Welcome to MissouriBendStudio!

This is an online journal of my artistic investigations and a way to communicate about my work, ideas, quandries and queries! I welcome comments and conversation and do hope you enjoy these musings. My artwork is available in my shop MissouriBendStudio on Etsy.com or on my website.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

We Are All Historians

Hi everyone! I have some catching up to do here since my last post!  Hope everyone enjoyed meeting and seeing the work of Christine Mauersberger in the March 1st Inspirations segment.  After I posted that we dashed off to Omaha for a weekend of festivities connected with the opening at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art where I had a couple pieces in the Regional Juried Exhibition. It was a very interesting show, with a wonderful variety of work.  The opening was Friday and Saturday at noon we attended the juror's talk, which really amounted to many of the artists talking about their work....we were fortunate there were so many of the artists who had traveled to be there. As usual, I become tongue-tied when trying to talk about my work, as there are so many ideas, so many layers, it's hard to know where to start, what to include and what to leave out. Great experience though, hearing from so many of the artists! You can see many of the pieces from the exhibition here.

Now, I'll get to the topic that led to the title of this post, which is the subject of letter writing....the lost art of correspondence. It's something that's been on my mind a lot the last couple of weeks, since I began reading As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child & Avis DeVoto which has me enthralled.  I picked the book up casually to glance through it at the small community library where I began a very part-time job some weeks ago. I was transfixed, not only by the actual correspondence between these two women, but by the sheer fact that the chance beginning of the letters that went back and forth shaped history. I won't go into the story, which you can read about by following the link. What I find fascinating is to know that this somewhat chance encounter that led to a deep, abiding friendship, at first through letters, was instrumental in creating Julia Child as a household name through the country. It's also quite interesting to be reminded, in many ways, that for all the changes in the world, well, much remains the same.....reading about the political climate in the 1950s from those living through it feels something like looking at our times through a fun-house mirror!

But just beneath the level of fascination, I felt an immense emptiness as I pondered the fact that we no longer write actual letters....there is no paper trail, to be saved and archived, that tells the story of our days, the history of our lives and how the events of the twenty-first century are slowly transforming us. And also, to be sure, how we play a part in the course of history, as we live out our lives day to day. Where will the future historians turn for the "stuff" that tells the story, the daily lives and the relationships of men and women everywhere? We are certainly quick to write an e-mail, but we are in a hurry and we don't elaborate. And will we save them as we once did letters? Texting....I haven't gone there yet and don't plan to....I still prefer to speak in sentences....or at least, sentence fragments! Is it the blogs, certainly a source of material....but will they last? I lament the loss of true correspondence--the thoughtful paragraphs, expounding on ideas, events, joys and sorrows....the materiality of paper and pen or typewritten text. We don't have the time for it and surely we can't stand the thought of waiting for days for the letter to be received and even longer for the response to be returned to us....unbearable lengths of time! 

And so. I'm reminded of the notion of writing and how it has cropped up in my own work, often in the form of something illegible that only points to handwriting, as in these snippets from a piece in progress.
I'm interested now in investigating more letters, that is, reading more correspondence....what a fascinating way to read history....it's the next best thing to being there. But I'm now ready for my own work to go farther and not just point to writing but actually incorporate the text...we'll see where this leads. 

The other piece to this story is the notion that we are all historians and I think that is the underlying sentiment behind the daily drawings....a documentation of the day. This day, I lived, I made this little drawing in commemoration of all the pleasures and frustrations of the fleeting moments in my small corner of the universe. Even that is not enough...

March 6, 2012

March 5, 2012

March 4, 2012

March 3, 2012

March 2, 2012

March 1, 2012

February 29, 2012

These are the drawings since I last posted them....please visit MissouriBendMusings to see more views and the rest dating back to mid-January! And do keep an eye out, for the unfolding of days....and do pay attention to the moments of your life....they are your history and just as importantly, they are part of the history of those in your ever expanding circle of relationships. Thanks so much for being part of my circle!



  1. what a beautiful
    and touching post...
    I grew up in Omaha
    actually today
    that I went to grad school
    with Christine's husband George
    odd and strangely
    a cold day
    cyber learning...

    your lovely dailies
    have inspired me
    time and again

    thanks so much...

    xox - eb.

  2. eb....what a fascinating bit of synchronicity...the Omaha connection as well as knowing George. The cliche is often so apt, that it is a small world and perhaps we all really do live just across the street from each other! So glad my dailies are meaningful to you....that is a lift to my spirits! Thank you so much for your kind words here!

  3. A Patti - letters, text, writing, pages, books all of my loves! There is always something mysterious about indecipherable text or the suggestion of text and meaning; but something lovely about real text as well! I occasionally still write handwritten letters; more often I type letters but mostly its emails...and I do love texting - so swift and easy! My mum texts now! I look forward to the next steps in this discovery journey - and am loving your dailies as ever. Go well.

    1. Fiona....you are definitely about text....the beauty of all things legible and illegible! I suppose if I felt the need to text someone, I'd be more prone to do it, but bravo to your mother for being so hip!! Yes, the email letter is definitely what happens, but it does often mean that people keep in touch more easily....something to be said for every form of communication I"m sure! Thanks so much for your wonderful support of the dailies!

  4. Lovely post. I also love to see what you're doing daily, it's a reminder in itself to be aware of every day. On another note, I'm picking up the Julia book tomorrow at the library. Love hearing about good non-fiction.

    1. Thank you!! I love that the daily drawings are resonating in some way with people....that makes them mean even more to me! Do hope you enjoy the Julia book....I find it fascinating to watch the relationship build and the history unfold. I mentioned a few weeks back another book that I recommend HIGHLY....The Hare With Amber Eyes....check that out too and let me know what you think! Cheers and thanks for taking time to comment!

  5. After looking at your daily teabag drawings, especially the earlier ones, an artist called Julius Bissier came to mind - his work has some of the qualities of Morandi, but ... different!

  6. ...and also the etchings of Ben Nicholson, especially the still lifes using the same group of objects, some of them passed down from his father, who was also a painter ...

    1. Margaret, thanks so much for these comments and suggestions. I'll be sure to look up Julius Bissier...and I know Ben Nicholson's work somewhat, but will also take another look to see the the connections. I dearly love Morandi and the use of every day objects. Thank you again for giving the work such thoughtful consideration!

  7. Patti, any time you want to start up a genuine correspondence, I'm your girl! I miss writing letters. Back when I was in grade school a friend and I carried on a regular exchange of long letters - and we lived on the same block and attended the same school! We just loved everything about letters, the paper, the type, the embellishments, as much fun to send as to receive.

    Nowadays it seems we have more desire and more methods than ever to record and send information but the richness and depth of communication is lost.

    There was a time when I loved reading old literary correspondence. Can you imagine if all that survived of some of those friendships between the great artists and thinkers of past centuries was a file full of rushed emails punctuated by emoticons?

    Loved this post!

    1. G.....I am finding myself drawn to reading books of letters....what it reveals about relationships, human emotions, etc. You are right....we have so many means at our disposal to exchange information, but it is often quick and without the richness of written correspondence! We are on the same page....pun intended!


I'm happy to hear from you...comments and questions are welcome!