first, let me say it was the most amazing weekend i've had in a while. and for small reasons. all bunched up small reasons that became a grand adventure. when the actuality of driving 6 hours in a car with my mother to go to an art weekend hit me, i was a little - no a lot - nervous about it. i mean, what was i thinking? wouldn't you want a like-minded artsy person with you to set the mood? someone who likes the same music? or has cooler music to listen to on the way? but that person is certainly not your mother. well, check again...it may be. so we drive and drive and drive. i have my typical 14 maps and sets of directions. i will be aware of every bump and landmark along the way - nothing to chance on this important weekend. got a fully loaded CD case. check. coffee. check. 19 packs of cigarettes. check. truck packed to overflowing with rusty metal, paints, glues, oh - and clothes? check. mom is looking forward to this trip as much as i am...she will have an entire day to herself with no obligations. so i resolve that NO MATTER WHAT, i will be calm and peaceful and go with the flow, if for no other reason than to give her that gift. we never get to the CDs. the conversation was incredible. i learned things about my mom, through her words, and our working together, that i never thought she knew, felt, or had even thought about before. she was- gasp- a real person! and a very cool one at that. she has done things and lived things that i wouldd never have imagined. she is a strong woman who has played the hand that has been dealt her throughout her life without complaint or blame. it's easy to point a finger or shake a fist at someone else when your life isn't becoming quite what you expected. i know that one by heart. it easy to play the victim and get into that "woe is me" pity party (party of one - your table is ready). you become the taker in life, rather than a contributer, and that cements your feet in that one point. mom just goes with the flow. she still has hopes and dreams. she still wrestles the dragon of self-discovery. she is in a marriage that is stifling her, but has chosen to stay, and i have chosen to respect that....it's HER decision, even though i (now) see what an incredible woman she is and would love to see her free. she directs her wants and desires to service for others. not subservient service. that would imply the death of her spirit. she is spiritual in a non-churchy way, which was the most incredible thing i discovered. day-by-day, she wraps the church around her like a protective cloak....anything not seemingly endorsed by the church is rejected out-of-hand. but on this trip, the cloak was not packed. we arrived in Danvers exhausted and starving, so we went to the nearest familiar place - Chili's restaurant. let me stop here to give you a quick lay-of-the-land. most of the state of Mass. is 1-way. and it's usually the "other" way. what i mean is, they have these multiple-lane roads with huge cement dividers and no U-turn areas. so if you get lost, or miss a turn, it may be quite a while before you can turn back. so we go to dinner, and there's a Big Lots store behind the restaurant. i still need a few supplies, so we check it out. after leaving the store, we head out onto the hiway from hell, and quickly realize we're going the wrong way. we think. maybe. who knows. up ahead, the road widens and there are a lot of signs...we are headed for a turnpike-ish -going-somewhere-ELSE kinda road. like another state somewhere else. so i pull off onto the last little side street at 55mph and stop. what do we do now? i turn my head to look out the window, and there is a cop in his cruiser (or "cruisah" if you're native). he gives me the most confusing set of directions that include lots of " then get on the turnabout" type things. i must have looked sufficiently confused, cause he gruffly said "follow me." we proceed - at high speed- to fly through small rundown neighborhoods that have been recently visited by the pothole fairies. about 5 mins later (15 at normal speed, i estimate) we end up pulling into the BIG LOTS PARKING LOT and go up a hidden little road that takes us right to our hotel. duh. who knew? we laughed so hard (after Peabody's finest cleared the scene). so it was 8:30pm and we were beyond tired. to bed. i was thinking about what a magical day it had been in so many unname-able ways. (sorry GP). i was up at 4:30am. we decided to try to find a breakfast place CLOSE BY and the plan was that i would then take map #2 and find the little town "just down the street" where my dream workshop with artist Michael DeMeng was being held. i am a huge fan of his work, as it touches the same chords in my soul as i try to create in my own work to send out to the world. after relating the story of our "police escort" to the night clerk, and was handed ANOTHER map, we headed off to a nice breakfast restaurant. i won't relay the conversations we had, because they are still too precious to me to share, but i will hold them to my heart forever. simple things, and complicated things all wrapped around a stack of pancakes and an order of eggs. i was beginning to see my mother as a person...as a woman who has lived in a determined and thoughtful way. who is different from me only in some of the choices she has made - but even then, not so different. maybe only in her reaction to them. she was becoming 3-dimensional. not just the person i call every morning to say hi. not the person i rush off a quick cellphone call as i head into work, or who will faithfully