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.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sticks and Stillness

Page from The Book of Broken Branches

Hope you are having a fine weekend...restful and rejuvenating!  We just got back from a lovely drive out in the country....bee line to the farm/orchard about a half an hour away from here, before they closed, to get fresh apples and a homemade apple pie and then a long meandering drive through the rolling farmland on the way back.  Such exqusitie color, subtle yellows and reds and the light in the blue-violet sky against the land at sunset was pretty breathtaking!

So now, here I am with a portrait of the little stick I found on the ground as I came out of the music museum on Wednesday, along with the book page it inspired....titled page from The Book of Broken Branches!  Other views, including details available here.  As I made tiny stitches I thought about so many things, including the book page as a format.  Here's what my moving hands reminded me as I put needle to paper.  The reason I am drawn to the book page (at this moment I can't quite recall the proper term for this open page format) rather than making the book itself, is that I am very much about the still image. What I have to say can be said in the single still image. Stillness.  Somehow I need stillness to see clearly, to look, to process what I am seeing.  In a culture totally obsessed by the moving image, I feel rather lost in time, as I struggle visually to keep up.  Our times thrive on bigger, faster, louder and we move too quickly....it's no wonder we can't remember anything in such a blur of rapid movement. In watching a film, I am often transfixed by the momentary flash of a scene that I process in the exquisite composition of the  still frame, but alas it's gone so quickly, the script has moved on and I am mourning the loss of that moment of perfect and beautiful stillness.  I'm sure this is why I work at such an intimate scale and in a process that demands a length of time, both for me and for you, the viewer.  I ask for the slowness that approaches stillness. In viewing, the work demands a one-on-one experience.  These are not works that can be even remotely seen across a room, in a space shared by others...a moment of privacy is necessary to view the work, to slow down, to look, to see and to be...all alone.  Whole worlds can unfold inside us when we slow down.  

Here's to slowness...a gentle reminder to myself!

Have a lovely weekend everyone.


  1. Another vote for slowness! You speak my thoughts, Patti. Of course someone into stillness would choose the book page as medium. It is the ultimate representation of an intimate moment of reflective pause.

    And why the rush? Why the need today for such an overstimulating blur in our arts and amusements, as if life itself weren't fast-paced and fleeting enough? I knew I was getting old when I almost had to walk out of a movie a few years ago because the cinematography was so hellbent and choppy, not allowing the eye to rest or the mind to grasp anything for a millisecond before moving on. I felt bombarded by information on the cellular level that I would never be able to process beyond a feeling of mild agitation afterwards. Then there were the old movies that held amazing long lingering bold shots as if they were stills...were would we be without the silences between sound, the pause before turning the page?

    And don't get me started on apple pie!

    Thanks for this post, P.

  2. Wonderful post! I constantly search for this stillness to bring balance into a busy life. "Whole worlds can unfold inside us when we slow down" .... A quote I have just written into my Book of Quotations.
    This Page from the Book of Broken Branches, says it all. It speaks strongly to me. I have a very clear picture in my mind of your drive out in the country.

  3. Wonderful thoughts. Living out the long dirt road for me without much
    distraction except for dogs give me time for that slowness, that long single look. Sometimes when I walk the dogs I just stop and look and listen and become the place. It's so hard to do that today, you are so right. xox Corrine

  4. Thanks Patti - this series is really beautiful and I liked the inspiration image that accompanies the page. I like your reasoning as well around why the page - it is so true that we need to pause, be still and reflect. It's the only way I know to quiet understandings. This format really does offer the one on one experience; the chance to hold it in your hands, to be in quiet congregation with the piece.

    "Here's what my moving hands reminded me..." - perfect.

  5. Gabriella....couldn't agree more! I love your phrase "the pause before turning the page"! And do come over for pie...it's mighty fine!

    Thanks so much Robyn...I'm glad you could imagine my backroads country drive...if only we'd had the camera!!! But, better than that, the image of my world has unfolded inside you just from a few simple words...like magic!

    Corrine, I envy you living apart...on a dirt road. John and I imagined living further out in the country as we took our lovely drive yesterday through the farmland. We actually do live out of town and in the country in a "neighborhood" of about twenty houses all on one side of a road (the other side trees) that back up to the river. I'm sure you enjoy the space and the place! Thanks for your comment!

    Fiona...we do have much in common in our work and yours I know is also about a quiet unfolding. As far as my moving hands...I've always said that I think through my hands! Enjoy your day and thanks for reading and commenting here!

    My best to all of you, friends!


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