|Flying dream (the wings are a little book)|
I started creating visual art when I was in my 30s. After treatment for major depression/mild bi-polar disorder, I became hungry for color. Depression is a common side effect of having a long term disability, but I think it runs in my family. Fortunately, since I had a disability that included seizures, self medicating with alcohol was not an option for me. I found other outlets.
I’d always written poetry and stories, and I was a chronic doodler. But after actual medical treatment for depression, I felt like a veil had been lifted from my sight and I was enchanted with the color of everything. I started embroidering, something I hadn’t done since I was teenager. It became a wonderful introduction to the healing power of handwork.
I started exploring the vast world of fabric art and branched out a bit with art quilts and wall hangings. One day I came home and my 10 year old daughter had made a little doll out of my fabric scraps. I wanted to make one, too. So I did — and a whole city of dolls and fabric sculptures popped into my imagination and out of my hands. I was self taught — well, I read a lot of books on cloth dolls and hand sewing techniques. I learned to crochet and knit. I combined forms and had a great time. My work got more and more complex.
|a bird told me|
During the same time, I went through a lot of life changes and moved from Memphis, TN, to Portland, OR, at age 46. At one point, I took a job that just exhausted me and I thought I’d never get back into art and creative work. Then, I got married, had to quit that job, and started making dolls and writing again.
At the end of 2010, though, we had to move to a one bedroom apartment and I no longer had the room to store the stuff for making the elaborate dolls. I’d always wanted to hone my drawing skills, so I decided to put my creative energy into drawing, writing and working with watercolors. Now I rarely sew, but I draw a LOT. I think one of my problems with watercolor is that I still imagine I can just layer one color on top of another — I have an opaque imagination. Still, I love the way watercolor works — and pencils, pens, acrylics — ahh, art offers so many possibilities.
Since I’ve not posted my fabric work on this blog yet and I have lots of new readers and followers, I thought I’d post some of my past work over the next few weeks. It’s a lot. I worked in fabric for almost 15 years!
|One of my first dolls: Desdemona Stargazer who lives with my sister/friend in Memphis|
I chose to use my dolls to express ideas about bodies in transformation. Because my neurological disorder makes me walk funny, I made bird women who were half bird and half human — they wore braces and had weak wings. I made tree people, who couldn’t move but bloomed anyway. In mythology, gods and goddesses go through all kinds of transformations, they become trees, they sprout wings, they lose one identity and shape shift into another powerful being. This imagery fit how I wanted to feel about my own body’s transformation.
|Hathor, the Egyptian Goddess had her head replaced by a cow’s head — she was a goddess of humor|
I also loved making characters & dolls for children of all ages:
|Dude be stylin’|
That’s enough for now. I’ll post more over the next few weeks.
Meanwhile, here’s a self portrait I did about a year ago:
|51 and still playing around|
Remember, if your life changes, don’t give up your creative impulses. Let them evolve — you’ll surprise yourself!
Paint Party Friday is having a Auction Blog Hop to Benefit Sandy Hook Elementary, plus they’re having their usual blog art tour, so stop by and see the creativity blooming there.