Saturday, September 24, 2011

Etsy Wheelin' & Dealin'

I was looking at a Mary's Grace's discussion, (a team I participate in) & a question came up about inquiries from customers to buy wholesale. I said I've only been asked to do this with my furniture & I am happy to discount slightly for more then one chair, as an example, but I'm going to send them AS I MAKE THEM & no two will ever be alike. I also do bulk orders on my Art switch plates & will do several for a house & discount those. I'm sure you've heard about people receiving unique items & then using cheap labor to copy them, undercutting the originator's business & it seems worth it to mention this phenomena here. All of my requests have come from the states. I personally wouldn't do wholesale for anyone overseas unless I was SURE what I was getting into. ASK! If they are legitimate, they will give you their website or what company they are working with. If they are hesitant or intuitively you don't feel good about it in GUT, don't do it.

I'll tell you what ticks me off while we're on the subject. Folks who tell me, 'I'm a poor student doing a school project, etc., so can I have this for 1/2 price or FREE? Sure. Let me get right on that. I don't know about you, but I supplement my income with this & work VERY hard on my Etsy business. Sure, I have a few friends that I do trades with, because we trust each other & it's FUN! However, if someone's just asking for something for free & not willing to make it worth my while by trading something back, 'forget about it'!

My Altar Thanks to Donna, Shayna, Vanita & Laura! : >

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Medieval Black Madonna

This is a Black Madonna Assemblage of mine In Vintage & Rustic Wooden Tool Chest. My Interpretation of Black Madonna is Within The Context of an Early European Church Influence. She has been a Consistent Part of Veneration in 25 Countries, Including the U.S., Which Brings With it an Early Spanish/Mexican Influence here as it Does in Medieval Europe. I See Her Connection to Earth, Goddess, Altar & Shrine & also Tired Catholic Interpretation; Hunched Over From the Weight of Ideological Crown & Robes. YES, the COBWEBS are on Purpose! 14.5 x 5 x 5 inches deep.

 'A link between Black Madonna of European Middle Ages ancient pagan traditions & representations has been asserted & although no direct Catholic theological sources exist, it has also been suggested that medieval veneration of the Black Madonna was in response to a line from Song of Songs 1:5 in the Old Testament: "I am black And Beautiful, O daughters of Jerusalem, ..." These words are discussed at length by St Bernard of Clairvaux, although he uses them to refer not to Mary but to the Catholic Church. Several surviving Black Madonnas are inscribed with these words, although in some cases inscriptions were added at a later date.

    * Some claim the Black Madonna grew out of pre-Christian earth goddess traditions. Their dark skin may be associated with ancient images & with the color of fertile earth. Sometimes associated with stories of being found by chance in a natural setting: in a tree or by a spring, for example. It is further asserted that some of their Christian shrines are located on the sites of earlier temples to Cybele & Diana of Ephesus.
    *  Black Madonna may derive from the Egyptian goddess Isis. The dark skin may echo an African archetypal mother figure. Early Christian pictures of a seated mother & child were influenced by images of Isis & Horus & slashes on the cheek of the Black Madonna of Częstochowa represent markings of the Eye of Horus.
    * The Black Madonna may portray the original skin tone of the Virgin Mary, thus placing the figures in apt historical contexts, as Jesus' family was more likely than not to have Semitic colors and features.
    * Black Madonnas express a feminine power that is not fully conveyed by a pale-skinned Mary, whom they assert symbolizes gentler qualities like obedience and purity. The "feminine power" approach is sometimes linked to female sexuality, which was allegedly repressed by the medieval Church.
    * May be an association with Black Madonnas, The Templars &  St. Bernard of Clairvaux. They were revered by an esoteric cult with Templar and Cathar links, but this idea is dismissed by most historians, who also reject stories of connections with Mary Magdalene & Gnosticism.

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Virgin

Abbott Handerson Thayer (Aug. 12, 1849 – May 29, 1921) was an American artist who was often described as 'eccentric & mercurial' was "a parallel contradictory mixture of academic tradition, spontaneity & improvisation in his artistic methods." Largely known as a painter of 'ideal figures' in which he portrayed women as virtuous, (in flowing white tunics or equipped with angel's wings), at the same time he was using methods that were unorthodox, like purposely mixing dirt into paint or using a broom instead of a brush to lessen rigidity.

Life became almost unbearable for Thayer & his wife during the early 1880s, when two of their small children died unexpectedly a year apart. It was around this time that he painted A Virgin, portraying Mary as strong & resolute, walking stoically towards the viewer with a child flanking each side. It's hard not to imagine the representation of the protective Mother of ALL children here, especially his own. This has long been my favorite painting of Mary; well before I read Thayer's troubled story. Her grounded youth is evident; a young yet mature teen at the time of the 'immaculate conception'.* Her hair flies around her as she hurries forward with the resolution required for the difficult tasks that surely lay ahead.

