Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Words Fail Me

Sharon Wildwind

I’ve kept a journal—more or less, okay more than less—for thirty years. I’ve played around with umpteen-gazillion journaling techniques, from drawing with my eyes closed to dialoging with inanimate objects.

About three months ago I was trying to journal, yet again, about my love-hate relationship with housework. Make no mistake, I love a tidy house, with washed windows, vacuumed carpets, and everything put away in it’s own special place. At least, I think I’d love it if I could ever get there once. Just once.

There are too many interesting things to do. Write another scene vs vacuum? Research a new character vs wash windows? Play with cloth vs file papers? Guess which one I’ll choose every time. This is the result, what a corner of my office/workshop/atelier looks like. It doesn’t always look like this. Some weeks it looks worse.

As I struggled to put my love and loathing of housework into words yet again, I realized that words failed me. No amount of journal angst was going to do it this time. I wanted something substantial, that would show my ambivalence about hating mess and loving creativity at the same time. So instead of writing, I made a personal shrine. It’s called “Blue Over Housework.”

I think if you click on the photos you might get a bigger version. It works here in the preview screen, but I'm not sure what will happen once this thing gets posted.

For the techno-paper geeks out there: the base is 3/16" foam core board, covered with mulberry paper. The words were computer generated and printed on more mulberry paper, which was layered on the base. The blue-and-white dish pan, dishes and dishcloth are DECO air-drying clay from Japan. The dragonflies are made of wire, Japanese paper, and craft pearls. The thing that looks like an egg shell is . . . an egg shell. Embellishments include stamps, buttons, printed words, a air-drying clay disc stamped with the Chinese symbol for peace, a kitchen sponge, and an old house key. The whole thing is covered with multiple layers of Golden acrylic gel, tinted with Golden acrylic liquid paint.

I recommend a little shrine-building for everyone, particularly if you’re struggling with a conundrum that words don’t seem to cover. You might want to check out the multi-media artist, Carol Owen, http://www.carolowenart.com/ and her book, Crafting Personal Shrines, Lark Books, 2004, ISBN:1-57990-453X. http://www.larkbooks.com/catalog?isbn=157990811X That book has all the directions, patterns, tips, and list of materials you’ll need to build a shrine.

After that, just go for it. Play. Create. Build. Have a great time.

I'm off to the World Fantasy Convention, here in Calgary this coming weekend. 3 1/2 days of writing workshops and schmoozing with other writers. Best of all, I can take the C-train there and back, and sleep in my own bed each night.

Creative quote for the week:
Our truest response to the irrationality of the world is to paint or sing or write, for only in such response do we find truth.
~Madeline L’Engle, writer


Julia Buckley said...

I'm with you on the housework. Although I manage to do more in autumn, when the weather is cool.

I love the Madeleine L'Engle quote. What a loss to the writing world she was.

Darlene Ryan said...

I love the shrine. I think I need one for the never ending (it seems) piles of leaves that keep rolling into my yard from both of my neighbors.

Elizabeth Zelvin said...

Life is too short for housework. But I'd rather build a shrine than write a first draft. And evidently, I'd rather comment on a blog post than revise a manuscript. Hi ho, hi ho....

Sheila Connolly said...

If you leave an offering at the shrine, does the housework magically happen without you?

Hey, you stole my work area!

Anonymous said...

Oh, we've got some good shrines going here. Julia can do one as an homage to Madeleine L'Engle; Darlene will build one out of leaves; and Liz can do one on procrastination.

Shelia, did you notice the little figure in the lower left corner, near the dish pan? That's a dish fairy. I'm still waiting for her to do the dishes. She says she has to conduct an environmental impact study first. Okay, if I stole your work space, please tell me what the 3+ meters of variegated purple, pink, and dusty rose linen are for? Otherwise, I'm going to turn it into dishtowels.