Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Thursday, August 28, 2008

times touching

Sometime during my high school years, I developed a fascination with the powerful idea of times past, and the people who inhabited them. Having been largely bored by dry classroom history lessons about the Magna Carta or the Louisianna Purchase, history finally shifted into a fascinating subject because I stumbled onto ways to personally connect with it.

Just how it happened isn't clear, but somehow I had important encounters with various media and even old objects themselves, both alone and with the closest of friends. I was fortunate to experience a shift in thinking from the merely theoretical to the specific, the personal. Certain times and places and ideas in my own history have become personal symbols for that awakening fascination, and now time and reflection are endlessly folding back on themselves, again and again.

Picking up an old object, reading a story, closing your eyes and looking: this is how one time can touch another.

* * *

evocative films
old black and white days and nights
ephemeral lives

Bakelite jewelry
mysterious aroma
when rubbed gives off life

rows of doll dresses
still sealed, unattainable
in dreams became mine

strawberry incense
joyous rain gray adventure
we bought vintage hats

an old trunk opens
antique shop morning darkness
perfumed time drifts out

who held this mirror?
peering now past old glass ghosts
her expression gone

the phantom tollbooth
through the looking glass Alice
those wrinkles in time

Brownie camera
treasured chalice held waist high
claims tomorrow's gifts

young me wrote letters
for tomorrow's me to read
which one of me lost

wearing my blue jeans
with a War-time jacket
but she'll never know

* * *

night travels in the looking glass house

Yesterday upon the stair

I met a man who wasn't there.

He wasn't there again today

I wish that man would go away.

* * *

Hugh Means (1875 – 1965)

This photograph has nothing directly to do with my artwork, and everything to do with insomnia, sleep disruption, and dreaming. I have several recurring dream locales, and one of them is the Looking Glass House. When I have a lot on my mind (which is recently the case), this is where my dreams can take me.

The Looking Glass House experience is mysterious, foreboding, anxious, and emotionally complex. I wake up with an odd combination of melancholy and what might be called artistic urgency.

Another recurring dream I've had since childhood is the Incredible Flea Market. Here I find one amazing treasure after another: jewelry, vintage clothing, books, old photographs and ephemera, cameras, and unopened boxes and packages of dolls and doll clothing.

Sometimes I think I would love nothing more than to have one of my Incredible Flea Market dreams, but I end up wandering in the Looking Glass House instead.

These dreams are familiar, and I'm attached to them both.

* * *

Monday, July 14, 2008

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

wandering off the garden path

Many different colors appeal to me, but green is one of my favorites. To me it's a guileless color, a color of life, of innocence, of new beginnings.

Gray, on the other hand, is an important but difficult color. Nowadays shades of gray seem to be everywhere. There's a place for gray, but what happens when it overtakes everything? I miss color, I miss green. I'm glad it's a new year, and so very happy that spring is coming.

And that is all I'm going to say today that's even remotely about art, design, dolls, or fashion.

I thought it might be interesting to take a short break and briefly shine a light here on the subject of honesty. Is the truth important? In this age of spin, hype, and manipulation, is it even relevant to modern human experience?

Is the classic notion of the right and wrong of lying obsolete in this age awash in shades of gray?

* * *

My corner of cyberspace isn't the ultimate place to answer these questions, and I'm not the person with the answers, but earlier today I enjoyed reading what some thoughtful people have to say about it.

This is the only relatively long bit to read, and the rest will be short... I give you my word. The following passage is from near the end of a brilliant essay on lying, by Tim C. Mazur, Markula Center for Applied Ethics, Santa Clara University:

Critics of utilitarian justifications for lying further note how difficult it is for anyone, even honorable persons, to know that a lie will bring more good than the truth; the consequences of actions are too often unpredictable. Lies frequently assume "lives of their own" and result in consequences that people do not intend or fail to predict. Moreover, it is very difficult for a person to be objective in estimating the good and the harm that his or her lies will produce. We have a vested interest in the lies we tell and an equally vested interest in believing that the world will be better if we lie from one instance to the next. For these reasons, critics claim, lying is morally wrong because we cannot accurately measure lies' benefits and harms.

Quotes are always an interesting shotgun way to approach a subject. Here are a few of my


The truth of the innocent is the liar's most useful tool. (Stephen King)

The ability to lie is a liability. (Unknown)

Men hate those to whom they have to lie. (Victor Hugo)

Always tell the truth. That way you don't have to remember what you said. (Mark Twain)

No man has a good enough memory to make a successful liar. (Abraham Lincoln)

And here is that old classic:

Oh, what a wicked web we weave when first we practise to deceive. (Sir Walter Scott)

Finally, one of the most brilliant, if unattributed, quotes of all time: Liar! Liar! Pants on fire! (Classic American schoolyard chant)

* * *

We'll soon return to our regularly scheduled (and much-needed) adventures in art, fashion, dolls, and other diversions from a troubled world.

Until next time, I leave you with this last quote:

Life doesn't imitate art, it imitates bad television. (Woody Allen)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

secret forest

The first of many more mixed technique collages to come. Not having created this sort of thing for many years, this piece is personally significant; I was delighted it came to me so easily and with good results. Art is easy; sitting down to do the art is what we make so unecessarily difficult. All that is going to change, starting right now.

Friday, June 13, 2008

dream fragment

* * *

then something captured my attention;

in the little room I was in to the left of the closet

was a shuttered window

the shutters were almost completely open to the inside

and outside there had appeared

a brilliant, spectacular and highly detailed

surrealistic landscape;

it looked like a fantastic computer animation

breathtaking and colorful;

this was tremendously exciting

and I found myself exclaiming

it was a "digital landscape";

as I sought to examine parts

of what I was seeing, I noticed that the

imagery was fairly unstable

which didn't surprise me;

still the overall integrity of the image stayed the same

in the look of the buildings and the shapes and the colors

* * *

dream account taken directly from journal; photo was taken in Second Life by Reverielarke Wirtanen

Thursday, June 12, 2008

tempus fugit and other frustrations

Time flies. My days seem long enough, but the weeks, months, and years are slipping by faster than I would like. There is so much I want to complete, and at the top of the list is my novel. It is poised at the point of around 95% completion.

A writer writes... right?

Unfortunately a writer also eats, sleeps, pulls weeds, takes care of the cat. Even so, there should be plenty of time each day to write. The problem comes when we insist on having our time be perfect ideal time, as in, a long uninterrupted block of it with nobody around and no interruptions. If we are married women in conventional households, many of us also feel better when all the other work is done first (IE housework) because otherwise we feel guilty. And yet, if we call ourselves writers, isn't writing our job?

My goal is to disengage the bad habits surrounding my writing, including my perfectionism that sometimes convinces me tomorrow just might be more optimal for writing than today. I also want to pull back on the proofreading and rewrites and move ahead with new text. That kind of procrastination is the most insidious of all because it feels so noble, so necessary... and in a way, it is, but not nearly as important at this point as moving ahead.

What will I accomplish today in terms of my writing projects? Today I would like to tackle Chapter 113 of "Regarding Reverie". But first, there's someone coming by to repair the love seat in the family room...