In my assemblage piece, The Virgin, I created a  portrait instead, blocking out the cold clouds & bringing in the more peaceful, vibrant scenes of the Mediterranean. This time Mary is flanked by Roman columns & flowers instead of children however; reminding us of the STILL dismissive & rigid patriarchy surrounding her & ALL women then until now.

* The first known use of virgin in ENGLISH comes from an Anglo Saxon manuscript c. 1200: "Ðar haueð... martirs and confessors, and uirgines maked faier bode inne to women", LONG AFTER the Gnostic Gospels were written. The word virgin comes via virgine from Latin virgo, genitive, virgin-is, meaning literally "maiden" or "young girl". The Latin word probably arose based on vireo, meaning "to be green, fresh or flourishing", mostly with botanic reference—in particular, virga meaning "strip of wood".  There also is no evidence of the term "immaculate conception" until well into the fifth century AD).

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Moon Museum

The Moon Museum was a small ceramic wafer three-quarter inch by half inch in size with tiny art works by six prominent artists from the late 1960's; Robert Rausenburg, David Nouvos, John Chamberlain, Forrest Myers & Andy Warhol. The wafer was supposedly attached to a leg of the Intrepid Landing Module & left on the moon during Apollo 12 where it remains today. 'Moon Museum' is considered the first space Art object. While it is impossible to tell if the Moon Museum is actually on the moon without sending another mission to look, many other personal effects were smuggled onto the Apollo 12 lander & hidden in layers of gold blankets that wrapped parts of the spacecraft.

Monday, September 5, 2011

United 93 & The Man Who Knew

I've been thinking a lot about 9/11, most likely because the 10th anniversary is approaching, which I must also say friggin' blows my mind. Ten years ago? How is that possible?

Two memories I'll share here & hope you'll also share yours in Comments. The first is I wake up & walk down the hall to see the T.V. on, without sound,  around 9am. Greg has left for work & Gabe who's almost two years old, is still asleep. I see a tall building on fire on the screen & I'm thinking, why is there a movie on at this time in the morning instead of the news? Blurry eyed & barely awake, I stand there a bit longer trying to wrap my head around the images. I don't turn the sound up for some reason, but go instead to the phone & call a friend in town who doesn't have her TV on, so then call my friend Lori & she tells me that a plane has hit the World Trade Center. The TV stays on as I go about my day with Gabe & I stop in front of it every once in awhile, staring in disbelief at the screen.

The next evening, of September 12, is the first day of my fall Intro to Psychology class at the college where I teach. We skip orientation & go straight to the topic of P.T.S.D.


United 93 was made in 2006, so several years after the events of 9/11. No one else wanted to touch 9/11 with a movie until then. What remains intriguing to me about this film is that, wherever possible, actual participants from that day are used, like Air Traffic Controllers, Airport & Air Force staff, etc., plus well edited clips of real footage, resulting in a documentary style, real time format of events surrounding that day. Of course actors were used to witness as truthfully as possible what was  simultaneously happening on Flight 93 before passengers rushed the cock-pit & it crashed in to a field in Pennsylvania, before heading to the believed White House target. It's not an easy movie to watch, but it is also non-sensationalistic or anything other then tragically & realistically done.

I would also recommend 'The Man Who Knew', a more recent documentary on Frontline about former head of the FBI flagship anti-terrorism unit in NYC, John O'Neill. He investigated bombings of the U.S. embassies in Africa & USS Cole in Yemen & for six years he led the fight to track down Al Qaeda operatives throughout the world. His flamboyant style & obsession with Osama bin Laden soon made him a controversial figure inside the buttoned-down world of the FBI. Just two weeks before Sept. 11, O'Neill left the bureau to become head of security at the World Trade Center. He died rushing back into the towers to aid in rescue efforts. You can watch the entire documentary here. 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Yolande Moreau: When the Sea Rises

I recently bought a small book about Cindy Sherman; performance artist/photographer, who transforms herself for the camera to expose the persona's women especially take on as part of our society at large. Her photos of herself are shocking, grotesque, vulnerable & tragic & take an enormous amount of gutsy risk, in my opinion.

Another woman who reminds me of Sherman in many ways is Yolande Moreau: a Belgian actress I've written about before as portraying Seraphina, a little know artist. I just watched her directorial debut made in 2006, called, When The Sea Rises. It's a tragic/comedy love story between Irene, a comedienne in her 40's, who is traveling through France with her one-woman show, 'Sale Affaire', (Dirty Business). She encounters Dries, a younger vagabond, who becomes smitten with her & her show. Although regular cell phone calls remind us she has a husband & child waiting at home, Irene becomes charmed by her ardent & tender admirer who is also a street performer as a 'Giant' in parades.


Here we see a woman who entertains the audience as a grotesque behind her mask, while she remains planted firmly in both worlds of performer & wife, (who picks out tiles for a home renovation with her husband). It's when she enters this relationship with a fellow performer that the lines between persona's become blurred. Very well done.