Monday, February 23, 2009

"i" is for inspiration

 eyeball "i"
michelle boettcher 
1990
a couple of weeks ago, i asked willow to give me a letter so i could be part of her letter-related meme. she assigned me the letter "i" and i immediately thought of the artwork above, which was done by my friend michelle, who we affectionately call michellea, who i worked with twenty years ago during college at a daily newspaper. well, michellea managed to locate her brilliant eyeball "i" collage and photograph it for me, so now i can write this post.

the letter "i" built entirely out of eyeballs cut from magazines is, to me, totally inspired. the alliterative marriage of "i" and "eye" in the form of a lower-case "i" speaks far beyond the simple letter and all those  disembodied eyeballs. the very notion of self, of "I" is there as well. the hundreds of eyeballs speak to a self constructed by how we see and are seen. i always thought it was such a powerful work of art. i felt michellea had captured some essence that was at once comforting and disturbing and in which i could almost literally feel it looking directly into my soul. i always wished that she had made it for me.

that christmas, michellea gave me a different collage artwork, the "i" was her own. it was a collage made of magazine clippings as well--and it captures perfectly who i was at the beginning of the 90s. it's made up of repeated versions of my name, one colored in purple, because i was crazy for purple then. and the rest made up of all of the pop culture references and news items of the time--madonna, the first president bush, things russian, things pageanty, television shows. i put it away when we packed up the house for our remodeling project and i can't find it at the moment, but i'll stumble onto it one day and scan it and share it, because i still have it, a sort of snapshot of who i was during a given era.

but, back to the letter "i." as i say in my title, "i" is for inspiration. it's also for innovation--a word that's been overused in a business context and lost some of its meaning. but innovation, as in "introducing novelties, making changes in anything established, introducing something new," that innovation is powerful. and as i scour the wonderland of inspiration that is the internet for things which provoke my artistic imagination and my muse, i find that i most often try to innovate rather than imitate to make those sources of inspiration my own when they end up in my art.

this week, i've been inspired by resurrection fern. i first visited when margie did an interview of melissa  from tiny happy, one of my other sources of inspiration and where i go when i want/need a feeling of peaceful calm. but, i started going back again and again and basically just lurking, never leaving a comment (i felt a little unworthy for some reason). margie often interviews other artists as well as sharing her own work and sources of inspiration. well, this week, i decided that i had to check out her etsy shop  and i was lucky enough to be there at the right time to score one of her lovely covered stones, as well as one of her sweet merfish. i couldn't believe how quickly they came to denmark from canada--i think i ordered on tuesday and wednesday and they arrived already saturday--so this is my very stone and my very merfish, photographed by me on the cobblestones in front of my house.


i've long had a thing about stones and we have many of them around the house, gathered on beaches all over the world. i even have a couple from a beach in oregon that my grandmother gathered thirty some years ago. so you can imagine i've had my share of overweight luggage fees because of schlepping stones back home from my travels.  i really love what margie has done with these stones. it's like she sees something in them and it's called forth by her crocheting. i get the feeling that the little flat stone WAS a merfish and margie saw that and just gave him his tail. these are THAT wonderful. and i don't know how to crochet, but i feel that having them near me on the shelf in my studio will spur some creativity in me in some way that i don't yet see. i think it will be something to do with combining natural and manmade materials, but i guess time will tell. but already, i made it a couple of friends--i felted some of the many stones that are lying around the house:


i saw felted stones last year on etsy and i can't locate the shop again, it was too long ago, i guess, tho' i vaguely recall it was based in the netherlands. i had ordered some beautiful rovings to use for felting, also nearly a year ago, but it took having this little resurrection fern merfish to push me to do it. for the inspiration to come forth. sometimes you just have to wait for these things to happen. i'm learning that.

other bits of inspiration i spotted this week (on etsy or flickr, or design for mankind, among others) are as follows. i'll be very interested to see where they take me:

tiny little houses seen at little red door on etsy

and these cards:

seen at morris & essex on etsy

these fabulous hand-carved stamps by geninne spotted on flickr:

check her blog for even more beauty and inspiration!
and she sells gorgeous things on etsy.

and this, which amanda pointed me to at sundance :

i'm so gonna be making something like this

and andrew moore's fantastic photos of russia which the lovely and talented and very inspiring tangobaby pointed me to not long ago:

and i'm finding inspiration in words as well, words like these:
and that pretty much does it for the letter "i," because it's taken forever to put all those i's in bold.

8 comments:

B said...

It's lovely to see all the things that inspire you at the moment. So interesting! I still need to learn to wait for things to happen, I always end up forcing things, and of course, they hardly are as good as you hoped for when you do that!

julochka said...

B--i totally end up forcing things as well, but i'm trying to learn not to. :-)

willow said...

I love your ingenious "eye-i"! Great post!! :)

dutchbaby said...

My eyes are filled with your imaginative images of inspiration. Immensely innovative.

Molly said...

Lovely thoughts and pictures.
That yellow merstone is utterly divine, not least of all 'cos if you tried to explain it to someone - a pebble with a crocheted yellow tail - it would just sound quite ridiculous!
But it's not. It's really beautiful!

tangobaby said...

I'm so glad you like those Andrew Moore photos. Isn't he amazing? Maybe someday that'll be us taking photos like that.

xox

Margie Oomen said...

This is such an amazing post and not because my stones are included in it although that really did make; my day but I really love you description of what stones mean to you and these little covered stones in particular. I also love all the other artists and links you have posted. Geninne is one of my best friends in this creative world and she is also one of the nicest people on earth. I am always really amazed at the connections that are made via our inspiration and wish I was a mathematical genius and could derive a formula or graphic representation of this. I just know it would look beautiful.

julochka said...

thanks willlow!

dutchbaby, you're hilarious!

molly, you're right and even some who have seen it think i'm a bit mad, but it's so wonderful!

TB--we just have to go to russia. and get at least a D300

Margie--what a beautiful thought that would be...a graphic representation of connections made via inspiration...i hope someone's working on that. :-)