This is the second of three objects that make up the piece I got accepted into the Working Together show. I’d done the previous one first and working with the tomatillo husks got me thinking about turning husks into precious objects.
That made me think of cicada shells that you find on tree trunks, which made me wish I’d collected some. No worries, right? The cicadas were emerging and I’d find one with no problem. Except they’re one of those things that you always run across–until you want one.
Finally one turned up on one of my apple trees so I could experiment with a different kind of husk. Other materials in this piece are a vintage powder puff, beads, cast off silk thread, old jewelry bits, and a gold-leafed button.
I’ve been working on some new art lately.
One of the boxes of odd objects that I displayed as part of Jane’s and my show in Jasper held tomatillo husks that I collected in my garden last fall. I combined the husks with a wonderful little bit of clothing (used just as it came to me with a safety pin holding it together), some beads, and some cast off silk thread.
It’s no more than 5″ tall and hangs from a pin in a shadow box.
It’s been accepted into the Working Together show at the Evansville Museum put on in conjunction with the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana. Yay!
My parents first gave me a camera when I was four or five. Prior to that, I remember running around making a fake viewfinder with my hands and “taking pictures” with it. Dad developed some of my first photos in his amateur basement darkroom. I have never studied photography, but have learned from excellent photographers especially Calvin Kimbrough who documented life at Patchwork for decades.
Over the last fifteen years I have worked in many different community arts programs in which photographs have provided both a record of the learning that takes place and a compelling reason for people to become involved. I also enjoy using the camera as a way to interact with people. It’s an opportunity for me to observe the children and what they’re doing and to get to know them and their unique characters in the process.
So, have I somewhat inadvertently added photographer to my list of artistic endeavors?
I have a couple art bundles hanging in my magnolia now. Here’s the second one after it’s had a little time to weather. I have seeds planted inside. Also inside are the remains of a planter lining and some fabric. I’m not sure what will happen, but I’m hoping for growth–even if it’s just the growth of mold.
The concept behind the art that Jane and I created with the high schoolers in Jasper was that the bundles of art would go outside to weather in the elements and further develop the art. The art teachers decided that the art should be hung in a tree at the school and invited us to view it when we picked up our art at the end of the show.
Today we were in Jasper to collect our art, so I stopped by the high school. I wasn’t sure what I would find or if the group had actually hung their art out, but at the back of the building I discovered this bush. I thought it was pretty great that they decided to try letting their art weather.
As part of our show in Jasper, Jane and I led a workshop for a group of local high schoolers. We talked about our art some and they looked at the show. Then we went to the workspace downstairs and made some art.
We all constructed bundles of objects with the thought that they would be hung from a tree outside to weather. It was an idea that Jane and I had tried out earlier. I thought the kids came up with some great ideas and interesting construction techniques. In a way, we were manufacturing the kinds of objects that Jane and I collect from the street and other interesting places.
We provided a lot of odds and ends–fabric, paper, markers, thread, yarn, feathers, old toys, bolts, washers, pop cans, magazines, old Starbucks gift cards–even a Girl Scout cookie. They were asked to bring some object that they found around where they lived, and some did.
Above is one: a bundle of bundles. There was also one that made wings out of the Starbucks cards so it would spin. Several others got innovative with markers. Some even pulled the felt out of the inside of the markers and hid them at the center of their bundles with the thought that in the rain, the dye would seep out.
The teachers said they’d hang the art up outdoors at the school. I hope they did and that Jane and I can see it when we go back to take the show down.