Memory Jugs

Memory Jugs Descansos

The first memory jugs were made by African Americans for grave adornments. Memory jugs are mosaic vessels covered in mortar and encrusted with shards, shells, and various found objects. They were popular in Victorian times as folk art but the idea is believed to have originated from African mourning vessels. “ These were memory laden mosaics…three dimensional scrapbooks. In essence they are fascinating time capsules that link the past to the present as poignant narratives.

What would you put on a memory jug? Contemplate a narrative that might spring from making this art form.

Grandmother’s Coat

Grandmother-s coat heller kleinI have always been fascinated by Clarissa Pinkola Estes idea of making a full length scapecoat to detail in painting, writing, with all manner of things pinned and stitched inside. But I really love what Alice Wellinger has done here. This beautiful piece truly resonates and fuels the desire to do something using a grey coat that I have had hanging, unworn for many years.

In order to come to know them better it could also be good to explore what the inside of a character’s coat looks like

A Room of Her Own – At Riversleigh

Soultide

Virginia Wolfe filled the hearts of women with yearning when she wrote about ‘A Room Of My Own’. Blogging technology enabled women to have rooms of their own at Riversleigh Manor.

Soul Tide’s blog remains a tribute and shows how you do not have to have independent means to have a very private room of your own.

Purveyor of Creative Stimuli

I used to pride myself in being a purveyor of creative stimuli! Feedback from those who trawled through Soul Food supported my claim that I was quite good at triggering creative responses by providing a smorgasbord of tempting fragments.

Here is one I used to love to use with students. I would insist that there was complete silence and then I would take them through this guided imagery. After we completed the imagery exercise, the students would write what they saw in their imagination and then share their writing with other students. The experience was always exhilarating and there were times when the class spontaneously broke into applause.  I was always impressed by how insightful my students were.

You are walking down a road…. As you are walking, you see a house. Look at it. Notice its details…. Walk towards it. What do you notice about it?…. You start to walk around the house, looking at it as you walk…. Now you are halfway around. Notice the details of the house as you continue to walk around it…. Now you come back to where you were when you started…. As you walked around the house, you noticed a way to get in. Now go into the house…. What do you see?…. Explore the house, what’s inside?…. As you were exploring, you noticed a secret door leading to a secret room. Go inside that room. What do you see?…. Now leave the secret room and go back into the main part of the house…. Now leave the house. As you are walking away from it, you look back at it one more time…. You are back on the road once again, walking.

It was sessions like this that led to a collection of prompts being housed at Soul Food.

Creative Compulsive Disorder

Zina

Zina Nicole Lahr

As a subscriber to Colossal I came upon the work of Zina Nicole Lahr. Tragically she recently died during a hiking trip. When you read her blog and her feelings about the loss of her sister this is all the more poignant.

Zina describes herself, in an inspirational video made by her friend, as having Creative Compulsive Disorder. There is no doubt that she was full of the most amazing creative energy and this makes her death harder to come to terms with. In this video, alone, she talks about so many creative projects. It is totally life affirming.

Zina was a Creative Forager and I am in awe of what she achieved in her short life.

Random Acts of Giving

Amidst the sometimes stressful frenzy of Christmas shopping, the idea that giving to others can be good for your health and happiness can feel a bit of a stretch.

But a growing body of scientific research shows exactly that.

It’s now clear that doing good for others without any expectation of reward – known as behaving altruistically – can give you better physical and mental health and even help you live longer. Read remainder of article

This year Christmas Day was very special, thanks in large part to the giving nature of some friends.

It is timely to remember that it is healthy to be giving all year round.

Rather than making any New Year Resolutions Anastasia and I are going to actively promote ‘Random Acts of Giving’.

Feel free to ‘gift’ any suggestions of what might constitute ‘Random Acts of Giving!’

Random at Colossal

I have decided to use the Random function at Colossal to see what pops up to offers some inspiration.

“Using thousands and thousands of standard sewing pins artist (and MacArthur Foundation genius) Tara Donovan creates geometric shapes on immense canvases that appear almost blurred and atmospheric. The patience and care it must take to create these works is mind boggling. Her hand touched each pin, one by one until the canvases were filled with gentle sweeping gradients of tiny metal circles. See the work for yourself at Pace Gallery in New York through March 19th.”

I am thinking that there are a number of things I could do as a result of seeing this artist’s work.

One thing I could do is contact Tara and talk to her about how she came to use sewing pins in this way. Another is challenging myself to find other uses for all sorts of obscure things – like paper clips, paper doilies or some more uses for blue tack.