Trash Talking Artist…Memories from the past

I found a beautiful old photo/memory/scrapbook at the dump that dates back to the early 1900’s.  It’s a hand-written diary  with photos written by a young bride documenting her marriage and honeymoon in 1911.

This book seems to have some interesting historical significance as the couple lived here in Portland, OR at the time, but traveled to the coast for their honeymoon.  The young author describes (in beautiful penmanship) their mode of travel (at one point having to ride on the back of a farmer’s lumber wagon), as well as their eating and shopping adventures, and hunting and fishing on the Oregon coast. The book is really quite well preserved.  I  certainly don’t understand why this treasure was so easily tossed away.  I’m grateful that I was able to retrieve it in those mounds of trash…this was truly a “gift.”  I have not read through the entire book yet, but will eventually do so.

At the beginning of the book, this young bride’s first words:

“Diary of Our Wedding Trip   Beginning Sept. 6, 1911 to Sept. 20, 1911

“O, the toils of life!  How small they seem, when love’s resistless tide sweeps brightly o’er them!  Like the scattered stones within a mountain streamlet, they but serve to strike the hidden music of its flow and make it sparkle visible.”

I’ve scanned just a few of the pages…click on each page to enlarge:

Quilted Photos

Early on in my trash diggings, I uncovered a stack of old and old old photographs.  They were lovely and humorous.  The hair from the 60’s shots were awesomely ridiculous!  I wondered immediately, “Why would anyone throw away history like this?”  I don’t know. Who wouldn’t keep these and share them with their family for generations?

“This is your great great grandmother….these were taken before color photographs, and television was invented…..”

Maybe there is nothing left of this family line?  Maybe they are a bunch of strangers genetically disconnected from anything presently living.  Oh that’s real sad.  Maybe it’s my job to resurrect them and give them a community to ogle and stare at.

“Why would he wear that plaid suit?…..Oh look at the cars back then…..”

In rescuing these historic gems, I’ve given myself the important job of honoring those that lived and have been forgotten.  I will respectfully transform them to be reintroduce in a new and memorable way– hopefully not to be forgotten again.  Here is the fabric I created.  It’s going to be a bodice for a dress.



Trash Talking Artist…Memories in the Trash

I found  a neatly packaged, plastic bag filled with these cub scout artifacts…the books, the badges and the neckerchiefs.  I had to wonder how these things ended up at the city dump.  There was a time when these items would have been saved as precious memories of some boy’s passage through childhood.  I had no idea how to weave any of these things into my own work.  I left the bag in our work area for one of the other artists to ponder.

Several days ago I watched as this new (almost new) dollhouse was tossed from the back of someone’s truck.  I had to once again wonder what was going on here…did some child outgrow this perfectly “good” toy?

Maybe it was too long ago that these kinds of things actually became “keepsakes” in someone’s attic as a memory and celebration of a child’s rich, imaginary play.

I also found a little plastic bag tucked inside one of the dollhouse rooms with all the pieces of furniture as well as the entire family of dolls.

I kept this little bag of “furnishings,” but the dollhouse was eventually swept away by the monster tractor, which clears the off-loading area periodically throughout the day so that more trash can be dumped.  I may make a little boxed “shrine” with these pieces…celebrating that unknown child in my own way.

Dirty Deeds

Tuesday afternoon, I was collecting more materials at the dump, and later that night I was visiting the ER.

July 18 @ 1:45 am

July 18 @ 2:30pm

When the doctor saw me and asked me what I had been doing leading up till my eye acting up, I sheepishly told him, “I was at the dump, BUT I certainly washed my hands since then!”  He seemed surprised that I was spending time at the dump, and pretty excited about the project.  After several tests he told me, “that it’s not an infection, and that it’s not a scratch or a bite.”  I was having an allergic reaction to something that I ferociously rubbed into my eye.  And it will be better in about a week.

I’m doing fine today.  (3 days later) Only a little bit of puffiness.  But I was out of commission for 2 days.  Wednesday was a fog of benadryl dreams.

So, moral of the story…. Don’t rub your eyes when you’ve been to the dump.  Kind-of-an expensive duh moment.

stu-stu studio (visit)

I had a pretty awesome studio visit with SWN today which proved my theory that there is not enough time for us to talk about the many subjects in which we share a passion.

I recall the first day that we all got together on the tipping floor and she and I knew that we had RISD in common. Prior to that, we had seen each other’s work and each got the quick elevator speech delivered during the meet and greet, both of which whet our pallets for deeper conversation. It seems like since then, we have both been waiting with anticipation to have one on one time and it has taken us four months into the residency to have that happen. But today it finally did and I couldn’t be happier or more satisfied.

