Monday, November 30, 2015

Does Mother Nature have a good lawyer?

Some nights it's hard to sleep, knowing the truth about my evil ways. I'm a kleptomaniac. I steal good ideas from Mother Nature all the time. Whew, that confession felt good! 

But...I have a great excuse!   I'm a Nature Artist. I use raw materials from the Great Outdoors to celebrate the beauty of nature. So if there's a stick that delicately curves off into infinity...of course I'll appreciate it and maybe even bring it home to use in a sculpture that celebrates branches that curve into infinity.

This dancing stick framed by an dramatic!

What about something that's almost a completed spirit house, like, oh lets say, a cherry tree burl? All it really needs is a door and it's done. Is that too much of a rip off?

carol yamada sculptures
OK, does this look like a heart to anyone else?

This burl was in my shop for two years before I heard it calling from under the work bench. I moved it onto the workbench for awhile. Too bulky to keep there,  threw it into the discard pile, then pulled it back out, put it on the bench again and let it sit there a couple of weeks.

It is after all a charming little burl. The moss is still green after a couple of years. Maybe it has a future. Eventually I turned it around of course and saw the house it was asking to be. On the non-mossy house it was just a slash of wood, hollowed out.

Carol Yamada Scullpture
Just needed a little rehab to be to be move-in ready

All it really needed was a door, a weathered door, and maybe some windows.

Oh, and there's room for a light inside, so it'll need a chimney. One that looks like there's been many fires inside, because this isn't a new house at all. Oh look at this perfect cluster of branches poking out. Of course...I used to have more wood from this, my neighbor's prize cherry.  It only took an hour to find a branch from that particular tree - it has to match, right?

And steps, because the way to enter the secret passage is up a little high to reach.

A shingled roof is a bit too finished for this house, so I roofed it with shards of moss-hued wood. Sort of playful...and over the door needs a little coverage too, come to think of it. It rains a lot where moss like this grows. 

Yo! Nature spirits! Step into the warm.

Even if Mother Nature doesn't have any gripes with using her intricately beautiful bits of creation, I hope that my alterations aren't stealing the glory here. As an artist I want to create something fun, but also thought provoking. We share this world with so many other creatures and we live in generous biomes that we didn't create and can never replicate. 

If putting a little face and character on bits of nature makes anyone pause and think twice about how we interact with nature, then to me it's good art. But I think I'll still call my lawyer, just in case Mother Nature has a lawyer AND a temper!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Flowers Protect Us?

The video recently of the little French boy wondering how flowers can protect us from guns resonated with millions of hearts. It's naive to think a flower can stop a bullet! There's crazy terrorists out there, we will stop a terrorist, again?

It really is the flowers. The lovely fragile flower of our hearts that knows you can't stop a bullet with a bullet - knows that that's the fantasy thinking that's gotten us into this massive mess. The lovely flower of our hearts fearlessly pops out of the warm safe earth into the unknown, intent to grow and bloom, discuss the weather with bees and be its lovely own self. Flower hearts just do that.

Dream big, fearless dreams full of flowers!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

What the Heck is a Wilding??

This has been a year rocking with change for me.   (Anybody saying Yeah, Me Too?) 'Changes' sounds nicer than loss, it may even cover up loss, but often stems from loss. Last year I lost my Mom, my husband’s Mom, and my giant Oak Tree. Does it sound funny to combine them? They were all 'moms' to me. They were tall and strong and with their limbs and love defined where the sky began and how to gracefully weather life’s storms. Part of my leaving grief was finally seeing the void they’d left, and seeing how, without them, I would interact differently with my world. I was the matriarch of my life, my family and my land. It was up to me to define where the sky began.

How can I determine where the metaphorical sky begins?   First, I questioned all the facts I thought I knew about life. On a long drive to the coast I considered pretty much everything I thought was true. Most things were old ideas, or things someone else had told me was true. They weren't experiential or examined. I could debunk pretty much every 'truth' I thought of, even deeply held ones. You know, for years I'd been measuring the world by standards and ethics and truths that weren't universal at all!  It had been lots of work to do that, molding a reality based on these 'truths'. I decided to dump that thinking and by the time I got to the coast, I was feeling really good. Really light and free! My new outlook is to keep curious and see the world without all those filters.
Clap if you've been there!

I’m excited by how my newly energized curiosity affected my artwork. 
  • I started teaching my own workshops this year. I’d co-taught with my mentor before and never had the urge to teach on my own. I got curious about what it would be like…  Wowza! It’s way different in a good way!  Each student blessed me. 
  • I started playing with new materials. What would happen if...? became the shop motto!
  • I started honoring more what my heart and mind were saying and letting that pop out through in my art.

It's this last part, working from inside my heart instead of building fairy houses that marks the real shift for me. The fairy houses I've made and sold up til now are comfy dwellings for fairies. These new ones don't all feel like fairy houses anymore. Some are edgier, some even have political aspirations. Basically they're starting to have a voice, a viewpoint. I don't know what to call them...Spirit Houses doesn't work, Natural Houses...but Wildings seems to stick, I even can imagine little Wildings running through the forest full of yippee! energy!

This house is the first Wilding I built after my trip to Ireland, in search of fairies of course, is what I mean by more personal. I was fascinated by the energy in Ireland and that, instead of windows and mouldings, translated into the wall of this fairy house. 

Oh Ireland!  That's a topic for a whole other newsletter!

Oh yeah, I was also curious what kind of photos a professional photographer would take of my fairy houses, so we had a little faerie house glam session that resulted in pics like the one above. What do you think....too dark or deliciously moody??

In peace,

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

I almost never sketch out a house. The times that I do are interesting. I sometimes get pretty close to the sketch!  This is the sketch for the lighthouse I'm making.

It'll have a gum-drop feeling as the tons of snail shells I have will twirl up the light tower.  And another shell will be a topper. 
Well, it'll be a few days before we see how close I got!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

One of the fun things about creating art is that every once in awhile someone asks  me to build something just for them. A custom project. Yippee!!

I got a big box in the mail this week and opened it up to find all of these carefully wrapped shells and bits of treasure my client had gathered in Maine. Wrapped like they were Grandma's blown glass Christmas ornaments. These shells really stood out because we don't have them on our beaches here. What are they?  And the crumbled shell-sand - how pretty is that!  I want a BOX of just the pretty sand.
But - Focus now!   She doesn't want a fairy house. Better!  She wants a fairy lighthouse!  
Will bioluminescent water spirits live there?  That's what I'm going for!!! will this work??