I know I am a little late to the party on this one (how did I not know about this?) but Austin folks, you are in for a treat! Our friends at Recspec Gallery have curated a group show featuring new interpretations of the long-standing tradition of the bookplate. EX LIBRIS is a collection highlighting the work of 22 artists, and will be on display through June 9th, 2018.
Archive of ‘art’ category
We’re big fans of the work The Creeping Museum does, both their supporting of artists and the arts, as well as their giving back to the community through their efforts. Read more about past Creeping Museum exhibits and shows here, here, and, here.
The artist herself will be in attendance at the Garden of Grief installation, to talk about her work–which focuses on the ongoing themes of loss and mourning, intertwined with the compulsion to protect the relics left behind by the dead. Additionally, Megan Devine, author of It’s OK That You’re Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture that Doesn’t Understand and Coleman Stevenson, creator of the Dark Exact Tarot and author of Breakfast: 43 Poems, will be attending the event for a special “Porch Salon” conversation about grief as it relates to the themes of Rebecca’s art: Megan will be talking about the importance of sharing our stories of loss, and Coleman will be reading a poem inspired by Rebecca’s work.
If you’re in Portland tomorrow night, I can think of no better plans than to stop by and see Rebecca’s beautiful, heart-snaring works, and to listen to the artist and the various guests share their experiences and stories. And if you do, fill me in, for I wish I could be there with you!
I am excited to announce that Unquiet Things will be featuring an in-depth interview with Rebecca Reeves later this autumn, so please remember to check back at that time! Until then, fill your eyes with her hauntingly thought provoking art at tomorrow’s Garden Of Grief.
The heart wants what it wants, and sometimes it makes spontaneous decisions to purchase something kinda weird that it has been subconsciously been looking for, for a very long time.
To back up, just a bit: it’s true that instagram can be kind of not great for me (and my wallet); I’m always finding beautiful jewelry or makeup or other frivolities to fall in love with, and with which I desperately desire to fill my greedy hands. But then, when I peek over to see what @phantasmaphile (the luminous witch and wise woman Pam Grossman) is up to, I am always reminded of the things my heart wants….and these things usually have nothing at all do to with that itchy need to continuously fill my hands and closets and shelves with more More MORE.
This thing in particular, if you go by Amazon’s listing, is a “Dewi Rice Goddess Flying Hanging Mermaid Lady“, and I remember seeing their weird, wild likenesses flying from the ceilings of a store in St. Augustine, Florida thirty years ago. I’m sure I didn’t have the money to pay for one at the time, and I probably couldn’t have articulated to my grandparents why I even wanted it, I just knew that it looked beautiful, felt magical, and belonged close to me. I had forgotten all about it, or so I thought, until I saw a little carved wooden lady in one of @phantasmaphile’s instagram stories earlier this week. Her unblinking, expectant gaze immediately sparked this recollection for me, and over the next few hours my mind drifted back in time, to when I was eleven years old, wandering idly through a gift shop, trying not to break anything, and finally settling upon the first time I locked eyes with this representation of something far older and more wondrous than the tourist baubles I had expected to find.
What Pam shared in her instagram stories wasn’t the same exact thing I held dear in my memory, and I wasn’t even sure how to go looking for it. However, my Google search for “carved wooden mermaid flying goddess” eventually lead me to this Dewi rice goddess, and to be quite honest, I am not even sure if this if she is the right one. I think the flying mermaid goddess in my memory held a mirror and a comb, and now that I look again, I think mayhaps I purchased the wrong one. Too late to second guess now!
Well, but I mean, really, is it? I could always get her a friend…
Dewi Sri is the Balinese goddess of rice and prosperity and is believed to have dominion over the underworld and the Moon. I am not sure where or how she becomes a mermaid or a winged creature, but hey, she’s a goddess. They do what they want.
It’s a funny thing when you set out to track down and procure for yourself the things that have been haunting your dreams for over half your life, isn’t it? Are they at all the way we’ve perceived them when we finally get them? My goddess’ wing is not cut the right size for her wing slot, and so it sits a little crooked. I suppose that gives her a jaunty sort of charm. She seems to think so, if her arch smile is any indication. And she may already be bringing bringing me prosperity! She arrived yesterday, and just today we finally closed on the sale of my late grandparent’s house. Coincidence? Well…it was scheduled before I even ordered her.
What does your heart remember, and long for through the years? Did you eventually receive it/retrieve it, and was it all you had dreamed?
I don’t think I have the words available to share with you my intense delight regarding the arrival of the newest member of my ghoulish menagerie, brought to uncanny life by the wonderfully talented hands of Han of Handsome Devils Puppets. But I am going to give it a try….