watch my dog when i need a break or go somewhere fun. she has always been there in all her depth, but i only saw what i saw. how un-artist-like of me. and such a shame to have missed out. thankfully, she never turned away. what i perceived as her being taken advantage of by almost everyone, i now realize is actually her gift....to be able to help someone up time after time after time when they trip over the same rock in the same road in the same spot. and let them learn on their own. no matter how long it takes. she shows love and patience to her husband, who personally, i would have pushed off a tall building years ago. she wants a little more quiet space in her life, but is able to see the goodness in everyone. that is a gift. especially if you met some of the people she deals with daily. anyway - the workshop was glorious. i arrived early (big surprise!) and as i approched the store, a woman in a purple shirt started waving at me furiously. i pointed at myself and she nodded. she was early too. her name is Rain. cool. i had been hoping for a workshop-buddy, and here she was. somehow we instantly began talking about how we are becoming our mothers. did you ever catch yourself saying something, or notice a movement of your hand or feel a facial expression that you knew unerringly came from your mother? that was our talk. i gave her a wooden cigar box and we are now bonded for life. she gave me much more. strange how she launched into that topic...i mean, we just met. why not talk about art, or the workshop? so that became the theme for my piece "becoming my mother." and it is wonderful in all it's rusted glory. now, if you've ever taken a workshop with me, you know i tend to be loud, clutzy, high-maintenance and never finish my project. despite the fact that there was all this creative high (and the glue helped a lot!) and also the fact that another of my favorite artists was there to help Michael, i was quiet, normal and productive. centered. thoughtful. and i shared my stuff. gasp! good girl. the thoughts and emotions of becoming my mom were overwhelming. i guess there just is no way to put this into words after all, but something shifted in me. the workshop ran long. i was beyond exhausted. dinner at a nice seafood restaurant. back to the hotel where mom was going to teach me to knit. good luck. we sat close on the couch and she tentatively put a hand on my shoulder as i twisted and tangled my way through some stitches. it felt good. it felt right. it felt like water on parched ground. and it made me sad at the same time that she felt she had to be so cautious about showing me affection, yet craving to touch and hold me so much that she would risk rejection or me pulling away. i leaned in and continued to try to knit. i was beginning to notice that she was not this nervous, insecure bag of quaking person. she was quiet and observant. unsure in some situations, like the rest of us, but certain of herself and what she felt. sensitive. i guess her sensitivity is what i mistook for insecurity. easily wounded, she proceeds on tentative steps. the past seemed stupid and juvenile...to carry that rotten tomato around hoping to one day make a salad. it was the present that became so urgent and important. time is short, as i have become aware these past few years. she craves the touch and understanding of her children and loved ones. she groans for a relationship with them - for them to see her as the wonderful,complex person she is, rather than an accumulation of so-called failings. or as a paper cutout of a person. or as a comparison of what she was 20 years ago, 30 years ago, 40 years ago. the scales, i realized are always balanced. it's just how you see things. stand in front and look at them head on and unflinching...dare to use inner eyes. my daily conversations were superficial compared to this. okay - now the transition. got up monday morning and was still undecided about whether to go to Salem to see the Cornell exhibit, or just head home. it would be a shame to be this close and not go, but since all the directions we got all weekend started with "it's just down the road" and usually ended with us lost somewhere, i didn't know if i had the energy to be lost again AND drive 6 hours home. as i went to settle the bill at the hotel office, i found a perfect, pristine little piece of a red ribbon. good sign. at the checkout, the woman was just starting her shift. cranky and hadn't had enough coffee. after 5 minutes of her frustration, she said the original check-in girl (from syracuse, by the way, with an artist mother!) had bollucked up the whole acct and SHE didn't have the time or energy to try to figure out what the friggin ding dong (quote) was going on and if she tried to, it would screw things up worse, so my bill was $9.87. total. period. that's it. no more. don't ask - just hand over a ten-spot-keep-the-change-so-long. yow! so i decided we'd go to Salem. home of the witch trials. with my born-again-and-again-and-again mother. home of satan. home of everything evil. unless you know the true story. she was unfazed by the whole "evil"thing. the Cornell exhibit brought tears to my eyes and i was again overwhelmed. even trying to faithfully record events here is so lame. the depth of emotions that weekend....the art....the friendships forged, both at the workshop, and with my mother, and with myself. she took few pictures, as did i. when i asked her why, she said "i have it all here in my heart. a picture would never be right." my thoughts. exactly. L.
