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.


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A Cacophony of Voices

After a major studio overhaul and spring cleaning, with everything rearranged and viewed from a new vantage point, it seems time to take stock and reevaluate. Which starts a process of rethinking everything! And though there doesn't appear to be anyone else in the room here, I swear there is a cacophony of voices all speaking at once and I cannot hear myself think!!! Do you know that feeling?  

Staring at me are all 190 pieces from MissouriBendStudio, which are piled on the raised surface in the middle of the tables. They represent much of the work from the past several years, but I sense a new direction is in the air. Well, perhaps not a new direction, but a new more coordinated strategy for placing the work into loving homes out in the world....which is really what I want to see happen to these pieces.

I'm looking for my own "never entered path" as I move forward. Between our loved ones, countless websites and gurus, there are a multitude of well meaning voices with bits of advice for each of us. But, I believe the secret for finding our own path is inside us. However, that requires careful listening and watching, as well as being in the moment, so we don't miss the insights when they arrive....for they often slip quietly through the back door when we've got our eyes glued to the front.

"Whatever it is you're seeking won't come in the form you're expecting." -- Haruki Murakami


Friday, April 21, 2017

Rearrangement of Memories and The Essence of Home

Greetings from the Missouri River, where spring is in full swing! I know because after my initial foray into the garden beds, I have my first case of poison ivy of the season...alas. While it felt good at the time to clear all the debris and to watch the day lilies and irises grow a couple of inches a day (it appeared), I am now paying the price. I'm sure this will only be the first of many bouts of the rash this spring and summer.

Actually, most of the time since my last post has been spent in the studio, in what started to be a simple rearrangement of the furniture and turned into a major spring cleaning and overhaul. There were days when I was overwhelmed by the amount of stuff I'd accumulated and an extreme longing to be free of the weight of it. Unfinished drawings, finished pieces that had been relegated to the purgatory pile of failed drawing projects, mounds of cut up bits of drawings that might one day be good for something, not to mention pounds of postcards from far flung places, museum visits, and exhibition announcements. Books, books and more books....doo dads, tiny souvenirs from memories I can't quite recollect, beads, push pins, tubes of paint, bottles of ink, pencils and pens.....all the things that make a working studio a personal space....it was all moved hither and yon, from one pile to another....sorted and kept, tossed or recycled.

chaos unfolding

In the end, I managed to free myself of quite a bit of the weight of my own history, and that made me pause to consider. Or reconsider. I've always been of the mind that the objects we surround ourselves with....the items that we live with day after day...those things hold memories in some uncanny way, vessels of silent witness to our lives unfolding. They are the souvenirs of our experience. I've always attributed my inability to be a thrift store for more than a few moments without becoming antsy to the unbearable weight of those cast off memories that fill the space. And yet. As I freely flung many of those things I'd hung onto for decades into the trash (many of which were later pulled out by my husband), I had to wonder about my own philosophy. If those things held meaning, why was I finally so happy to be rid of so much of it? Do we, at some point, grow weary of carrying the relics of our years? I think we do, at least some of us, and I suppose I have arrived at that point.

some order returns

But, I also acknowledged my own belief that our memories are inside us, in our cells and our bones and the rushing blood that circulates throughout our bodies. In the same way that we have countless memorable meals, afterwards, we can never really recreate the actual sensory experience of that meal. Time is fleeting and the moment ephemeral. But that meal, both the nourishment of the food and the richness of the whole experience, has been transformed in a physical way into the body.  Our body is the vessel of memory. It becomes easier to let go of things. At least for me.

still, so many things

creating sanctuary

So, this morning, with the space pretty well situated,  I finally sat back down at my newly relocated desk, and began to work. I dug through the piles of drawing fragments (oh, still plenty left behind!) and sewed a little house collage...and thought about home. About the yearning we carry within us for home...the essence of home. But, I've rambled on long enough here....that's a subject for another day.

Enjoy your weekend! I'll be back again soon with notes from the field, so to speak.

Monday, April 10, 2017

A Delicate Balance

Despite the drop in the temperature (80 degrees just the other day) and the drizzling rain now turned to wet snow flurries, I was delighted to see the daffodils enjoying the spring weather! How can you not be cheered by these bright yellow flowers?

Spending my days in the studio lately, interspersed with computer time, as I navigate the best ways to promote Missouri Bend Studio and our new venture, The Art Filled Home. I am making works for both shops, and observing how the ways in which I approach the pieces overlap and inform one another.  Those of you who are familiar with my work know that I love the repetitive mark, dots and lines over and over to create rhythm and pattern....a way to give voice to the passage of time and being in the moment.

I am drawn to the richness of pattern, but also the quiet elegance of an unadorned cup alone on a shelf....one handmade object imbued with the story of its own creation, the hand of its maker and the unfolding of days.  The piece above and the one below are part of the ongoing series of what I think of as diary drawings....small 8" x 6" pieces that seek to highlight the people who have lived out their lives in quiet anonymity.

While Missouri Bend Studio and The Art Filled Home are separate ventures, at their core, they spring from the same source...and yet, I sometimes struggle with figuring out how to hold the creative process for each in balance. It feels something like trying to get your eyes to bring one thing into focus when you are suffering from a sudden onset of double vision. 

Since The Art Filled Home is based on a collaborative premise, in those works I am responding to the layers of silkscreen printed pattern laid down by Johntimothy. But as I start from a place outside myself, which is the color and pattern in front of me, I've sensed myself being a bit too reserved with those, slightly too careful and restrained. The creative process for work that is strictly my own, at least until this point, has been completely intuitive, bring the drawing out into the world from nothing but the mark of my own hand. It's just a bit different with the collaborative process and I'm finding it interesting to see how I respond. 

The piece for The Art Filled Home, below, is still in process, but I broke through my restraint and took the chance on responding to the work through the repetitive mark that is more familiar and somehow it felt more right. 

It's a delicate balance to endeavor to stretch yourself and grow, while remaining true to your own vision and aesthetic. And because I work back and forth on multiple pieces at a time....things are still a bit blurred. But....it is, after all, a continuing process of discovery. Feel free to head on over to the Etsy shop, The Art Filled Home, and be sure to keep up with the blog at TheArtFilledHome.com. 

The daily drawings are ongoing, so I'll share a few of my favorites in the next couple of days. In the meantime, hope you are having a good start to your week!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Out of the Ordinary

Greetings, friends! Johntimothy and I recently returned from a trip to New Orleans for my nephew's wedding. We had a wonderful little family reunion, complete with wedding festivities and some sightseeing in the French Quarter. I love this lovingly festooned tree above, which perfectly captures the spirit of the place. 

On the other hand, I was also captivated by the richness of the colors on the buildings up and down the avenues....I found myself mostly photographing color swatches!

Those colors, especially in combination, are good enough to eat! Now we are settling back in, reacquainting ourselves with the studio and watching our world slowly turn greener by the day. A sense of renewal is in the air and I eagerly await the longer daylight hours to relax outside on the front porch.

I'm adding some new pieces to the Missouri Bend Studio shop, as well as working on collaborative pieces for The Art Filled Home . My daily drawing practice was a bit sporadic last month, but I have gotten back to a steady balance and am making sure to make a drawing each day. 

Making these little 4x6" drawings is so rewarding on many levels.....it's always a surprise to see what happens on the page, as I have no idea what will emerge when I begin. But also, the drawings inform me, as if lifting the lid off something somehow just underneath the surface, hidden from view. This morning, as I made the drawing, I acknowledged the desire to go back to drawing small vessels.....cups, bowls....as they are a metaphor for so many things. I'll leave you with that thought and pick up with it in a few days....see you then.