Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Shoe Box That Gave My Art Wings

I am trying to explain my writers block to my friend Joe. He tells me, "Remember, the basic format is always "obstacle is an opportunity." The easy irony. Definitely either go with that or go with a double-irony, "this obstacle wasn't an opportunity, we thought it would be, but here's what went down." This kind of premeditation in writing fills me with the same performance anxiety I had after I begun to studying Art Therapy as an undergrad. After all that talking about method, something occurred to me that wasn't too political or too personal. 

"Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who
supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of
fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the
ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth."

- Mary Schmich (1997.)

A friend came by today with a huge boot-sized shoebox of supplies for a Zine. She's not the first friend of mine to suggest it and in fact, I used to collect them in high school and college but I had never been a part of the process. I was a bit nervous. Art is very personal and sacred. Not something you share with just anyone. (She says as she types a blog on the interwebs.)

An hour in, the Yorkshire Gold had been consumed and our artistic courtship is over. We are up to our elbows in her stories and poems, the layout, the other stories. I kept wondering, "how will it fold?" as I ran back to my room to dig through the box with some gems, "Here's a creepy collage I made and look, now I know why I printed out all those old blogs from 2010." The Sun and Utne Magazine are excellent collage fodder for leftist arty types, in case you were wondering.

It's funny because just last week at work we were all joking about how the old school program of working on marketing was done with actual cutting with scissors and pasting, with glue. Here we were at the table, scissors and glue in hand.

Then like Mary Poppins, she poured the contents of the table into her shoebox and was off, promising to be nice to my original art. 
It will be fun to see what she drums up. It will be fun to see it all in print. All those different flavors of art mixed into a concise, arty, literary sandwich. Surely my contributions are better off there than slowly decaying in the sad little box in my closet.

The history of the pieces I sent home with my friend are varied. Some are relics of a depression so dark, I never expected to find my way out of it. Some are stories of parenthood about potty training victories and making sure at a windy beach that my son chews his sand covered banana softly so as to not hurt his teeth.

So instead of letting my artistic creations rot in a dark closet, they have new wings with my friend and her Zine. Keep your eyes peeled for them at a coffeehouse near you. 


  1. And you can bet I will be back with my carpet bag (shoe box) of mysteries and nonsense. But you better watch out or I'll make you the next top ten list... "how I love thee, Jessica Ehlers, let me count the ways..."

    1. Thanks, Lolly. As long as it's a love list...

  2. Great way to utilize and recycle art, it seems essentially you are allowing it breath and now it will once again have a voice and a life of it own, marvelous!! Love the idea.

    1. Jenny, I think it's all recycled anyway so this is just maybe a more obvious method. It will be fun to see what Lolly comes up with!