A couple weeks ago, the sound of the cicadas was deafening. For a piece earlier this summer, I’d felt lucky to have found a single cicada shell, but I decided to look again after having my ears assaulted. This time, I came up with quite a collection.
I’d wanted to make a piece for a local recycled art show, so I used the cicadas as an inspiration, building a kind of mandala from them and some crazy lenticular eyes I’d picked up at the Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. Throw in some old buttons, wedding confetti I picked off the ground in Germany, old doilies, beads, pins, sequins, and thread, and it’s a writhing dance of empty shells and eyeballs.
This is the third of three Relics that I made recently. This one is made from two beaded tomatillo husks, thread, a thread spool, an old button, and a weird metal hand from somewhere or other.
I collected the tomatillo husks from the ground in my garden. It was interesting to me how much they softened and didn’t break the more I worked with them as I added beads. By the end, they had started to resemble loosely woven fabric, not brittle leaf veins.
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?
The art opening was great! The Jasper Art Center put on a very nice party with food, wine tasting, and wonderful Celtic music. Plus it was wonderful to see Jane and my art up on the walls together.
Here’s an overview of the show.