I’m crouching down on my knees, looking back and forth from the ‘canvas’ on the floor in front of me to a scattered pile of colored paper clippings and magazine cut-outs off to the side. Each of these little shreds of paper seem precious. In fact, I carried an envelope filled with them back with me from my recent trip to Belgium. If I find one left behind on the carpet after cleaning up, I pick it up gently and put it back in the pile. Who knows where it’s intended to go in the future?
Today, I’ve just finished ‘mid-wifing’ a birth. This thing has a life of it’s own. I’m just assisting, putting puzzle pieces together, like it’s already been prepared and my job is to figure out where they all go. It’s FUN.
Lately I’ve been copying things I like from the masters. Each time I learn something. Isn’t that how artists start? We certainly don’t create in a vacuum. I take something I like and add something new. Steal like an artist! My new baby (on the right) is inspired by one of my favorite artists, Henri Matisse. His later work was done from bed, where his primary tools were scissors and brilliant colored paper. This one (above, left) was done in 1951, the year I was born. I copied some of his cutouts almost exactly. Can you see which ones? Do you think Matisse would like the way I used his shapes? I’m sorry I can’t ask him, but I think he would.
This is my very first paper project from 2013. The one on the left was tacked to the wall in our bathroom in Belgium, where it looked really nice. However, when I saw it again on my recent visit, I couldn’t bear to leave it behind, so I rolled it up and brought it back (no small task cuz it’s pretty big.) I added a border to fit the frame. Better? Worse? I’m not sure. They’re different!
This one (above) is still hanging in the living room in Liege. It was too fragile to move. My second paper cut-out project, it came at a period when I was immersed in all things Pucci.
The idea for Rice Bowl must have originated somewhere in Korea while I was there. The wallpaper sample had an oriental look, and the rest just happened. Looking at it I can recall sitting in a cozy Korean ‘Chuk’ restaurant, playing with my chopsticks, listening to Asian music and savoring the taste of red pepper paste.
WONDER WOMAN: a piece of black construction paper and a pair of scissors in my hand, I was wondering what to do for a design project that week. I had no conscious ideas until I saw her. She seemed to create herself.
She didn’t hesitate to jump up and ask for a photo shoot. I had to scramble around to satisfy her. She was all energy and dragged me around the house in a flurry of excitement.
I like the creative process best when I don’t get into second-guessing. When I’m in the flow, I don’t even have to ask myself, ‘What am I creating?’ I just get down close and watch. The focus is deep, relaxing, and energized, and like wonder woman, I’m all over the place and so is the stuff on the floor. It’s a visual, organic experience. That part is what I really like~ there’s very little rational or mental work going on. From the GUT is where the baby comes. I’m discovering her as she develops. I have no idea what she’s going to look like, or when she’s going to say, “I’m done!” I often feel like an innocent bystander clapping my hands when it’s all over shouting, “Wow! Oh, wow!”
These are my babies, and I love them, but it’s not like I can say I created them. Yes, I put in some raw ingredients. In the case of my daughter, I put in my egg, my husband put in his sperm, and then we sat back and watched as a baby took shape. When she finally appeared, we said, ‘Wow! Incredible! Who are YOU? Where did YOU come from? You’re not like anything we’ve ever seen. You’re one of a kind, that’s for sure, and you’re absolutely beautiful! We love you!’
It was great to make a wall hanging that reminds me what’s important, what makes me happy. I took a picture of this one before leaving Belgium, so I can make another one now that I’m in back in the States.
I’m going to run out today and look for another frame. With a frame in front of me, at least I know what size the next baby’s going to be. Everything else will be a surprise.