5/12/07

A little more history


Summer of 04 I was camping in northern Minnesota. It had been a full year since I quit massage and almost a year since I had 'hit the road'. I spent the winter in MN in a one bedroom apartment near the lakes just a stone's throw from downtown Minneapolis. The apartment was devoid of furniture and I used my camping gear for everything imaginable. I remember the landlord seeming a bit dubious about whether to rent to me for six months...like I was fleeing the law or something. He couldn't believe I had no furniture and was just travelling and wanting to spend a winter there. I was able, before winter, to find a love seat sitting on the curb for trash in a nice neighborhood and found someone to haul it to my apartment. Another person loaned me a table. I got to know my neighbor and she gave me a key to her apartment and let me use her computer whenever I wanted to. I spent my days like this: I got up and ran almost every morning (no, I wasn't a runner but I needed to get out and do something and it seemed to help the panic attacks). I got a massage job a month after arriving so I'd run and go to work and come home and run again sometimes and then work on art. Other than that I went to the library all the time and did lots of walking on the tracks and bike paths.


My 'art' at that time was just me drawing with a pen my strange squiggles. Then I met another massage therapist who was artsy and I hung out with her, she was the most selfless individual I have ever come across. She let me use any art supplies I wanted and we had a blast painting on glass vases and just creatively playing. It occurred to me to paint on tiles, even though I didn't have a kiln I thought what the hell, use the bake on paint and make something! You could get these liquidex acrylic paints that you literally bake on in the oven and unless you really tried, the paints stayed on remarkably well. Off I went to home depot, bought a box of tiles and started going nuts with it. That led to coffee mugs and me thinking I was going to be a ceramic artist. I did nothing but that for hours on end day in and day out. I even quit my massage job prematurely, I just wanted to make art and decided to follow that desire no matter how crazy it seemed. I often wondered if I wasn't wasting time, money, supplies on something that wasn't kiln glazed; but I was trying to pay attention to my 'being' and what IT wanted, my instincts were the only thing I had to rely on anymore so I tried to pay attention at all times.

For whatever reason the universe was not providing me with any ceramic links in MN. I spent tons of time looking for someone there, thinking maybe I was supposed to stay there and get into ceramics, it was not meant to be. My lease ran out, I was getting fearful of getting back out there going into the unknown and choose to sleep on my neighbors floor another month before finally setting vehicular sail out into the world again.
I did manage to drag some of my tiles with me and even sold a few coffee mugs and coasters at a camp site to other campers. I still feel excited when I look at the art I did on tile, hoping one day to have the space and time to delve into getting a real kiln and doing it right. It isn't feasible right now, what with being a caretaker and not having ventilation in the basement. It is a passion that is still there though...for now my passion is in my puzzle assemblages; the clocks; and mixed media. To some that might seem scattered, but I have managed to get a cohesive body of work going in all mediums and I personally love having different genres of art to work in. I reach a point where I hit a wall and need to take a break and I happily scoot over to the next body of work that has been cocooned and ready to breath.

2 comments:

sarala said...

I love your tiles. I became very interested in tiles after taking a year of ceramics a few years ago. Even tried making a few of my own. I did a lot of reading on tile styles and because of living in my second of two Victorian houses am still interested in Victorian era tile work.
I hope you get a chance to pursue this further. They are truly lovely.

Nellie Bass Durand said...

Exploring ... playing ... following your bliss at the moment ... that's what it's about ... being an artist. Ideally, anyway. Life's other demands interupt. As long as we stive to keep the ideal as our priorty, we may feel fulfillment. There are multiple definitions to "stuggling artist".