More on the Scrapbook – More on Life

It has been a very busy last ten days. Two resident students were here to do work in the studio. All my time is given to their needs. They each have something that needs to be fixed into a visual form. We first met in a workshop several years ago and have continued here to meet in a place where I can push just enough and do the mundane work of cutting, drilling, gluing while they make the work. I am exhausted by the end of the day. What they each are going through in their lives spills out into my personal place of making. Whatever I am working on simply goes on hold while I give whatever I can to see their plans realized. Sometimes I need to listen more closely, sometimes I need to step in and prod them to move ahead. And sometimes I just need to pour more wine. The seriousness of how much their work matters can be draining but I would not have it any other way. It is the least I can do in the face of what they are going through.

But, after they were gone and the studio and apartment put back in order, I went back to my own life and the scrapbook of decades.

Here are a few details of some of them.

scrapbook third decade detail 2

This is part of a page that represents my twentys. I am married with two children and am so much about family, friends and the small town we lived in

scrapbook fourth decade detail

And the thirties. It is all about experiencing “craft”. It was such a fun time and somehow at that age one thinks it will be like this forever. Just sit and weave, make baskets and put beads on everything.

And then the forties….a move to North Carolina, the children on their own. I am returning to college to finish an undergraduate degree and start on my MFA. Craftsmanship gives way to idea driven work and accountability as an artist. Tough times with so much more thinking, so much more passion. And no more decorative beading.

Scrapbook fifth decade lo res

I like stitching on these pages. They are very raw in a way. Picking the bits and pieces that capture the essence of who and what I was for that decade is challenging. I know when the page is complete. I know when I say, “Yes, that is how it was”.

I have enough of them now to see how it feels to turn the pages and see the marks of the previous decade influencing how I view the next one. They have made me think about life and how lucky I am to be living long enough to work on an eighth decade for this scrapbook.

I also took time to work on an etching. Again trying to channel Rembrandt and his lines to make a tree.

gum tree etching pages

It is a plexiglass plate about five by six and one half inches. I am trying out two inks, a dark umber and a black with a bit of umber to warm it. Only ten prints pulled. I colored two of them with watercolors and found that they then became “illustrations”. Something out of Winnie the Pooh book. Not sure I liked that. The print suddenly needed a context, a narrative and of course more illustrations. And the uncolored ones just need signed and framed. Funny how that happened with just a bit of watercolor. I have two more images ready to etch and I will see how it goes with them.


brown gum tree etching

dark gum tree etching

colored etching of gum tree

But definitely I am thinking, no color and the darker ink.