Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Greatest gift....

Here in the depth of winter snow
thoughts come, leaving footprints
SCATTERED everywhere, no direction....
Where's the shovel?
This is DEEP.

The older I get, the more I realize
the less I know
and frantically, as the clock ticks
I try to shovel in the knowledge--
to fill in that bottomless pit, where
for every shovelfull I throw in
TWO disappear.

THIS, I do know,
and will NOT forget.
The most important thing
is NOT
what you have.
who you know...
is NOT..
WHAT you know...
It is who you love, and
who loves YOU.

Despite all faults
despite unsightlyness,
despite annoying habits
despite that thing
(whatever it is)
that everyone WISHES TO HELL
you wouldn't do...
you are loved, anyway.

That is the BEST GIFT.

If there is someone who you
love, treasure, adore
appreciate,or whose existence you
Let them know.
Today, while they
and you
are here on earth.

Say it
sing it
write it
paint it
wrap it up
send it
deliver it
GIVE it.


EVERY day is a holiday!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Tossed and Found

I am neverendingly astounded at the logic of the mainstream conciousness of this country, and much of this world. It is commonplace, NORMAL to deliberately create things that will not last or worse, that will become "outdated" in a very short time. We have an economy that is based on cheap crap that breaks, and huge corporations hire executives to convince us that we cannot live without these things. Our lives will be so much faster, easier, more efficient. We will be more comfortable, happier, COOLER, safer, healthier, better looking, classier, and we will have more fun, not to mention be the envy of all our friends if we would just BUY the latest cheap crap gizmo.
Along with this "economy" comes a mountain of burden placed on the planet (and ultimately US, not that we want to LOOK at that part of the equation) in the form of pollution created in the making of these products, the mining that is required for some of their parts (such as Urainium for cell phones) the by-product waste that occurs in manufacturing, and finally the waste of the discarded products themselves.
What is the plan for all of this waste? Unfortunately, there usually isn't one. A lot of stuff comes into existance and no one knows what to do with it. I recently had a conversation with someone who was SO proud of the fact that in the city she lived in, there was a facility where people could drop off expired medications so that they wouldn't be dumped into the water system. Well, in theory, that's wonderful, but me being ME, I said "what do they do with them when they are turned in?" She got a bit huffy and said "They are DESTROYED", OF COURSE!" I said that I felt that was a rather vague answer, and I wanted to know HOW they were destroyed. Burned? Buried? Broken down in water, and then......? Which brings us back to the beginning of the circle. There is no good way to get rid of so many of these things.
In my mind, I see the future-world much like it appears in the movie "Idiocracy", a post consumer nightmare landscape, built from mountains of trash. Cities either teeter dangerously on the heaps, or lie sprawled in the shadowy valleys of trash that threatens to avalanche and bury them. Handbags, shoes,clothing, computers and all of their components, cars-which are made with an alarming amount of plastic, not to mention one-use plastic that practically everything comes in, much of it practically bulletproof and impervious to decay.
With this in mind, I have dedicated myself to making art from discarded materials as much as I possibly can. I refuse to purchase any more canvas, when perfectly good plywood from construction goes to waste every day. I try to repurpose things that have been thrown away into beautiful useful, ARTful things. I try not to purchase things that come in one use only, disposable packaging, and when I purchase things online, I ask in the notes to seller that the item NOT be shipped with non recyclable packing materials such as packing peanuts and bubble wrap. I ask for crushed newspaper instead, and a surprising number of shippers comply.
I have ceased purchasing plastic bags for food storage, and I reuse grocery sacks whenever possible, except that these are often made DELIBERATELY with holes in the bottom. It's part of the design, for no good reason I can see. I found large tote bags at the dump that work wonderfully for hauling groceriesand when the last of the plastic sacks are gone, I will not use them anymore.
Nothing pleases me more than to find a way to problem solve by repurposing something that has been thrown away. I've been wanting to try to learn to knit, but have been unable to, due to lack of knitting needles. I kept hoping some would show up at the dump. I found a couple of bags of yarn, but no needles. Then I remembered that, in my sculpture studio (my former home, the recycled school bus) I had some long metal pegs that had come from the drawers of a card catalogue. KNITTING NEEDLES! They are not only perfectly functional as knitting needles, but they also have an attractive steampunk air about them.
As the cheap-crap economy has crashed, recession (or some say a depression) crushes much of the nation, we have begun to find that we CAN live without the latest cheap crap trinket. As in the Great Depression, more and more, people are beginning to rediscover the art of tinkering--cobbling useful things together with things that were no longer useful in their original capacity. The term "hobo" has made a comeback. If only we can encourage and spread this new way of thinking, and not go back to our disposable ways if, and when the economy turns around On that note: buy local. Buy handmade--support an artist or craftsperson. Don't buy cheap crap. Find a way around it. If you can't afford to buy from a craftsperson, make it yourself, out of something discarded. Fix it. Patch it. Paint it.
Breathe new life into something discarded and use it, and it will breathe life into YOU. Into all of us. The earth thanks you. I thank you.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dangerous Things

I am a fearful person, more and moreso, the older I get. Hermitage is becoming more comfortable to me, while direct contact with the public is not. It has nothing to do with germs or fear of crowds. It is more of a ever-narrowing selectiveness of who I want to spend time with, as time becomes more precious to me in ways that it never was before.

Such as now.... the sensible thing would be to go to bed. But since when have I ever been the one to do the sensible thing? I often spit in the face of the sensible thing on sheer principle. Being sensible lacks adventure, and is mostly boring. I don't want to go to bed. I want the night all to myself, when I can imagine that most everyone on this little island is tucked into bed (or passed out on a couch) while I am wide awake; tonights moon and gusty wind are MINE.

Now about those fears..... I am not afraid of the dark, except where it concerns not being able to see, and possibly tripping on something. I'm not really afraid of FALLING, per se, just that big crash that happens at the end of it. The falling part is fine, especially when you're talking about love, at which, by the way, I have been very LUCKY.....

Without realizing it, I recently began to paint about my fears. I saw a vision of a specific painting in my head and set about trying to create it, as is how most of my work comes about. I went through my designated sculpture metal scrap heaps, as well as the metal dumpster at the exchange, and picked out things that seemed to belong in the painting I had seen in my head. Next, I began a quest for spraypaint--scrap spray paint which would be thrown out. I am fairly adament about using discarded items for my art materials. Next, I miraculously scored some plywood, and away I went, working entirely from instinct. When I had mostly finished two pieces, I realized that all of the "sillouetted" elements in the painting represented Dangerous Things, and I decided that was to be the name of the series. Taking it a step further, I realized that the piece was the result of my brain waxing poetic about my many fears.

We are often attracted to (and even LOVE) the things that can hurt or even kill us, literally and/or figuratively. All of the elements in the paintings represented metaphors for my deepest fears. I will leave it for you to decide what the elements represent, but keep in mind that you might be seeing your own fears, and not mine. Some of the answers are obvious, while others are not.

O.O Hmmm.......Do you smell smoke... ?