Working Together

"We shape our self
to fit this world

and by the world
are shaped again..."

Excerpt from "Working Together" © David Whyte
in The House of Belonging

Many Rivers Press

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

You Can Leave the Light On

I don't draw much anymore so when the opportunity presented itself to contribute art to a local arts organization, Allied Arts here in Bellingham, I was a little apprehensive. I decided I would try. The task was to decorate donated lampshades to be auctioned off as a fundraiser for the arts in education programs the organization supports in the community. I had some paper that was given to me a few years back and I thought I would draw on that to make a design for the light to enhance when turned on. I'm pretty much a one-trick pony when it comes to visual art. I draw abstract pen drawings on just about anything. This time, a lampshade.

I've never taken my interest in drawing with pen and ink any further than doodling. Consequently I'm not trained as an artist so this is a risky situation when I take on making something someone else is going to put in their home. It crosses my mind, "Will this burn someone's house down, strapping me to them artistically and karmically like Ahab shackled to Moby Dick?" (but perhaps I read too much John Irving)...I have no idea what will work and what is archive quality, let alone what's flammable! In spite of this I decided to try it, using my artistically inclined friends to help when I'd get stuck. Aye, there's the training...

No doubt, when you attend any school that is going to have you manually wrestling with any medium, one of the first things they are going to tell you is, "tie your hair back". It never occurred to me that I should consider my unruly mane before I undertook an art project. Consequently my lampshade has embedded in a seam for all time a genetic thread to the artist, a long streaming hair from my ponytail. I considered withdrawing my donation when I discovered this after I lacquered the entire shade (of course it would be at the very end that I find it). I then found the original pleated voile covering that I removed to decorate the shade and it occurred to me that maybe if I covered the shade with a negligee it would disguise the blemish. It occurred to me that there is some other word for a garment that is thrown over a negligee but I could not recall it. My muse using Google eventually came to my rescue with the word I sought: a "peignoir"... which is a garment worn by a woman to brush out her hair to keep the all the hair from sneaking about into unwanted places while she's grooming. No kidding... So I took the cover and designed a little removable peignoir for the shade, which covers up the special present in the seam, should that be disconcerting to the lampshade owner.

I imagine partnered people putting the peignoir on the lamp as a discreet sign to let each other know when one or the other might be inclined to " change the oil in the Buick" or something....I've heard that couples sometimes create special messages for each other....As for myself, I prefer the universal means of non-verbal communicating to the world. I turn my porch light off when I don't want to be tricked or treated.

So here is my imperfect offering. I took a lot of pictures because, frankly, I was kind of surprised that I could draw at all and I suspect that this ability will be lost to me in the somewhat near I'm happy the way it turned out. I hope that someone else likes it and Allied Arts makes some money by selling it.

"You Can Leave the Light On;
Enlightenment with Peignoir"

Peignoir: A long outer garment for women frequently sheer and made of chiffon or other translucent fabrics. The word comes from the french peignoir, to comb the hair describing a garment worn while brushing one's hair, originally referring to a dressing gown or bathrobe.
I can't wait until the first Friday Art Walk this weekend when I get to see all the artists ideas in a room together. It is always pretty amazing where creative people will run to with an idea when given the opportunity. Hope to see you there.

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