Because at some point, we all need to take a leap of faith.
In June to August of 2015 I participated in the Ideation Experience exhibit at The Abecedarian Gallery. The project was based on the Ideation Deck by Barbara Tetenbaum and Julie Chen. Within the deck are Category and Adjective cards representing aspects of design and bookmaking structure. The deck acts as a catalyst in the creative process. The player of this game picks twelve cards-seven in Category and five in Adjective- and that determines the technical attitude of the book. It does not however, create the theme.
In the category deck I blindly drew abstract (image), hand drawn/painted (technique), stream of consciousness/free write/rant (text), pre-treated (paper), grid (layout), highly colorful (color) and innovative (structure). Adjectives included poetic, soft, textured, whimsical and impressionistic.
I wasn’t sure how to make it work. The only way I thought I could incorporate all of my cards was to draw from the subconscious (but not my subconscious, ahem) and use the fears, desires, epiphanies and general absurdities that come from dreaming. In the end, I had a box that housed five dice and unfolded into a circle when opened.
I imagine there could be a lot of dialogue over whether or not a folded box is innovative, but there it is. The paper was pre-treated with a water color wash in light colors (soft, impressionistic), illustrated with dream imagery (whimsical, hand painted) and then over painted with a broken grid.
I used an awl to punch holes along the grid lines. I used gold pigment and sandpaper to create pattern and texture.
The dice are numbered. When rolled and put together in numerical order they form a sentence that can hopefully be interpreted as poetic and following a stream of consciousness. There are 7776 possible sentence combinations. The chances of rolling the original sentences are slim to none.
They are as follows (in case you were wondering):
1. Winged nightmare threatens vulnerable eyeballs
2. Pornographic lagomorph enthralls into orgasm
3. Living tree reaches throughout existence
4. Impassioned lover acquiesces individual consciousness
5. Perceived labyrinth confuses existential reality
6. (The wild card and resulting title of this piece) This dream intentionally left blank
I promise, the more you roll, the more ridiculous it gets.
Winged dream acquiesces into reality
Impassioned nightmare confuses existential blank
This labyrinth threatens individual existence
(I think I might be ready for open mic night)
Incidentally, I made a small book with the scraps of this project. The pages are contained in a wrap around cover. There is no text, only abstraction, color and a little bit of thread. I am surprisingly pleased with the results. Perceived dream enthralls throughout existence!
I live in the rural lands and I miss the accessibility and sparkle of The City. When I was in my early twenties I moved to Seattle, Washington from central Pennsylvania. The variety of food, men and shoes available were unbelievable. I tried pho for the first time, met an architect at a film festival and bought my first pair of Vogs. Over time, I lost perspective and forgot what was dear to me. I got caught up in the culture and the concrete. I felt alone, depressed and stopped taking advantage of anything Seattle had to offer. Eventually, I returned to Pennsylvania and then moved to Indiana.
I know myself better now. I can walk off my porch and into the woods. I leave the garage unlocked so the neighbor can borrow the chainsaw. I live in a place where someone will stop if I have a flat tire. I do not have to pick up after my dogs.
And I still love cities. Pittsburgh, Phili, Baltimore, D.C. and New York are all within easy reach when I want a little more art, action and limited release movies in my life.
A friend of mine left the green spaces of rural Pennsylvania last year for the grittiness of Pittsburgh. Initially she had trouble seeing the beauty in it and missed the stillness she left behind. I wanted to give her something that would help lend a sense of grounding to her day if she needed it. I was playing around with concepts of ritual and reliquaries at the time and I decided to make her a portable altar.
I used an Altoids tin as the vessel. I removed the color from the outside with a dremel tool, leaving some of the letters behind and applied some new imagery.
When the box is opened, the contents are removed and the altar constructed.
It unfolds to reveal a moonlit forest. The contents include an acorn, a pine cone, a bit of moss, quartz and two miniature deer. All local to central Pennsylvania. And what altar would be complete without incense? Forest flavored.
I don’t know if carrying around a tin full of nature helped her transition. Or if encouraging a ritual around a places you leave is healthy. I remember that spending time in Volunteer Park, or Green Lake wasn’t enough for me to feel whole. I missed where I came from and the grounding effect it had on me. My friend has transitioned beautifully into an urban landscape and is wrapped up in the scene of the city. And I can visit on weekends.
A few months ago I received an email from one of my local art organizations inviting me to take part in a charity auction. The Bellefonte Library discovered a number of chairs with no historical import in a dusty corner and decided to turn them into an opportunity to raise money for literacy. They invited artists to pick up a chair, work their will on it and return it painted, primped and bedazzled. The chairs will be auctioned off in May to the highest bidders.
The chair I brought home was decorated in black and gold. I’m sure it was a solid choice at the time.
I stripped the black paint and was rewarded with another coat- a white monster paint no solvent would touch. So I broke out the hand sander.
There’s an angler fish lurking under the seat for surprise factor.
The Art for Literacy Chair Auction will be held Saturday, May 17 from 2-4 p.m. at the Historical Museum Community Garden at 203 North Allegheny Street, Bellefonte. The admission is $20.00 and it includes a live and silent auction, complimentary wine, hors d’oeuvres and live music.
Tickets can be purchased at www.centrecountylibrary.org and proceeds benefit the Centre County Library and Historical Museum.