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Posts Tagged ‘Found Art’

Artist Mother 2

She steals away an hour, to hover over fragments of pages, torn from one form to be made into another.

A twinge of guilt runs through from her gut to her head. She should be tending to the sink full of dishes. She should be sitting with children as they play.

But the insatiable urge is there, compelled to create. Not for the world to see, but for sanity’s sake. This way, she can reach all the corners of her mind.

Clutter and chaos give way to pattern and form. Last week’s unfinished business flows perfectly into tomorrow’s plans. There are just enough cracks left to let slivers of light stream through.

It is tempting to rush, but the children play quietly just long enough. The phone remains quiet. The dishes stay put in the sink.

She lingers a moment over her work, yet unfinished, but just enough for today.



For those who don’t know, one of my pathways to sound thought and sane behavior is through making collages. There is something sacred to me about taking an object or an image that has had a specific purpose, and reshaping it into an entirely new form of expression. This poem is about an hour I spent on a Sunday afternoon working on a collage piece using a few pages from one of my daughter’s old math workbooks. 

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Artist Mother

I wish I could capture all of it, that a sort of memory existed where I could save every blasted moment:

The pinkish haze of the colored twinkle lights that illuminate the living room from the scrawny potted cypress leaning under the weight of sentimental ornaments.
The low rumble of the wood stove as embers of pine and pecan radiate ominous, oppressive warmth.
The unbearable anticipation of the greatness of my husband, as he sleeps off this latest illness. Do I have enough faith not to care whether he succeeds or fails?
The way I love him even when he disappoints me, and especially when he surprises me.
The littlest one on the bottom bunk in a nest of blankets, snuggled under a canopy made from monkeys and gauzy scarves dangling from the slats above.
The bigger one with her long legs sprawled over the railings up top, the mystery of what she has yet to know escaping in sleep-drunk proclamations from her dreams.
The way they both seem to grow before my eyes, how every day they seem to know more.

And in the cupboards, in the closets, in drawers and baskets and boxes, all the projects waiting silent and impatient…for this too shall pass.
“Shape me! Sculpt me!” Brushes, paints, paste, paper, metal and fiber beckon from their exile.
“Later,” I murmur. Then I declare more firmly, “Not now!”
But there is only now, I know.
So I force myself towards sleep, disregarding all the nearly forgotten brilliance I embodied just an hour ago as I gazed at the bathroom mirror.
And every day I seem to know less.

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Love is…

I’m trying something new on this blog tonight.

I like to write. But I also like to make art. Collages mostly. I have some rules for myself about my collages: The materials cannot be new, other than paintbrushes and glue and fasteners of other sorts (like screws or wire…I’ll share photos of some of my metal collages some time soon). The only place I will buy materials is at the thrift store, and generally the items cannot cost more than $2. Every once in a while I allow myself a splurge. Otherwise, all materials are strictly free.

And so, I wind up making art out of things that most people would throw away, or objects that would be left laying on the ground in a parking lot, on a sidewalk, or along the dirt roads of southern GA. One day I was standing outside of Koinonia’s laundry room talking with Sally Ann. We both noticed a scrap of metal laying on the ground. I picked it up and she offered to throw it away for me. “Oh no,” I responded. “I’ll save it for my art.” She shook her head and waved her hands at me in exasperation. “Good Lord, Sarah!” Some of the folks from around here don’t know what to make of my fascination with other people’s trash.

The piece that follows is a gift for my friend Elizabeth. She is struggling with depression right now, and so as I worked I prayed for healing for her spirit. She also spends lots of time with my kids, and so I love the way that the word childhood played into the piece. It started with a poem from a little booklet I found in some things a former Koinonia member left behind. The book was filled with cliched poems about God and cheesy little prayers. The one I used was entitled “Love is…” and was inspired by 1 Corinthians 13. I also have a mini Gideon Bible that has a torn cover (my girls nearly destroyed it while playing with some friends one day) and so I like to use passages from this damaged volume. I find it interesting that the Gideons decided to use the word “charity” instead of “love” in their translation. The frames were half price at Goodwill, and the images came from a second-hand book about exotic goldfish.

So, without further ado, here are some photos of my handiwork. You can click on the images to see the detail in greater focus.

Remember that God is love, and Love is…all you need! I hope in this new year that you are filled with inspiration and wonder. Happy 2010!

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