Monday, May 24, 2010

Speaking of Trash

I recently read Secrets of Rusty Things by assemblage artist Michael deMeng. Ironically I rescued it from my daughters discard bin on a recent visit to her home.

The rich earthy colors of the cover drew my eye and the promise of "Inspiration that will have you checking your trash bin twice" closed the deal.

I have to be honest. It is not at all what I expected. Secrets of Rusty Things is not a how to book. There are no instructions here, no practical applications anywhere between the covers.

Instead the reader is provided a rare treat, a glimpse into the artist's thought processes and the story of his inspiration.

Mr. deMeng describes 10 of his artworks in this manner and it makes very entertaining reading (especially if you enjoy ancient myths and legends).

Best news for me: I am not crazy, or at least I am not alone in my craziness. Mr. deMeng also talks to his work and does some of his best thinking in the shower.

The Attraction of Trash

Rusty things appeal to me. Their aged appearance suggests history and a distant past.

There doesn't necessarily have to be rust any old patina will do.

The blues and greens of copper exposed to salt water and acid rain, time darkened silver and rich gleaming brass are all beautiful in my eyes.

Coins found in the street are treasure. It's even better when they have been run over a few times. Unidentified bits of hardware from a friends junk drawer are fascinating. Pieces of brass hardware from the salvage yard force me to bring them home.

This trash fuels my imagination.

Shown a little love from steel wool, the Dremel or a polishing cloth their surfaces become amazing. The process of combining them with other objects to create wearable art provides me with many hours of work that both intrigues and fascinates.

I decree that my theme song shall be Oscar the Grouch's:

I love trash

Anything dirty or dingy or dusty

Anything ragged or rotten or rusty

Yes I love trash.

P.S. I'm not so sure about the rotten bits!

Bead For Life

My Mother, Ella, is wonderful. She is the matriarch of The FamiLee jewels and her industrious lifestyle and ethical behavior are an inspiration to the rest of us. Nana, as she is known to her grandchildren and great grandchildren, enjoys making jewelry as much as the rest of us. One of her recent additions to our FamiLee jewelry store is a beribboned green box full of colorful bracelets made from paper beads. Not just any paper beads but beads made by women in Uganda that bead to support their family's and their communities.
Bead for Life is an entrepreneurial organization started in that country in an effort to provide income to the region.
The Bead for Life Mission Statement: Bead For Life creates sustainable opportunities for women to lift their family's out of extreme poverty by connecting people worldwide in a circle of exchange that enriches everyone.
Since 2004 Bead for Life has trained 660 beaders in a cottage industry that supports the community. The money raised from the sale of the beads and jewelry has assisted beaders to build 106 houses, a community building and 2 wells. 150 members of Bead for Life have become economically self sufficient.
Nana is an independent woman. A feminist before it was fashionable or even socially acceptable to be so. She raised 4 children nearly single handedly and struggled to work full time and go to school while doing so. She understands the difficulties of providing for your family and has respect and admiration for women that have found a way to accomplish that goal despite deplorable living conditions.
We informed many people about Bead for Life at our most recent show and by the end of the day the green box with it's satin ribbon was empty.
Bead for Life beaders we are telling your story, and your supporters are a growing legion. The week after our show a young woman stopped me and asked for Bead for Life's contact information, so that she can buy beads of her own. She has decided to use them to make rosary's for her church.
Bead for Life we applaud you for:
Eradicating poverty one bead at a time.