Everywhere I go, the hardware store, pharmacy, post office, on a hike, supermarket, you name it, I lose track of time. I end up wondering what I could create with whatever object my eyes have noticed. Ace Hardware is amazing! Chains, screws, electrical wire in tons of colors! Needless to say, it sometimes takes me close to an hour to run a 15 minute errand. Going to SCRAP, A School and Community Reuse Action Project in Portland, Oregon, is a trip never under 45 minutes in length. Leather, wood, yarn, donated clothing tags, styro-foam, TONS of fabric, old magazines - this place is a 7 days-a-week yard sale! (www.scrapaction.org)
I recently returned to Portland from the East Coast where I spent 7 days visiting with family and friends. I cannot tell you how much I loved and needed their hugs, kisses and talks. On the last day of my visit, I packed up the belonging I brought with me, and a few extra items, clothing, an old painting, and a purse. As I shoved these items into my backpack, I realized the purse I was bringing home was actually quite gross and that maybe I could use its components (buckles, straps, fasteners) to make something really cool. So, I grabbed some scissors and began cutting. In walks my brother, also frantically packing for his trip back to Switzerland, and gasps,"What are you doing?" I replied, "What. I can use these pieces to make jewelry!" He gave me that look. He knows me very well. What probably flashed through his mind was the time I "destroyed" his Bronx Zoo wallet only to put it back together with collaged imagery covered with clear packing tape (so cool), or maybe the time I cut his olive green cargo pants to make a cute mini skirt. He knows me very well.I love materials. While on the East Coast, I also made a trip to the Fashion District in New York City. My mother and I spent about an hour drooling over brilliant stones of varying color, shape and size. We went to Phoenix Beads on 37th between 5th and 6th Ave. I am eager to start working on some mixed media necklaces, earrings and bracelets. I envision delicate necklaces with chain, a few stones, and canvas cutout leaves or feathers. Whimsical and feminine. Very sexy. Also, some macrame circles with dangling stones and canvas.
This is what I do. I turn these little treasures into pieces that make sense to me. I'm not sure how I reach a finished piece. I do research what other artists are creating. And nature, fashion and the city influence me, as well. Often times I'll start with one idea and end with something entirely different. I don't always know what a piece needs. A button, a buckle, a bead. Some canvas, some leather, some fabric. A braid, a knot, a chain, a crystal! Variety is crucial. It is so important to play with materials. Get a sense of what you are working with and break down those fearful thoughts - "I'm gonna ruin it", "I' m gonna run out of material", "I don't know what I am doing" - these thoughts freeze you as an artist. You'll never get anywhere with these thoughts hanging around.
And get messy. My studio is usually covered with scraps of string, canvas, fabric, wire, etc. But this is what it's all about. Organized chaos. And sometimes just chaos!