Making Choices

Here are all the notebooks from twenty some years of art group ready to go in the hole. The grave digger stopped by the other day and we picked the spot. Now I just wait for the window washers to come and go next week and bundle up the dioramas to pile up outside.

The studio is looking more organized.

Now all my wood blocks are in one place and closer to my press. The only Curiosity Box I kept is the tall one on a pedestal leaning against the wall.

Before the Expedition to Elsewhere work I spent a few years making these boxes. I did research on the origins of “collecting”.  All but this one box was either sold or donated to art auctions at Penland or Arrowmont. The following is my artist statement when they were exhibited.

Curiosity Cabinets

Artist Statement

I like to think of these boxes and the accompanying painting as “theaters of memory”.  They are staged presentations of the small things we collect.……things that require further inspection. So we bring them home, tuck them into drawers, place on shelves or discover in pockets. These pieces are my way of honoring the things I found irresistible at one time or another.

Each box has its theme set with the background of an inked collograph made on an etching press and cut to fit. Compartments are constructed within the box to fit not only the collected items but handmade books, hidden drawings and watercolors. Some things are removable, some are not. There is just enough space left for the owner to add a bit of their own collection.

You are seeing the last of mine.

Sandy Webster

I included my bibliography.

Suggested readings on the subject of collections:

To Have and to Hold by Philipp Blom

The Hummingbird Cabinet: a rare and curious history of romantic collectors by Judith Pascoe

On Longing: narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection by Susan Stewart

Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder by Lawrence Weschler

The one I kept is second from right middle row.

Philipp Blom said, “The objects in a collection connect us with something far away.” I really love his book and still have it.

Susan Stewart said, “The collections’ space must move between the public and the private, between display and hiding.” And I still have her dog-eared book.

So in the sorting and cleaning of the studio and trying to decide what my situation can handle in the way of “making” I have chosen more papers and fabric scraps and threads. And paints and prints.

All will be sewn in bits and pieces to small contact print papers that frankly are less than exciting but somehow at the time were “wonderful”.

I plan to work on small collages of scraps of things. Nothing too large. I want to use up the few frames that I have left for them or for new wood block/linoleum prints.

And make more tiny white line prints using hand made watercolors in the stitched pieces.

I liked adding the bits and pieces a few years ago so would like to return to it because it is something I can do upstairs sitting with Lee.

So I have gathered up the parts and made a place for them next to my seat in the den. There is something very soothing about holding them together and then moving them around to just the right arrangement. It is a very tiny way to keep order in my life.

Keeping things simple is where I am now. Here are some things that I came up with to help with that:

When removing the kitchen garbage bag, make sure to put several more in the bin before opening up the new one.

Lay out Lee’s underwear before going to the gym so when he takes his shower they are right there and I don’t return to find him still searching for them.

Fill the sink with soapy water right before serving dinner and put the cooking things in. Finish eating first so you can get the rest washed and dried so that you both leave the kitchen at the same time. (My kids used to get aggravated because I was always hovering over them to grab their plate, but all that practice has paid off.)

Make sure that you can find everything at all times. Be the one to take it out and be the one to put it back.

Keep bills paid in advance when possible and make sure that there is cash on hand in a hidden place.

And just yesterday I treated myself and the cleaning lady by ordering a brand new vacuum cleaner for downstairs. I simply can’t carry the upstairs one down and back and the cleaning lady would like not to.

Today is our day to meet a friend for lunch at the brewery and I am taking her granddaughter some fabrics for her and her friends to sew pincushions when she returns home. Bravo for them!


Til later.