Traversing a Broken Bridge Across Shit Canyon

December 7, 2021

It started with a collage in a period of hot emotion, confusion and frustration, and several aspects coalesced as a sculpture.

The woman in the collage closes her eyes and screams in frustration. It’s a fire of emotion, threatening to burn down the broken bridge. She and the bridge are stuck in a sea of shit. According to Jungian ideas, shit is the prima materia, i.e., undifferentiated material in the psyche that needs work. But this microscopic view of fecal matter reveals that it’s more differentiated than one would guess by looking with the naked eye. Something is taking shape at the deepest level.

The woman in red is escaping from the tyranny of a negative animus—the dictator. She is on her way to join forces with the young masculine on his white horse and together they will go through a trial by fire, a transmogrification, to try and get across the bridge before it burns down. She needs a masculine aspect she can trust before she can get to a place of spiritual surrender. She knows the dangers of the Frida-Diego relationship; he cannot be trusted.

The oracle (Egyptian figure) down at the bottom is assisting by witnessing this process. In the clay piece, the oracle is the owl (which appears elsewhere in the collage). 

The white mask-head of everyday accomplishments is, in this case, the fool. The fool operates by intuition, not thinking things through. This is not a rational process. It’s a risky undertaking that requires action, body sense, good instincts and surrender. This fool brings experience to the endeavor and will not get bogged down with overthinking it.

All of this will get us up to the center of the collage where choices can be made about possible directions.

The sculpture shows the androgynous figure in red with the white head-mask, riding the white horse across the broken bridge. The bridge is red with the impending fire; it’s hot! Better get on with it. The bridge spans the canyon of differentiating shit. It’s alive. With these aspects working together, we make it across.

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As If COVID Weren’t Enough

July 28, 2020

In April 2020 my partner Harold had a heart attack. He called 911 himself and within minutes, help came, masks and all, and took him away. He ended up staying in the hospital for quintuple bypass surgery. During that time visitors were not allowed in the hospital. I didn’t see him until they were ready to send him home ten days later. After a few days we got him settled, and I established a temporary studio space at the kitchen table, where I could be nearby for anything he might need. I did a collage about the surgery and its emotional impact on me. He worked on a collage too, a little bit at a time. Some weeks later, when I was able to be out in the studio again, I made this piece, inspired by part of my collage. I called it Open Heart, an apt double meaning. It now lives in our living room, where we’re doing some living.

Hi, I’m Carrot!

July 21, 2019

carrot prelm

Hi, I’m Carrot! This is a big one, about 23 inches tall, I think. It was inspired by a Mothers Day gift of collaged tarot cards that my daughter made. She is such a muse for me! “Carrot” here is the fool archetype. I added the book…. So s/he’s a cat dressed up as a rabbit of sorts and rather than read the book, s/he stands on it. The fool has ways of knowing other than academic and intellectual approaches. The fool is intuitive and doesn’t even know how wise s/he is. S/he blunders the way to good fortune.

Akio sculpture clay, white slip, various underglazes, incised, then bisque fired. Oxide and underglaze washes, glazes and underglazes, fired again, then inked to bring out the crackle.

Spring!

July 21, 2019

Like the seasons, one thing leads to another and back again. This is my image vocabulary at work. There again is how “Spring” came about. An image of hand painted flowers from Raw Vision Magazine (one of my fave publications) captured my attention. It looked painterly and raw. It led to this series of dresses, also a recurring theme for me. Bring in the pigtail girl, too. Illustrating the surfaces with underglazes and incising with an exacto knife became the methodology of the next series of pieces: colorful, fun to do, feminine. I’ve been wanting to apply this surface treatment to pots again for ages. Pots as in bowls and plates. I will get to it!

Produce

July 21, 2019

produce

Produce

“Produce” is perhaps at the other end of the spectrum from “Moami”, the piece in the previous post: an abundance of fruitful ideas. (Remember the goblet full of heartberries?)

Moami

July 21, 2019

moami

Moami, an African name for Mommy, is about being a child and a mother. The doll shape is a hole in the piece, suggesting a memory of loss, a longing.

China Dolly Wallies

July 21, 2019

cdw layout

I had so much fun riffing on these! As mentioned in an earlier post, I applied rice paper transfers to get these prints. These will be part of my show at Hanson Howard Gallery in Ashland, OR during the month of August 2019. If any are left, I’ll have them for sale in my studio during Portland Open Studios in October, which runs two weekends: 12-13 & 19-20. PLUS, we’re having a special preview Friday, October 11, noon to 5 where you can see and get first dibs on all the work. The “we” is Tamae Frame, June Haddox, Susan Borger, Sally Squire and I. Yes, that’s right, 5 artists in one location!

Shrine

July 21, 2019

Shrine truth sacrifice transformation

I made this shrine for myself in the May 2019 Shrine workshop. The top figure is a Black Madonna, symbol of a down-to-earth goddess. The other figures are guardians. Like most pieces I make, it was based on intuitive choices from a collage. During the time I was finishing the piece and getting ready to photograph it, I was reading “Dancing in the Flames” by Marion Woodman, a Jungian analyst. In it she discusses the earthy goddess archetype (Black Madonna) and the horned wild man archetype and how these two must unite symbolically in the psyche for wholeness. Well, that’s my simplified version of her ideas. But anyway, there they were in this shrine! It was an odd moment of startling synchronicity and one of those times one realizes there is so much more going on than is apparent in conscious awareness.

Ten Cent Worth

June 29, 2019

My brother and I were talking about the time when, at the tender age of 8, I took 10 pennies from his coin collection to buy a candy bar. I innocently took the first ten pennies, which I learned later are the oldest and most valuable. I made this piece, Ten Cent Worth after our conversation. In the process of making it, I realized I had a lot of shame about that incident. I think he’s still a little peeved, but I forgave myself. 😉

ten cent worth

Ten Cent Worth

I became kind of obsessed about these sort of “pigtails”, which I had used on other pieces in the past. They suggested “girl”, but also suggested hypervigilence, like antennae, which one sprouts when the youngest of 4 in an alcoholic household. A body of work followed.

Maw

Maw

I made “Maw” incorporating the “Basquiat” face as though on this character’s t shirt. A pensive little angel, recalling a quote from something I was reading at the time, “in every happy moment, pulled into a maw of loss and fear and shame.” Connecting “maw” with “Ma”, along came Imperious Palace, a piece about the ideas of standards and taste one inherits from her mother.

imperious palace A

Imperious Palace

This is how I riff—how one piece leads to another. The patterns on the little “heads” are like china patterns. Blue and white china reminds me of my mother. And china patterns led to the creation of my China Dolly Wallies.

Darkness, darkness

June 29, 2019

basq collage

This is another section of the collage mentioned previously. The main image here was supposedly a painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat, or perhaps it was just inspired by his work. I lost the caption. In either case, it was something I associated with him and it has a lot of energy for me. I related to it on a feeling level (chaotic, disassociated, uncentered, vulnerable), but also intellectually challenged, my interest piqued, and tried to bring some of this into the clay piece it inspired, below.

basquiat box

The tangled guy is like a different aspect of the problem. He’s so preoccupied with being tangled up in his rope (in his head), he doesn’t see anything else. In the process of making the piece in clay and string, I realized I had the power to take that rope and wind it up in neat loops and set it aside (or use it to lasso another idea).

tangle

Tangle