Friday, July 11, 2008

On Collections

I have been working on a collection of works for the museum gift shop at the Kansas History Museum. This is a project I have been planning for a long time. But here's the funny discovery I made as I have worked on each piece. I can't do what I plan. I can make pieces inspired by the Flint Hills, or the weather here certainly. But, I can't just decide to make them. I can only make what I am inspired to make in the very moment I start the piece.
So, this collection of pieces will be very diverse. I really wanted the collection to be about all aspects of Kansas. But instead, it will be all about my life and inspirations as a Kansas artist.
On our road trip to Grove, Oklahoma for the Fourth of July, Kassie and I discussed the Oklahoma landscape and how beautiful the grasses and grains were. They have a more rosey cast to them overall than the more golden grains in Kansas. And Kassie pointed out the abundance of trees and foliage.
When I think about it, I wouldn't expect those characteristics necessarily in Oklahoma. I have spent time in Iowa and Wisconsin, and I have never seen more green terrain. There are parts of northern Iowa that make me think about Ireland, or at least what I invision it to be like. Oklahoma is very beautiful in unexpected ways. I will have a few pieces inspired by the colors of Oklahoma landscape.
I have a large piece completed that is inspired by a trip to Florida I took with Dave a couple years ago. It rained and rained, but still we were out in the water and running around the beach. I picked up shells until my back couldn't take the bending over. During times when it wasn't raining, we laid on the beach. If we were really quiet and didn't move, we could see the sand crabs jutting about. They were like invisible little aliens. I would catch movement out of my periferal vision only to look and see nothing. Their camoflage was truly amazing to me. I got to where I could see lots of them, all over the beach. Of course, none of this would be of any note if I were living in Florida.
So what I am discovering though all this is that I make better work when I allow the pieces to come from my spirit and intuition, rather than a decision or a plan. The above pendant was completed two days ago, and is titled "Hidden Treasure". The treasure is on the back of the shell- two beautifully formed pearls embedded in the nacre of the shell. An extra gift for the wearer to cherish.

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