cold snap this week, I think I might have to make some daffodils. Today the kids went back to school so the house is unusually peaceful. I guess it’s time to start weaving!
Until next week…