Sarah sent me home with two books from her juicy library. I have been thinking a lot about Brian Jungen lately and honed in on his title publication from his show at the Vancouver Art Gallery. We nerded out (actually the majority of our 3 hour long meeting was nerding out) about his ability to transform objects, which led Sarah to suggest a second catalogue from a recent show at the MOCC titled Manufactured: The Conspicuous Transformation of Everyday Objects. We referenced similar inspirations and opened new doors for familiar trajectories.

I shared my recent frustrations and we got lost in points and lines and planes and volumes and talked about Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and drew lineages within our greater scope of making. She drew out of me the connections that I didn’t see before our visit and we allowed to lay rest the points that will never become lines, but regarded them as pertinent positions of trajectories- potential or not.

She reminded me of my infatuation with the line when she showed me her metal “drawings” and gave me permission to explore the non-linear trajectories when she showed me the small Bible works she was composing on plywood.

I really admire the faith that she has in herself and the work that she creates. She has so many ideas happening simultaneously and allows them to exist in the their own sphere. My constipation has been the over-intellectualization and the hard hand that needs to draw the line and make the connection.

I have just recently relocated, both my studio and my living situation. In the move, I purged and eliminated. I’m sure you have experienced the letting go of objects and ideals that come with moving. I chose to make this a very conscious effort and subtracted the majority of the work that I have created for this residency. It takes me a long time, with a lot of bad work to figure out what I really want to do. Unlike Sarah, I am not good at organizing and just need to poop and poop and poop until my intellectual colon gets a feel for what it wants to digest. So I have pooped the baroque comparison to the French revolution. I have pooped the idea of making a literal representational landscape. I have pooped the idea of having commentary be bigger than the sculptural considerations and am left with the fiber that will take me through the end of this journey.

I have decided that I want to make representational likenesses of scavengers. I want to celebrate the biological necessity of our decomposers. My first task is the vulture and I have a hyena in waiting.

@ Sarah’s “Putting things together”

Sarah!  I love your collection of afghans you’ve gleaned from the dump.  The colors and patterns please me greatly.  I’m so excited to see what you create with them!  One of my favorite artists, Nick Cave (whom I think we spoke about) might be another inspiring afghan manipulating artist look at?

also not sure if you’re into Yarn Bombing or Yarn graffiti.  It seems before it had it’s title, you were spiriting it’s cause.  Magda Seyag, of Knitta Please is also pretty inspiring.


Live artist action!

Those of you keeping up with these wonderful and compelling artists now have a chance to see them live and in person at the 13th annual crackedpots Art Show at McMenamin’s Edgefield in Troutdale on July 24th.  They will be at the crackedpots booth, in the area known as the Little Red Shed from 12:00 – 8:00.  Artists will be demonstrating process and discussing their art at different times throughout the day, so if you’re interested in meeting a particular artist, please contact them to see when they’ll be there.

For those poor souls not familiar with Edgefield, it is a beautifully landscaped paradise.  At the show (which runs both the 24th and the 25th), you can walk amongst the lush gardens with a microbrew or local wine and see close to a hundred artists making wonderfully creative art from materials with past lives.  Come out for a good time and a chance to support local artists making their living from repurposing materials that would otherwise be discarded.

Forbidden Love

Well I’ve got my MASSIVElLY ambitious to-do list…. and what did I do?  ADD ANOTHER PIECE.  ARGH!  I kinda hate myself right now.  I tried, but I can’t talk myself out of any of them. I have a crush on them all.  Dammit LaMastra!  You’re such a slut!  Time may be the only way to break these creative entanglements.

A few moments stand out, as crucial opportunities to uninvite new ideas.   But gosh, its so hard in the moment to say no to a creative romance.  One tryst, lead to a few quickies. Before I could say, “no!” I was in a dizzying entanglement of creative debauchery.

If you look closely, you can see the VHS tapes winking their fornicating lashes at me.

Once I got these beauties home, it didn’t take long before the flirtation, and intimate encounters late into the night began.  I was dramatically pulled away from the Dictionary beaded dress (as we were having some issues), and whisked into media manipulation merriment.

Below is a picture of our latest hot and sweaty night together.  (I don’t have AC).  And we’re not done with our affair just yet… but I thought I’d share the process.

Gosh, I’m so excited to see where our relationship goes.  Right now, I’ve got my love sick googles on, and all I want to do is spend time with naughty VHS film.