Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Artists and Poets

Just a quick non-holiday related item. A poem and accordian book that I made is being featured on The Artists and Poets Blog today. I wrote the poem and made the accordian book in response to a ZNE theme week challenge way back in April of 2006. I started working with altered art/mixed media techniques about 6 weeks before that. Again, I wish I had that freedom of not knowing anything.

This is another one of those things that I wish I hadn't sold. For one thing, I would love to take a picture of the book standing up in its accordian shape. For some reason I never thought to do that. I've wished for that image at least a dozen times since then.

Another reason I wish I still had it is that the subject matter feels very personal. I was feeling very alone then, we had moved out of the city and our one car was being used by my DH for work transportation. None of the neighbors was home during the day, and I couldn't go anywhere that I couldn't walk. Rexy wasn't talking, she was 2, and we hadn't yet gotten the Autism diagnosis. All I wanted to do was talk to my mom or one of my other mother-figure relatives. Sadly, my mother, my maternal grandmother, my paternal grandmother, and my great-grandmother - all important female figures in my life - are all dead now.

Ever since having my baby I have been feeling those losses more strongly than I have since the initial losses. Especially my maternal grandmother.

When she was still a small infant, Rexy used to look up as if she were really looking at someone and babble away in baby talk to the air. As if someone were playing with her. Maybe it's silly, but I started to feel like my mother and grandmother were there, watching us. Sometimes I would get that, "Look, did you see that?" feeling.

None of these pictures are actually of my mother or grandmothers, but they are representative of them. I remember my mom having that look, during the 60s - and she was always reading a book. My paternal grandmother and my great grandma always wore aprons and my maternal grandmother was always very stylish and wore bold jewelry and animal prints.

What I remember most about all of them is how much fun we had. They all loved to laugh and were very generous-hearted (weird phrase, but it works for me). Sitting around someone's table or living room, laughing and talking up a storm, are the memories that come to mind first.

What I regret most about their loss is that Rexy won't have a grandmother in her life. (My DH's mother is gone, too.) Mine were such an important part of my life. Still, they pass their legacy on. Their - and my - love of reading, late nights, creativity, and laughter is already showing up in Rexy. And my beautiful aunts and uncles, despite having their own families, try to fill in the gap.

I don't know if you can see it well enough, but behind the vellum on this last page is a piece of music, the words for which read "when I recall the love." It was just perfect for this project.

While writing this, I realized that this could be a very apt entry for Art Crusade # 15. As I said before - in a different way - family is home.

What about you? Where do you live, where are you from? Join the Art Crusade and share!


michelle ward said...

Laurie - thanks for sharing another post about home. I think we are all realizing, even though we knew it, that family and loved ones make a home, not the location. I'm sorry you have lost so many of your female mentors, and pray you have found new friends to fill that void. And about mourning the book you sold....time to make another! I'm sure it will just as powerful and sentimental since you have not lost any of those thoughts or memories. Do it for yourself!

Sherry said...

Laurie, thanks for visiting me at Abreast and that I could come and visit you here. I love your blog, I love your thinking, your speaks volumes.

Your thoughts on Rexy perhaps talking to your mother and grandmother...don't discount it. I believe it is true. Children are much more attuned to these things because they are innocent...we lose that as we grow and our innocence leaves us. Memories stay with us, love stays with us and shows itself in all it's forms.

Thank you also for the link to your friend's breast cancer blog..I will definitely check that out as well.

I'm glad to meet you and I know I will return here often.

Happy Hanukah and all the very best of the season to you.

gaby said...

Nice to meet you, at this webworld. Your work is stunning and I wish all the best for 2008. Thank you for all the pretty Chanukah pics.

Mrs. Staggs said...

Hi Laurie,

Your book is beautiful. I wish you had kept it too. I hope that you will print this post and save it in a safe place, for Rexy.
My grandma and my great aunts were the foundation of our big extended family. The last of them passed away this year. I felt that deeply. My mom is gone too. She loved Christmas, so I miss her especially, this time of year.
I think you express yourself very well, both visually and with words.
If I don't see you soon, I wish you and your family a happy Christmas.

Take care,


Have a wonderful Christmas, Laurie!!

Hugs, Teresa

Shabby Cottage Studio said...

LAurie as always I love your work but I adore that book! I remember well enough that feeling of "not knowing" and it now these days I can see that it was good.

I stopped by to give you Warm Holiday Wishes. May your year end in joy and happiness. And may your next year be blessed in rich creativity and prosperity.

Jodi Barone said...

Dear sweet loudlife.....I am so glad you further shared your work! I loved seeing your and your family's picture on the map; it is clear that you are tremendously loved by your husband, daughter and the beautiful spirits around you. I too raise my children without a mother or grandmothers. I strangely attribute all of my eccentric maternal behavior to this fact....I don't think the fun loving spirits around me mind one bit.
Fondly, Fondly.....jodi

Jo Anne Owens said...

Hi Laurie! I loved looking at the photos of your accordian book and reading your thoughts about your family...this time of year is for reliving old memories and it is what makes me sad for those who are gone, but also makes me smile for the memories I have of them. I wish for you a time of fun memories this Holiday Season!

Ariel Gill said...

Joyous and Gentle Days to you as we wind down this year. And thank you for the wonderful post. You have inspired me to create a small book honoring those people that I miss the most. What a great idea. Thank you.

Gina2424 said...

Happy Holidays, Laurie. What a touching post. I am enjoying your art and poetry on artists and poets now too!

Gina2424 said...

I mentioned it before, so I don't want to be pushy, but if you don't know Kari of artsymama, you should visit. She has an autistic child about Rexy's age. I don't think she is active in ZNE but I see her on Flickr, etsy, and some of her stuff has been in Romantic Homes.

Bernice said...

Thank you Laurie for suggesting I come read your blog and see your beautiful touching book.
Your wonderful memories will always be with you to pass along to your precious Rexy.
I lost my Mother when I was 17 and remember when my child was born how many times I wanted to ask her what to do.
Make another book Laurie and keep it for Rexy.
I made one for my child but she passed away too young to enjoy the truth between those pages.
Make it for yourself, I feel it would be a comfort to have it near you.