ragtags studio central: sarah's random this & that

random means "having no definite aim or purpose," (1655), taken from "at random" (1565), "at great speed" (thus, "carelessly, haphazardly"). In 1980s college student slang, it somehow, and sadly, acquired a distinct sense of "inferior, undesirable." (Online Etymology Dictionary, Douglas Harper) Well, okay, fine, Mr. Online Etymology Dictionary person, but THIS is the 21st Century. It's a whole new ball of wax.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

{Feels like} a Flash from the Past

Was on ebay for some reason the other day and happened to run across this review (see below) of In This House! Makes me wanna read it - and very glad I wrote it! Thanks Janet, for at least nudging me to revisit!

"I'm so very pleased that I took a chance on buying In This House. I half expected it to be a tutorial and that I might get a little more inspiration for my own work. I was delighted to note, during the first flip through, that it is so much more than that.
I think that many people want to use their skills to make "altered art" and "altered books" and what happens so often is just a hodgepodge of junk or repeats on the same themes. There is not much staying power.
This book presents a challenge, a simple house shape, asking the contributing artists to use the template to build a book that illustrates what home is to and for them. They are left to make of the challenge what they will.
What emerges is a neighbourhood of artists. A map is even supplied to help the visitor get to know the lay of the land.
At each house we are bid welcome to come in explore and make ourselves at home. Each chapter is a new house to visit, with a new mistress to get to know, her personality, her sayings, her heart's decoration (bloom where you are planted), the memory verses that keep her propped-up. We see her strengths and style, stories that are shared and secrets we must keep.
After our visit we have a chance to have a one-on-one with the lady of the house, the artists, and within a 2 page exchange we have a chance to have some questions answered.
I was reminded of my time as a young bride running to neighbours to learn a skill as my mother lived some distance from me. The doors of some houses were more welcoming than others and the advice whether it worked for me or not was always free.
Tonight is my 4th night in the book. I have so enjoyed it, I have been pacing myself and only allowing 2 houses a night. I love the ideas that are unspoken in this book (a) Some houses are small and some bigger (more pages).
(b) Each artist chooses her strengths plus practical skills to use to feather her nest.
(c) The mistress of the house can be true or imaginary.
(d) She chooses the time, situation and story.
I find the whole thing so familiar as I live on a block of 95 year old houses. There are 9 houses on a row that were all put up the same summer by the same company. Some like mine have had 5 owners while others 27. Some are happy houses while one is the divorce house (no marriage has survived it) We have built good relationships and taught each other many things but every house though architecturally the same is completely different landscaped and inside.
This book brings the idea of community together.
Although I have not completed In This House yet, I am already regretting finishing it. I feel that I know these ladies though we have never met, another cup of tea would be wonderful. I almost wish that the last page had photos of each of them...but I guess we know enough.
Finally I truly feel that this creative effort - book - is a resounding success. Yes I will use it as a resource book for techniques but more that that, it challenges me to put me on the page. To reveal myself or my character with conviction. A more critical eye to stay true to this value will be more important to me now in my altered work and not just to combine random items because they are pleasing to my eye.
To the collaborators and the editors, bravo. In This House will be enjoyed and shared for years to come. It stands on its own as a gallery of amazing art.
Now to knock on the doors of houses 7 and 8..."
Janet Hannam