I have long loved the writings of Sei Shōnagon: her elegant lists, her acerbic observations, her beautifully intimate and wonderfully catty diaries–all of her anecdotes and opinions and inner dialogue, from the excruciating minutiae of everyday life, to the exquisite poetry she composed connecting and expanding these trifling, fragmented instances to the broader aspects of lived human experience; these strangely random and tangential stories have informed and inspired my own writings for many, many years now.
Translator Meredith McKinney writes in her intro notes to her translation of Shōnagon’s infamous Pillow Book, “she so engages us because she engages *with* us, we meet her eyes across 1000 years,” and I think that assessment of her ability to connect with us, now, today, through vast stretches of time–a totally different time than that in which she lived– is so eerily and excellently spot-on.
Sometimes, though, I can’t meet my own eyes in the mirror after reading a selection from The Pillow Book. McKinney further writes of the “spontaneity and intimacy” of Shōnagon’s writing, that “…draws the reader into a warm complicity, even when we find ourselves appalled at her frequent snobbery and occasional cruelty.” Shōnagon is basically a Heian era Mean Girl blogger, you know? And as someone who considers themselves to be “a very super nice person”–probably too nice for their own good– it is this mean streak that appears throughout her beautiful, clever writings that fascinates me endlessly.
Is that weird? I don’t understand the mindset of the mean. Except…I suppose…when I do. I can be rather scathing in my own thoughts about something I didn’t enjoy, or someone I don’t care for, and I must often remind myself that while cleverness is an admirable trait, cleverness can often come at the expense of kindness…and even if I didn’t say whatever means-spirited thing aloud, I still thought it. Or wrote it. Even if no one saw it.
And perhaps Shonagon thought that her writings, her pillow book, would never see the light of day? I don’t know. So while I started this rumination up on my high horse, with the statement that I find such cruelty and unkind thoughts alien to my personality…perhaps in exploring it a little, Sei Shōnagon and I are more alike than I would care to admit, and it is less a fascination with behavior foreign to me, and more that I am recognizing a kinship.
There’s not a great deal of imagery to be found with regard to Sei Shōnagon, and so we took some liberty with her appearance, adding some subtle, gothy touches to her sweeping robes, instead of what otherwise might have been a more brightly colored ensemble. I think she is utterly, gloriously perfect, from her lips and brows and inky cascade of hair, to the tips of her tabi-socked, be-sandaled feet, I am awestruck at the thought and research and inventiveness that went into her creation.
Shōnagon wrote of “Things That Make One’s Heart Beat Faster”, and the rare beauty of this marvelous, hand-sculpted, one-of-a-kind piece of art is most certainly at the top of my list of such things. Thank you, Han. She is amazing, in the truest sense of the word.
In the course of a conversation with my baby sister sometime this past week, I confessed that when this business with my grandparents’ estate is over, my grand plan was to fake my own death and run away forever. I was only half kidding.
This is going to come off as a all bunch of whinging and hand-wringing, but I tell you what–I am tired. I took care of their bills and banking and a great many aspects of their business during the last few years of their lives–as well as the day to day maintenance of their actual lives outside of finance-related things, at least for a while before we got some extra help…and yet, my grandmother has been gone for over a year now, but I still can’t seem to extricate myself from all of it it. They had a will, they had their bank accounts put into a trust, so with all that in place, you wouldn’t think there would be so many loose ends and that it all would be such a pain, but who knows, probably because I am an idiot and didn’t do something just so, this probate and estate situation is really dragging out. We’re also trying to sell their house, and the buyers keep backing out and the one we’ve finally got needs all of these repairs done because it’s some kind of a VA loan…so, as personal representative, I’ve got calls with lawyers, realtors, contractors, insurance people and I am sure I don’t have to tell you how stressful and anxiety inducing I find all of this. I just want this all to be over. I can’t properly mourn my beloved Mawga and Boppa, not really. Not with all of this still hanging over my head. Sometimes I feel like I’ve been doing this forever and there is no end in sight.
So yes, I want to be done with responsibilities. With obligations. With meetings and phone calls and relaying information back and forth and second guessing my every decision and feeling like a failure because I’m not doing it right, not doing it timely enough, not doing it the way someone else might have done it. I want to walk away and never look back and never ever have to think about this again. Faking my own death and running away to be a hermit in the mountains, without another human being (or a telephone) for hundreds of miles around, sounds super appealing to me right now. I want to disappear so that they’ll never find me.