Monday, June 25, 2007
this has been the most overwhelming 3 days in my life...i left sat early a.m. to head to Danvers, MA for a Michael DeMeng workshop...with my mom riding shotgun. these 2 incredible events had the potential to send me over the edge of reason - each in their own way. i had a talk with myself before i left and was determined to just let her be herself, and likewise, to just be me. tomorrow i will fill in the most incredible details of this gift of an adventure, but let me end this quick preview by saying 1) although i see myself slowly becoming my mom, it isn't such a bad thing now that i know her....and 2) you do not want to miss tomorrow's post. my apologies for this lame-o teaser, but i have been up since 4am, and drove from 7am-8pm....it's now 10:41, and i just cannot do this magical trip justice with the few remaining brain cells i have left.....so till tomorrow - put on a sweater...i'm cold. ;) L.
at 10:35 PM
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
okee dokee...i warn you - don't stare too long at the picture...you wanted to see my studio, so here's a small corner of my world....messy and i love it like that! also here's a wallhanging i made for my friend...it's dupioni silk on cotton duck...not real easy to see the tasty, but colorful anyway. it's all beaded up. L.
at 4:32 PM
Monday, June 11, 2007
life has certainly been busy busy busy the past few weeks....i've been trying to create some art for a dr's office (3 pieces) and for a friend (2 pieces) plus get ready for my dream trip to a workshop in MA in 2 weeks. whew. the inspiration seems to be flowing at the same time as the need for the art - for a change! at the same time, my dear friend Katie passed away. very strange "coincidence" surrounding that event...i got a call at work from a girl i'd worked with at 911. had only worked with her for 6 months (she was new, i was leaving) and never was real close to her. anyway, somehow, she recognized my voice when i answered the phone. how weird is that? we chatted for a minute or so and she was adamant that i give her my phone number. despite misgivings, i gave her my cell number, then had a co-worker answer her work-related questions - i didn't feel right digging around her medical file. 2 days later, i was out of sorts all day. didn't want to be at work, didn't want to be at home, didn't feel productive. just out of sorts. squirmy. so i stayed at work, despite an easy excuse of a dr appt at hand. when i left work, there was a message from this ex-co-worker telling me that kate had passed. now, i don't know of anyone else that would have made sure that i knew about kate except this girl. people get caught up in grief and turn to those closest to them, those they see everyday. but beth made sure i knew. coincidence? i went to kate's funeral today. it was the hardest thing i've done in recent memory. i was glad that she was out of suffering and pain - she did not deserve that. but as people began to file to the front and tell stories of what she meant to them and how she had changed them - just by being her - it began to dawn on me how each life creates a ripple. all the kids in the neighborhood flocked to her house for unconditional love - even if that meant a swat on the behind from time to time. at one point, this huge giant of a black man stood up at the microphone. his name was Handsome. he said "it took a tiny little white woman to teach me what it is to be a man." she was no stranger to trials in her life. but she handled them with a smile and a prayer and kept her head up and plowed through whatever came. never once heard her preach or even quote the bible - she just lived her life the way she knew she should. she meant so much to so many. and it created a ripple. this one was touched by her and passed it on to the next and the next and taught their kids like she'd taught them. a tiny little force of nature. never preached. never said a bad word about anyone. but was just a normal everyday woman. i will surely miss her...the thought of her being at the end of the phone. listening to grown men and women from the police depts weep as they recounted how much she meant to them - battle-hardened veterans of the war on the streets, humbled by the grace and love of this one person. it made me think - how will i effect the world? of late, i have been extremely needy in the emotional realm. battling depression. battling a sagging marriage. mourning my dear nikita still. not knowing which way to turn in my life, or whether to stay in place. this afternoon reminded me that i too will make a ripple....for good or for bad, for betterment of those i touch, or not. i am a different person because of kate. a better person. she saved me in ways i cannot express at a time when i needed it. i will try to be that person, that kate-ripple person. as we all stood in the vestibule after the service, waiting to go to the cemetary, the tears flowed harder as we realized that this was our final goodbye...that it was now up to us to take her love and pass it on. what a precious gift and what a difficult task. L
