“Office Space” (Old Post Office Pavilion, 6th Floor, Washington, DC)
I have been making collages for as long as I can remember: countless pages from “16” magazine tacked up above my bed (John Stamos in a mint-green polo against a pink background, C. Thomas Howell with a horse, Matt Dillon as Dally in The Outsiders), several magazines’ worth of phrases and pix on the door to my single my junior year of college. I like the idea that a collage is at once a fractured yet coherent narrative. Each of the elements belongs together yet the connections aren’t always explicit; they hover , instead, slightly out of reach of the tongue. (I’ve never been uncomfortable—as some poets I’ve known can be—with the idea of borrowing/appropriating/stealing-with-acknowledgement from others to articulate my own story as poem.) This particular wall touches on the deep affection I have for my day family, George Clooney, my heritage as a New Yorker and an Asian Indian, the Alvernian Drama Society, the aesthetic influence of Billie Holiday on my work, the price women pay for being artists, and the properties of light . . to name just a few threads.
Not quite sure how it’s gotten to be two weeks past when I originally planned to post this but I digress . . .
So, two weeks ago, Pyramid Atlantic Arts Center, sponsored a Handmade Arts Fair in downtown Silver Spring. I’d been counting down the days till the fair ever since I first saw it advertised in this cool coupon book the Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce (at least I think it was them) sent out.
Twas a beautiful sunny Sunday and after church and some “porch time” at Starbucks, I dove in. (Note: I somehow managed to buy not one single piece of jewelry by intoning every time I went near a jewelry vendor, “I’m on a jewelry diet.)
First up we have these gorgeous handmade cards–embellished with sweet buttons, ribbon, and printed paper–from Monica Stroter’s sugar paperie line. I love e-mail (and Facebook and Twitter) as much as the next person, but really people, it’s never appropriate to say “thank you” electronically. And, especially given today’s cyber culture, it’s uber sweet to receive a little something in the mail that’s not a notice about your overdue American Express bill.
Next up are these nostalgic letterpress cards by Moira McCauley a/k/a bookish lady. I first discovered Moira’s work in the Pyramid Atlantic store on Ellsworth Drive where I snatched up a few of her calling cards with which to encourage gentlemen callers. I was delighted to meet her in person and stock up my stationery arsenal. (At this point, please reread the above paragraph about why it’s important to have stationery on hand.)
Next up is a photo print on wood from one of my longtime faves, Cherie Lester. I discovered Cherie’s work during the first year of DC’s downtown holiday market when I snapped up as a gift (no pun intended) her elegant photo of the cafe chairs at Paris’s Rodin Museum. At this year’s holiday market, I treated myself to her photo of a doorway at DC’s Eastern Market, which had just been devastated by a fire. I admit that I can’t remember where this pic is from (yep, this is what happens when you don’t write your blog right away, sigh . . . ), but it’s probably no surprise that I fell in love with the industrial look of the old-fashioned screens. I also love that the black and white print has a soft, pencil-drawn quality to it despite the urban subject. Cherie’s also been working on some mixed-media collages lately that, to me, give off a mid-century vibe and are well worth checking out.
So this photograph (shown in situ in my “entrance foyer”) was my favorite purchase at the Handmade Mart. I was actually finished browsing and had decided to duck into Borders for a magazine or six (big surprise there, I know!) when I noticed this piece and several others displayed on a bench outside the bookstore. Turns out that the photographer Brian Rawson wasn’t actually part of the show, but his friends had told him to drive down from Philadelphia and Brian had set up shop right behind their stand. This photo reminded me of all the somewhat crumbling apartment buildings I’ve lived in the almost aggressive endurance of the doorbells as each successive tenant was peeled away, that tension between impermanence and persistence. I also liked that the hodgepodge of bells hinted at the very different people that might inhabit each apartment. So, you may be wondering why no link to Messr. Rawson? CAUSE THE LINKS HE GAVE ME DON’T WORK! Which may be a tres good thing since I probably need to put myself on an art diet. Sigh. (I do have Brian’s gmail address, so I’ll let you know once he lets me know where to find his work in case YOU want to buy me something!