Tuesday, December 30, 2008

hip to be square

I love movies. I like almost all kinds of movies. I admit to skipping movies that are overly violent or that depict violence against women. Other than that, I really enjoy the departure from reality.
My husband and friends rarely agree with me about the quality of a movie. Typically, we will all go to see something, I will laugh, cry and generally respond to every emotional pull built into the movie and as soon as the lights go up, my companions will announce the inadequacies of what we had just seen. I always feel somehow naive or inadequate that I somehow missed how poor the movie was. It got to the point where I began to develop stomach aches near the end of each movie knowing that my opinion would be gently belittled and that I would once again feel silly for having liked it.

Something happened to me this week though. I was sitting through a very long, very wonderful movie with my husband and son when the stomache ache began. Half way through the movie, I sat up straight and thought to myself, "I'm okay with liking this even if no one else does. It's bringing me a sense of peace and I'm keeping it!" When the lights came back on and I had braced myself to be okay with everyone's opinion, my husband said, "That was an awesome movie!" I didn't get to take a stand but I have to admit that it felt good to have him agree with me so heartily! I'm sure another opportunity will present itself, and when it does, I'm ready for it.

Nothing is ever said maliciously or out of meanness, I just exist on a different plane from my more sophisticated friends and husband. It's the same plane that allows me to find enjoyment in playing with paper and paints, become mesmerized by picking gel medium off of my fingers, and to find beauty in old rusted worn out objects.

Movies take me through a journey. I don't have to understand every line, I don't need every scene to make total sense or be grounded in reality, I'm even okay with timelines that are a little skewed. It's similar to my lack of planning when I work on an assemblage piece. Rather than setting out with a logical, predetermined plan, I like to just sit back and enjoy the journey.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Collaboration update

A few weeks ago I wrote about a collaborative project my husband and I were about to take on. Michael is a photographer, among other things, and I collage. We wanted to make a calendar this year for our friends and family that combined our efforts. I wasn't sure about the whole collaboration thing, because we don't always see eye to eye on things. Even in college, when I would type his term papers for him we would argue about semantics. Arguing is the foundation of our relationship!

Back to the calendar. I could see the finished project in my head and I knew that I would need Michael's extensive talent as a photographer and Photo Shop whiz to bring it to life. The final result was worth the effort, and we really didn't argue all that much. My vision was to use his contemporary color photos of nature as the backdrop for my collection of antique images. I wanted to depict people from the past looking out of a window into the future. We worked together this summer to find windows in northern Michigan that would fit well into our project. We then chose the nature images in Michael's collection that would work with the windows and finally matched everything up with my antique photos.

The theme of our final project was, "Windows on the past, memories of the present, hope for the future". I adopted "Hope" as my overall theme this Christmas for all of my holiday projects. I feel that hope is what the residents of Michigan need right now in these difficult economic times and hope is what our president elect Barack Obama represents. Without it, I'm not sure what will happen to Michigan. It was fitting therefore to use pictures of our beautiful State to bring across my holiday message.

I will post images from the calendar from time to time and am going to start with December. My oldest son turns 25 today and this page is dedicated to him!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

gifting at its finest

My family knows me so well! They are completely supportive of my creative side and never question the things that I find exciting.

My boys are athletes, one coaches football and wrestling, the other is president of his college powerlifting club. Their interests outside of school have very little to do with the world of mixed media assemblage and collage. And yet, it is just as natural for them to pick up odd pieces of metal, rusty tools, and bits of interesting ephemera that they come across in their daily lives. They don't look for these things for themselves, but rather because they know that their mom will do something interesting with them.

My husband, a film maker and photographer, is equally supportive of my endeavors. He also looks for interesting items that I might incorporate into my pieces and goes out of his way to promote my work.

Christmas provided even greater evidence of how well my guys understand my "artful yearnings". My oldest son combed antique stores to find things that he knew I would want to use in my assemblages. He came home with cabinet cards, old watches, antique keys, old tools, very old copies of Post magazine, a fabulous old tool chest, and an amazing old trunk that was used for ocean traveling long ago (complete with original tags and labels!). All of it was wrapped and placed under the tree with the same respect that would have been shown for the classic jewelry, perfume, or clothing that might be given to moms with more acceptable tastes!

My younger son gave me a fabulous book called Collage Journeys by Jane Davies and a calendar published by **Amber Lotus called Collage: Artplay for Your Creative Spirit. He also bought me a nice big jar of gel medium matte! (elixir of the Gods in my playbook!)

My husband added a king sized jar of gesso, a gift certificate to *Hollanders of Ann Arbor (where I take art classes), a myriad of supplies from Archivers for book binding, an antique metal (!) cigar box, and old dolls for me to disassemble!

Are they great or what??!! My boys really know me...gifting at its finest :)

*the store mentioned above, Hollanders is a wonderful paper store in Ann Arbor. They offer a wide variety of paper and book binding supplies as well as classes by experts in the field of paper arts. Look for them at www.hollanders.com.
**AmberLotus Publishing is a member of Green Press Initiative. They are committed to enironmental stewardship and publish their calendars on 100% recycled paper. Look for more information at www.amberlotus.com

Friday, December 26, 2008

Exactly what I had wished for.....

What a wonderful Christmas! It was exactly what I had hoped for! My house seemed exceptionally small yesterday as it filled up with people, kids, three dogs, Christmas gifts, and more food than we could possibly go through. It was wonderful. My dinner was overcooked, the kids dominated the family room with their Xbox exploits, candles were knocked over, drinks spilled, and everywhere you turned, a dog was underfoot. I couldn't have been happier!

I felt a real peace going into this week. I think this was partially due to the fact that for the first time ever, I felt totally prepared this year. It helped to have a broken foot and five weeks of mandated medical leave. Though I couldn't get around very well, the miracle of internet shopping allowed me to get my shopping done. In addition, the forced exile gave me lots of time to play with my art, make my own wrapping materials, create Christmas cards, make gifts, and even make some new decorations.

One of the outcomes of this creative explosion is pictured above. The piece is called "The Second Chance Evangelical Heavenly Choir". I love this grouping! They held center stage on my holiday table. Composed of well worn doll parts and a variety of ephemera, wire, and cheesecloth, they remind me of the type of angel I might be given the opportunity; a bit ragged around the edges, happy to be here, and dressed in comfortable worn clothing.

Sighhhh...what a wonderful day it was!! Merry Christmas everyone!