Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The Cottage

Late night at the cottage. Mathew's nephew James playing the guitar remarkably well. Everyone starts singing along and music fills the dense summer air, travels out over the lake and gets taken away... to other cottages, to the loons that live on the lake with their babies, to the water and the sky... up into the air...

Summer should feel like this, I think. For once something feels right and good.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

End of the night...

This is how the cake looks at the end of the night. The party is simmering down. Loud bouts of laughter are still heard from different areas around the cottage but most of the guests have gone. Every surface is covered with beer bottles, plastic plates, wine glasses. Bits of cake sit, somehow fittingly, in the shrimp dip bowl. Cigarette butts float merrily in a half empty cup of tea. Someone on the deck recounts the story of his dog. The only remaining child has a blanket thrown over his head as he sleeps, completely unaware, on the sofa.

It has been a long day.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Barbie Cake Fantastic

This Barbie cake was made by the mother of a childhood friend of mine, E*. Every birthday this girl E* had, her mother made an even more fabulous Barbie cake than the year before, and every birthday she sent the party guests home with a photo of her creation. I guess she wanted our mothers to know how inferior they were and she wanted all us little girls to be jealous ad infinitum. She was a mean mother and often ordered us around throughout the entire birthday party. We were shuttled from one party event to the next like little sheep, with loud orders and announcements like "Now girls, you will watch E* play pin the tail on the donkey" or "Girls! Line up neatly and watch E* open her presents". Birthday parties were heavy business back then (and probably still are). They were certainly treated very seriously. I rarely see little pickled weiner hotdogs but when I do, I always remember E* and her mother. They were another rare but valuable commodity in the dream-like realm of birthday party memories. Those and little tiny pickles. Ah... mothers who knew how to throw the cogs in the memory-making machine of childhood. At these parties E* would also commonly order us around. I guess she felt the thrill of the power too. I remember us all being ushered into her room to listen to the new Michael Jackson record on her little pink hi-fi. A room full of girls in party dresses squished on her fluffy bed. I must have been genuinely jealous because my diary entries were consistently filled with lies about what grandoise events would occur at my next birthday party. Guest appearances of the likes of Olivia Newton John or an entire underwater themed celebration. Those diaries were also filled with lies about puppies and kittens. For example: " Another wonderful day! I received 5 kittens and 8 puppies as a surprise gift today!". Pretty much every day had an entry that went somewhere along those lines...

I wrote a story about E* and her crazy family. You can read it here.

Taken In.

This is founded on an old dry cleaners tag that says "Taken in". It is composed of an old lighter fluid container, dry seads and a stem of a fake flower. It is one of my favourite pieces. Perhaps because it feels deeply evocative to me. Maybe that's just the personal mathematics that were involved in making it. God knows if these things ever translate. Hopefully bare composition translates. In making these boxes I sometimes feel the arranging and rearranging is a way of dealing with pain. It feels better after the "things" have fallen into "place". Here's to hoping that the the concepts of "thing" and "place" are not just relative, or relative to something others can enjoy. Art always feels so bloody seclusive. Welcome to my own tiny world.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Tiny Bottles

Tiny bottles can't hold very much. Could anyone fit a tiny ship into one of these? Perhaps they could hold enough wine to make an ant drunk... or a fairy see fairies. I have quite a collection of tiny bottles. Some are old demerol bottles that I unearthed from an old hospital dump... Some were purchased in Chinatown for a small sum. They make me happy. I'm not sure why. Small containers are comforting. I also like tiny teacups (see the post - lonely frog - for a picture). Maybe it's all about tea parties. Little girls like tea parties and I guess I miss being a little girl. Being a woman is not nearly as fun. Life got really complicated somewhere along the way.

Behind these bottles you can see a passport photo that someone lost and I found. Her eyes look crazy.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Never Love a Stranger

Well who to love then?

Isn't everyone a stranger? Strange is a good word. She "made strange". Why don't we talk like that anymore? Make strange. I want to "make strange".

This is a scrap of paper that someone wrote the title of a book on, and then slowly, quietly, mysteriously, slid it across the desk to me. (I work at a library). Asking for it, without asking. Warning, perhaps. He is a grumpy old man who loves romance novels and Tom Robbins.

I kept it.


Watching old westerns on the roof.

Summer is best for endeavours such as these.

Night time.

I miss roof tops. Being above the city is a great feeling.

It makes one want to take pictures.

Only You....

(When there was love)


Once, not so long ago
I collected garbage
and arranged it, and rearranged it. and collected it
and glued it and cleaned it and sorted it.

In my little room atop that creaky Victorian house,
I made mobiles and boxes and sculptures...

this is one.

Lonely Frog.

Here's another scene...

This is a story of a lonely frog.

Lonely frog sits on her imitation Louis XIV sofa and waits. She has laid out tea for two but yet she sits alone. The decor in his room is fashionable and fabulous. The antique chest acts as a chic coffee table. The art on the wall is homespun, yet modern and daring. She sits and waits... in limbo? Trapped ? The bright light of the observer only makes her more aware. It casts shadows.

Where is her guest? Why has he not shown up yet? Why is she alone? What is her name?

Dream girl says "hello"

This is a photo of a shadow box I made called "Dream Girl". It is made out of an old compact case. There's a mirror on the left and on the right is a picture of a woman with an eye disease from a medical textbook. Her eyes are bulging out. Beside her is a valentine's day candy with the words "dream girl". I only describe it so thoroughly because I fear it might be hard to see. I chose it to show an example of some tiny things I like.