Wednesday, April 13, 2005


After I posted the pictures last night, I got busy doing something else, and then was too tired to write anything about them. It was kind of fun to let them stand for themselves, though, maybe. My camera isn't the greatest for taking close-up shots, but at least it gives an idea.

The outside (top and sides) is covered with wide printed ribbon, then lightly varnished. The hearts on the doors are glued-on wooden pieces, and there are various pieces of paper collage both inside and out. There's a little mirror on the top shelf, and silver metal beads spelling out "WISHES." On the inside of one door is a tiny spring clothespin holding a miniature tarot card of The Sun (the card isn't glued in, so the clothespin could hold anything--a fortune cookie fortune, maybe?); the word inside the other door is "BOUNTEOUS," which says means "Generously and copiously given."

There's an image of an old key glued to the floor symbolizing hidden secrets. The key and the mirror are both important, I think--the mirror, in addition to being a reflective surface to bring light in, also reminds anyone looking in that ultimately, we are responsible for fulfilling our own wishes and dreams, and that we have the ability to do that inside ourselves.

I worked on a second one tonight. This one is painted green, lightly distressed and antiqued, with sort of a "garden" theme--it has a tiny pile of terra cotta pots, and a birdhouse, and a little chair . . . I varnished it tonight, and can put in the ornaments tomorrow. I'm trying not to overdo it, to leave plenty of room for personal treasures. They're sort of like "interactive" art, maybe. Sort of whimsical, yet it has a use, it's not just decorative.

I haven't decided what's going to happen with them yet. It's a really interesting process to me. It's very difficult for me to allow myself to make art that isn't structured, to allow myself to just do something, anything, without being attached to the outcome. To allow myself to make mistakes. Although, in general, that's where the exciting stuff happens. You have to get to the point where you're not afraid that you're going to ruin it, and that's very hard. But if you only color inside the lines, you never figure out what else you might be able to do.

So anyway, I'm finding it very liberating and exciting. Photos of the new one tomorrow, hopefully.

Someone wrote tonight and asked me if I had been inspired by Joseph Cornell. I had never heard of him, but oh! What wonderful stuff! I Googled his name and found the WebMuseum link above. Really amazing stuff. Kind of like Nick Bantock's work, but three dimensional.

previous | next


misty said...

oh! i love joseph cornell! i thought you had already heard of him!

he's really wonderful. and the reasoning BEHIND why he did things the way he did was just beautiful. i find some info on that - i have a book somewhere . . .

it's all about being precious. building a world to exist in.

so excited! i love when people discover new artisits!

Anonymous said...

actually nick bantock's work is a bit like joseph cornell's - exTREMEly derivative of joseph cornell's, actually.

Willa said...

Well, yes, I suppose I should have phrased that differently, since obviously Cornell came first. But I've been aware of Bantock for years . . . if I ever feel that I can refer to myself as an artist (I wouldn't presume to do that now), Bantock would be right up there as one of my greatest, if not the greatest inspirations.

Misty, there's a great article about Cornell at The New Yorker (a couple of years old) that I have yet to fully read.

Stefani said...

Willa, you absolutely could and should call yourself an artist right this very minute! If not now, when? I admit, it takes some getting used to, but just do it and soon it will feel just fine. (If you are feeling less than comfortable about the artfulness of your shrines, take a walk through your various website designs - clearly an artist did those!)

Willa said...

You're absolutely right, Stefani. It's just like saying I'm a writer -- it's not that I don't feel that I am, I guess it's more that I feel I could be perceived as being pretentious if I say that, maybe. But it's the first step, isn't it?

Thank you!

Judy said...

Love the little shrine. As for saying you are what you are, go ahead! What other people think of it is their business. I just say "I'm an artist" and "I'm a photographer" very matter of factly when people ask what I do, because it's just a matter of fact.

They usually are very positive in their response, and if they are secretly thinking I'm pretentious, I just don't care. :)