Tuesday, July 31, 2012

My Imaginary Friends

 I never had an imaginary friend. But I always liked the idea of one.

I guess I never felt the need for one because I had my sister. Only 11 months apart, we were usually within 2 inches of each other at every moment until we were about 10 years old. According to Wikipedia, imaginary friends are thought to be beneficial to children because they "provide comfort in times of stress, companionship when they're lonely, someone to boss around when they feel powerless, and someone to blame for the broken lamp in the living room. Most important, an imaginary companion is a tool young children use to help them make sense of the adult world." Yep.. all things provided by my sister.

An interesting article on Seattlepi.com talks about how adults still manage to have psuedo-imaginary friends through journals and fictional writing. When we journal or write in a diary, we often write to an imagined audience, another dimension of ourselves. Fiction writers often create relationships with characters as they hash out conversations and plots.

I wonder too if we painters and doodlers and stitchers and mixed media mashers aren't having some serious conversations with our imaginary friends. I certainly talk to myself enough when I am creating.
And after several days of working on an image, it does take on a personality and I start to feel connected to it. Like those childhood imaginary friends, art does "provide comfort in times of stress." In many ways it also provides a sense of companionship when I am lonely. And it does help me make sense of the world.

I guess I cannot really blame a piece of artwork for breaking the lamp in the living room, but I sure have blamed it for failing to make dinner or finish the laundry. Maybe I do have imaginary friends after all.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Where Did She Come From?

This bird lady arrived this morning. She is a mix of all kinds of images that have been rolling around in my head for a while and papers that I have been playing with for months.

Her dress and shoes are made of sewn paper textiles I created back in the spring. 

I was very lucky to receive the gift of a dusty old Bingo set!

Her red leather glove top piece was inspired by a magical puppet made by Denise over at Grrl+Dog. The glove is made from real glove leather, a gift from my grandmother. (She made her own gloves back in the day.) I received this leather only a week ago and within a few days saw Denise's wonderful blog post. The wheels must have started cranking.

The shirt is made from paper I printed using a gelli print block. If you have not tried printing with one of these, you are missing out on a whole hunk of crafty heaven. I started using it for the first time and barely came up for air. I was printing on every printable surface in sight. Even the mistakes look dreamy.

What fanciful wonder are you creating today?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Quick Trip to the Farm

In what seems like the blink of an eye, I drove the kids to visit my parents on their farm in Southwest Missouri. It is a 13 hour trip (ahem...14 if you take the accidental detour) and I drove straight through both ways. Left on Saturday. Returned on Wednesday. I am not sure if I could even recite my phone number right now.
I got a new camera for my birthday and saved its christening for this trip.

What an amazing way to start my relationship with this camera.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Two Tickets, Please

Do you ever get stuck in a cycle of frustration?
I have to admit... sometimes I do.
It happened this week. And all I could think about? Bumper cars.

As a kid, I never liked bumper cars. I loved the Tilt-a-Whirl, the Ferris Wheel, hot dogs, cotton candy, the friendly yet somewhat spooky carny operators, and countless rides on the Scrambler. But I would not ride those bumper cars.

I couldn't understand why anyone would voluntarily step into such madness. Once in the rink, you must hit or be hit. Being the champion conflict-avoider that I was, I never wanted to actually bump anyone, so for me it was a game of chase. And I was the prey. My quest became escape, but a chance breakaway led only to momentary peace followed by a monumental whack in the rear end.

I couldn't understand why so many of my friends loved those bumper cars. They gleefully rammed into each other, laughing and eagerly seeking revenge. They had fun in those things.

So here I am in my cycle of bumper car frustration. No one is hitting me and I am not hitting anyone, but I feel like I can't get out of the rink. I try this and Wham! Hit from the side. I try that and Bam! Hit from the rear. Then I get a clear unobstructed piece of clear rink. Escape is within my reach and Blammo! Head-on collision!

Perhaps the problem is this... I'm not doing the chasing. I'm being chased. I'm avoiding. I'm trying to find the easy way out. My only goal... escape.

What if I quit trying to get out?

Instead of running, what if I look gleefully at the other cars, press my foot on the accelerator, throw back my head with diabolical laughter, and plow right into the side of that shiny red one. Pow! Take that!

After all, the ride only lasts a few minutes anyway.

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Nest of Treasures

Yesterday my daughter and I took on a big project. At least once a year, we clean out the collection of junk she has hoarded in her little pink bedroom. It kind of blows my mind that a 9 year old can stash away so many papers, bouncy balls, stickers and shells in just one year. But she is my daughter.

We spent almost 6 hours moving furniture around, vacuuming, dusting, throwing out old math homework (she thought she might use it for reference in the 5th grade. I convinced her otherwise.)

I'd like to say we sorted through all her collections and culled only the finest pieces. But my heart wouldn't let me do it. As she carefully dusted and rearranged each penguin-shaped eraser, glass unicorn, and piece of beach glass, she smiled the smile of the treasure collector, a smile I know well.

I had to let her keep these treasures. I even dug through the storage room to find some special shelves to better display them.

At the end of the day, our throats were scratchy from the dust we had kicked up. We had to get out and go for a walk just to clear our heads. Later, I tucked her in to sleep. She was almost giddy to slip into her bed in its new place in the room. She looked around dreamily at the reading nook we made with pillows in the corner, the painted parasol from Thailand (a gift from her Aunt Amy) that we hung, canopy-like above her head, and the shining collection of treasures mounted above her desk. Nothing of great value to the rest of the world, but precious delights to a fellow magpie.