It was with a head heavy and churning with these sorts of thoughts that I discovered the photography of Rosie Anne Prosser via her flickr account late last night. A photographer and storyteller who describes herself as a “Mountain Goat raised in The Black Mountains”, her melancholic landscapes of lonely cliffs, secluded thickets and remote paths, the focal point a lone figure, cloaked in mists and shadows with her back to both the camera and the viewer, enigmatically, introspectively, and perhaps even a bit defiantly gazing off to somewhere else, entirely…
Well, I’m having a hard time articulating how it made me feel. It was just one of those serendipitous moments when you find something you needed to see, just when you needed to see it. Each and every image tugged at my heart and seemed to echo back to me everything that I am feeling right now, and my soul whispered to me in a language tinged with both misery and hope, “I want to go to there.” I don’t know that I can say more than that.
For now, though, you can tell them that I was last seen climbing into these photos. I will be immersing myself in solitude, silence, and still, sunless days. Please don’t try to find me.
I only learned about the Pirelli Calendar just this year, so I hesitate to refer to it as something along the lines of “a hoary old institution” ….but when researching a small feature for Haute Macabre this week about their current 2018 all-star, all-black cast, I saw several decades worth of white faces and white bodies gracing the publication over previous years. I then realize that the last time the calendar had an all-black ensemble was in 1987. That’s 30+ years ago. Yikes.
Photographer Tim Walker and stylist Edward Enninful (British Vogue’s first black editor in chief) envisioned for 2018 a new and different take on Lewis Carroll’s classic tale, Through The Looking Glass, and they have given it a vibrant, powerful new treatment entirely populated by beautiful black models, musicians, and activists who cavort and contort through the story’s madcap, marvelous world.
See more over at Haute Macabre this week:
This week at Haute Macabre: an extensive interview with Adrienne Rozzi of Poison Apple Printshop, wherein we discuss her art and its inspirations, as well as, her great passion for knowledge and truth. It’s rare when the subject of your interview actually makes *you* feel special and amazing, but Adrienne is one such rare, remarkable soul.
Thank you for your candor and your genuine, generous nature, Adrienne.
If I’m being honest, my soul is forever dying slowly due to the fact that I am not living in Portland where so many friends and talented people and wonderful things reside… but my not being local to the area is causing me extreme suffering today, as there is something very special happening that I cannot attend!
The Creeping Museum, whom I’ve written of at Unquiet Things previously and whose creative vision I respect tremendously, is the labor of love conceived between two friends in North Portland, whose mission is to help artists and independent creators give back to their communities by turning their strange and unusual work into tiny pieces of affordable art, for which to support wonderfully worthy causes. And right now they are gearing up to introduce a new project that I think will resonate on some very heart-deep levels with so many of us.
Tonight, Thursday, February 15th at 7PM, at their Little Free Library in North Portland, The Creeping Museum will present an opening celebration for The Haunted Menagerie: A Celebration of Spirit Familiars and Ghostly Pets which will include a miniature group show featuring original artwork as well as an artist bookplate(!!)“exhibition”–and oh, how I wish I could be be present to see all of it! Please go in my stead and take lots of photos and beautiful selfies with the enchanting art and the brilliant minds who pulled it all together, ok?
The bookplate collection will benefit the Portland Audubon Society and includes art by the following artists: Layla Sullivan, Amy Earles, Benjamin Dewey, Marybel Martin, Becky Munich, Pantovola, Christa Dippel, Canvas Menagerie, Hidden Velvet, Alex Reisfar.
The group show in the miniature gallery will include original art by the following artists, and the proceeds from the sale of each piece will go to the nonprofit of the artist’s choice.
– Dena Seiferling
– Darla Jackson
– Stephanie Buscema
– Jenny Fontana
– Diane Irvine Armitage
– Joe Vollan
– Gretchen Lewis
Next week-ish, or sometime thereabouts as I understand it, The Creeping Museum will have a shop update with all sorts of magical items and spells and wonderment related to The Haunted Menagerie concept. I will be writing about it at length over at Haute Macabre, and will be certain to share all of the wonderful details and secrets at that time!
In the meantime, I have been granted a tiny sneak peek of some of the beautiful bookplates and have permission to share them with you…
Needle craft is, unfortunately, not a finger-busying pastime that I have yet taken up. After talking with Elsa Olssen, aka Fevernest, and ardently gazing at her eerie, elegant creations however, it has become an urgent priority!
Elsa graciously answered a few of my questions for an interview over at Haute Macabre today; do take a peek if you are as feverishly obsessed with her designs as I am.
(And if you’re thinking that one of her framed works features in the piece looks familiar, well, you’d be correct! I purchased it for myself back in early autumn, and it graces my shelf along with some other treasures from beloved artists!)
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