at 8:27 PM
Sunday, June 03, 2007
the rust gods were with me today! an incredible score at the flea market....actually, a whole bunch o' goodies! i'm working on a piece now called "she had a lot to say" and feel like there may be a few more with the same name. ("son of..." "the 2nd" hmmm, need to think about that). it was nice to get out and take my time without feeling guilty about not being home doing chores. i got up around 5:30am and took diva dog for a walk (after a cup of coffee! amazing how many other people were out. i must have been sending out good vibes, because the vendors at the flea market were handing me stuff free. or maybe they couldn't believe anyone would want some of the stuff i picked out! greasy rusty spark plugs...an old faucet...etc. i tried to be friendly and chatty but not show too much interest in the pieces i wanted. my poker face hits the floor though when i see just the right piece of whatever. and this time i remembered to bring singles instead of whipping out a $20 bill. i was so incredibly exhilirated that i came home and made art! the idea that was twinkling around in my head, hiding when i peeked, has finally shown itself. i say "finally" as if it was an intolerable wait, when in fact in the past, i've waited months for that "ah ha" moment. and a few hours after that, i knew where it would have a home. you know how different people in your life inspire different things ? this one makes you feel good about yourself...that one is your "serious" friend with whom you discuss deep thoughts ...that one is a little dangerous in a giddy way...you know what i mean. well, i have a person in my life i think of as the "receptor." it seems lately that i'll have an idea - a big one- but probably wouldn't start the work because it would be a huge undertaking. with my flea-fart attention span, it would never get done! well, it seems like moments after the idea "gels," she'll call and i'll realize she's the one who this piece is meant to go to. strange. my pieces all seem to pick out their homes as i work on them. that's why it's hard for me to just create for the sake of creating sometimes. there has to be a destination in mind for it. i picture how the person will react and interact with the piece....where it may end up in their home. these pieces always end up being a conversation, or more of a thank you, actually, to that person. i'm so grateful and extremely blessed to have the friends i have. truly special friends who are supportive and encouraging and as happy for my successes and growth as i am. i only hope i give back something to them that enriches their lives. (i say "friends" but i include my brother) he is something special. although when we were growing up i didn't quite think so. but now, i feel closer to him that any other person. we're very much alike, yet very different. sylvia & trudi. oy. so anyway, doing an inventory of the day, my question to myself is: do i create art, or does the art create me? hmmm..............L
at 7:45 PM
Saturday, June 02, 2007
i almost hate it....when the bubblings of "something big" starts....artwise. i can feel the flutterings of it, the craving of it, but have no idea what is about to begin growing. i compare my art creating to birth...not to sound all high-falootin, but mothers out there will relate. when you first feel that "butterflies in the stomach" feeling of life. a boy? a girl? who knows? you begin to fantasize about the life growing in you - how the child will be when (s)he is 2 or 6 or 10 or 18. and this is just within the first trembling moments of knowing that something life-changing, life-giving, is about to happen. (now i don't presume to create art that is life-altering, but follow me here). this work of art...will it be fiber? wood? rusty metal? a sculpture? a shrine? large? small? a gift? for sale? all this after just moments of feeling like i MUST create something. my hands MUST begin to mold something. the anguish and anticipation. at this point, i have no ideas. not one. just a leaning in a certain direction. like a dowser with the perfect branch in hand. this way? no. that way...you're getting warmer. i feel a night of disturbed sleep coming on. usually at these times, i wake early (5am) and take the longest shower allowed by law. something about water brings things in focus. the shower is perfect for this. close to my studio, and it's the only place i can think undisturbed by 2-leggeds or 4-leggeds, or