Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A poem I just wrote about not writing a poem

Could I But Die a Thousand Deaths

(An epic poem waiting to be written

one line at a time,

in the space between the washer and the dryer

in the crack between the counter and the stove

in the gap where the cabinet doors don’t

hang straight

Between the ring and the recorded call.)

For quality assurance purposes, this poem is being monitored.

This helpless poem must be written against its will.

This poem will have to phone itself in — sick,

Or just stay on the line and wait to be written.

There are three poems ahead of it, but it can be assured that it will be the next to be served.

This poem is important to me.

I appreciate its patience.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Grafton Flea Market

Wow, am I ever glad my husband reminded me Sunday morning that the Grafton Flea Market was up and running. We figured we'd better check it out, and it was well worth the trip -- not that it's very far. And to think I might have stayed home in my pajamas watching cartoons when these 600 vintage rhinestone rondelles were there waiting for me, or these gorgeous blue-green-purple freshwater pearls strung with 28 faceted aqua briolettes. (Snippity snip.) Along with the usual vendors of tube socks and colorful plastic household goods, there's also an astonishingly well-stocked model shop inside the flea market building, and I got all kinds of goodies for jewelry making in there -- not all of it pictured here. The owner is very knowledgeable and helpful, and I'll definitely be a regular customer there. He's got everything, and I want it all!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Come look at my etchings

...well, not quite yet. I've been trying this metal etching technique from Stephanie Lee's blog and it's sort of working, but my results are not quite ready for primetime. I'm not sure if I'm not leaving my pieces in long enough, too long, or if the various mystery metals I've tried are to blame, but the nickel silver squares I cut, filed, and stamped do show just enough of the desired effect to keep me trying!

Old and rusty. That's my personal manifesto of beauty, always has been, so as I approach the new-to-me metal arts, it just seems right to take lovely, shiny, new materials and do whatever I can to make them look like they have been buried in the ground for a couple of hundred years. When I made quilts, it was the same way. I would finish the quilt top, sewn only from reproductions of antique fabrics, quilt it by hand, apply the binding by hand, and then systematically perform various nefarious aging processes on it to make it look like a timeworn, beloved antique. A psychologist would have probably had a field day with this behavior, which may seem inexplicable since I was trained to be an art historian and curator, pledged to preserve other people's antiquities, which I guess I did, but for my own work, it's always been all about recreating the past. So though I am not entirely sure what I'm doing, I'm turning my attention this chilly spring afternoon to etching and aging metal, and it's pretty exciting. Ineffective so far, but exciting. The great results that Stephanie Lee, Jane Wynn, the O'Briens, and all the other people who've published variations on the etching techniques lately are just so beautiful, I have to keep trying. Wish me luck. Pictures, hopefully, to follow!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

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Well, I'm back, and apologize for letting my poor blog languish so pitifully. You see, like Elmer Fudd used to say, I've been sick. Shanghai-ed into a four day hospital admission by well-meaning ER docs and a negligent office staff -- don't ask -- I've been out of the hospital for a week, and freedom never felt so good.

Though the combined effects of costochondritis and mesenteric adenitis -- and the short-lived amusement of wondering which came first, and how in the heck I managed to catch either one -- are indeed inconvenient, I am now in that happy state of grace between being well enough to venture into the studio, but obviously far too ill to undertake any housework beyond, say, lobbing wads of wet laundry from the washer into the dryer. Small wads. My poor husband was really a saint through this whole scary episode, and I intend to make this all up to him somehow, and soon. But today, I was determined to finish this piece I started before the wheels came off my personal health bus.

"Finished" is a very powerful word to me, because it's one I don't get to use very often. Merely completing a task I start is remarkable enough, since I have been starting several new projects a day for decades, but to say a piece of art is finished is to imply that it has a certain, well, gestalty completeness to it, and though I know it when I see it, I don't see all that much of it. That's what happens to art history majors who cross over to the dark side of making their own art. Spend your whole life looking at the good stuff, and your own efforts, no matter how sincere, are bound to fall short of the mark. Way short, in my case. So a project like this, which straddles the fence between art and craft, is where I feel most comfortable, like the little pearl egg in the nest. It is awfully good to be home.
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