by a clutter of materials lost & found scattered throughout my studio, trying to distract me. my shower is my blank page. a little intimidating, that blank page, but the soothing feel of the water and sound of the shower is a wonderful meditation. i feel a strong pull toward the flea market tomorrow morning. this excites me because that usually means there is a special treasure waiting...a heads-up from the rust angels! i also need to be by the shore of my Lake. listening to the waves coming in. smelling the air. communing with the gulls and ladybugs. i had a dragonfly land on me today, checking me out for some time. a good sign for sure. do i believe in signs? yes and no. i think people can turn anything into the "sign" they were looking for. doesn't make it any less of a sign. and can certainly give you the courage to move in the direction your instinct tells you you should. but there is something special between me and dragonflies. i don't know what but it's there. so back to the birth. i have a 3/4-formulated idea rambling around in my head right now, but need a form to mold it around. (mold? mould? you get the idea). (a physical one...a shape to put something over to make another something). i had planned to work on that while i did a bit more thinking on my glass piece before i ruin another expensive and beautiful full sheet of the sparkly stuff. but now this. this gnashing of an urging of a pay-attention-here not-even-an-idea-yet. just a feeling. a feeling that a great work is to come soon. do i wait? do i continue onto other things while it works itself out? time, once again, is my enemy. to spend time meditating on this idea, is to take time away from creating other half-finished work. and art-time for me is limited these days. work steals the best morning hours. by evening when i get home, exhaustion takes the rest. somewhere in between, obligations and diva-dog love need another chunk. she's quickly slowing down, which reminds me more that time is so precious. it's almost a year since my best love in the world left me. i miss him in a constant and heart-rending way. today i got a dog license renewal form for him. how sad to check off a different box on that form. diva dog has begun sleeping on the little woobie that he used to sleep on. i hope that isn't a sign of another kind. i get angry and impatient that so much of my gift of time must be spent in ways that i don't choose. that lottery win can't come soon enough! to be able to travel and fill my inspirational carafe. then bring it home to work it out. it's almost physical pain. my mind wanders....sedona, mexico, alaska, to see quebec city again would just do it! people bring me back the absolute coolest stuff from their trips - sacred objects to inspire me....red rocks from sedona....huge shells from cape cod. i have hornets nests from who knows where. an excellent rusty spoon. am i easy to please or what? their travels inspire me, and make me determined to see for myself. having spent some time as an almost-agoraphobic, the thought of travel is the most decadent thought i have! well, almost. i am at a point in my art that i need more instruction...not how to draw or paint the proper way...but how to make armatures, and how to weld, and make boxes out of wood. these are small, simple things, but it's the whole teach-a-man-to-fish thing. my ideas are surpassing my abilities right now. not a bad thing, just frustrating. there are shapes and designs and textures that i can feel and sense, but can't be easily found in a bin somewhere. the thrill of the hunting-and-gathering is wonderful, but sometimes you need what you need and you need it NOW. so as i ramble on about mundane things, this creature of a creation continues to taunt and tease at the edge of consciousness...daring me to look it in the eye and claim it. i long for my own space to create at any/all hours....wet/dry/noisy/quiet/climate controlled and all mine! bushel barrels and shelves filled with rusted trinkets and silks alike. roving and paints and dyes and tools...lots of tools! especially old hand tools - the kind you have to crank or twist by hand. and hooks in the ceiling for hanging large pieces while i'm working on them. and a huge work table. huge. really really huge. so an unfinished project can sit and simmer at the crossroads while another starts up. i found what i think is the perfect place, but $2500/mo is too steep right now. i am in quite a happy predicament...i've outgrown my skills and my space. i must be making progress! i hope tomorrows foray into the flea market brings about the missing piece to jump start this inkling.....i have a good feeling about it. the dragonfly was a good sign. sleep well....and that sound you hear - that's my mental pacing......L.
at 10:18 PM