Well - things really haven't gotten better. Sweet Sedgewick the Monkey cat died suddenly last week. The sad part of having so many sweet furry children is that they eventually leave us and take a big piece of our hearts with them when they go. We are down to 2 cats and 2 dogs at Casa de Enchy, the fewest fur children that have been in residence in recent memory. We won't be adding any new kids for a while - perhaps not at all. We'll see.
In any event - the BIG NEW PROJECT. When I was so sick in bed in January I had plenty of time to do not much more than think - and think I did. While I was thinking, I was also sometimes listening to the television - kinda. I was also really pretty medicated up. So in this medicated and extremely ill state, I partially listened to a documentary about some artist on the Ovation channel - which artist? who knows (I was sick remember?) But what I did catch was the notion of creating a 'meaningful body of work'. That phrase kept running through my head. Meaningful body of work. And I thought about my own art - and how disjointed it is - I'm made a lot of it, it really doesn't lend itself to the definition I have in my head of a 'meaningful body of work'. There are some pieces that might be termed 'meaingful' but the majority is rather insignificant.
And so I thought about it. I thought long and hard about where I wanted to go with my art - I thought long and hard about just stopping - selling everything off or giving it away and having a tidy, normal house - one that doesn't have an art studio in the living room. One that doesn't have drawers labeled 'bones and wee skulls' or 'large rusty bits'. I thought about that quite seriously. It was like I was at some sort of precipice - live/die; art/no art; go forward/stay where i am. I need to find a focus; a clarity in my work or I needed to just hang it up. I believe the term is 'shit or get off the pot'.
And so I thought about it - some more. Remember I had close to a month in bed fading in and out of dreamland - the fancy honey flavored cough syrup the doc wrote the prescription for; while it cost $75 after my insurance kicked in whatever portion they paid; did indeed give me some much needed rest and great dreams. And the month of my sickness was followed by the time I spent with Charles in the cardiac ICU. You have a lot of time to sit and think when someone you love is hooked to lots of wires and tubes. I thought and I thought. Maybe it was being surrounded by what seemed like constant death as well as my own self dancing on the brink for a bit there myself and Charles actually dying for a bit; but I kept coming back to the same place. Where did I want to go - what did I want to do? I KNEW that I wanted to create a 'substantial body of work'.
And so, I came up with "The BIG project". It's actually called "The Shrine Project". My initial plan was to make 5 shrines a month for 10 years. Yes, I said TEN YEARS. SIX HUNDRED SHRINES In that period of time I just MIGHT come up with a meaningful body of work - If I FOCUS - because through focus we find clarity. Ten years I thought to myself. Really? TEN YEARS? You'll be 66 then I thought. But then the little voice inside me said - you'll be 66 then if you do it or not. Yes indeed - I will be 66 then if I do it or not. I could be 66 and still thinking about where I wanted to go - or I could just go there.
And so begins "The Shrine Project". Of course I'm late starting it because my hands still don't really work - we'll they work, they just hurt all the time. And it's really not my hands, it my fingertips. Every minute of every day they feel like little bees are stinging them - we are working on a medication level to fix them - so far it has brought the pain down from an 8 to maybe a 6 - that is good - 8 was making me suicidal. But I also have decided that my fingertips may very well hurt for the rest of my life and I just have to suck it up.
I haven't touched an art supply since late December - just before I got sick. And not making art didn't make my fingers feel better so I may as well just go forward and see what they can do. They are going to hurt if I use them or not - I might have to adapt, use different tools, different media - but the joy of The Shrine Project is that I can use all sorts of different media and methods. I'll be setting up another blog or maybe a website and there will be an Etsy site to sell the shrines because there is only so much room at Casa de Enchy.
And so this past weekend I got out some supplies - I have to clear 4 months worth of flotsam and jetsam off the work table before I can actually accomplish anything but I have a plan. A minimum of an hour a night after work - no matter how tired I am because we all know that even when we are tired, once we start at our work tables we suddenly are refreshed. And that begins tonight - the day after Beltane - a good time for new beginnings.
I'll keep you posted. Thanks for coming along for the ride. If you want to make some shrines with me I'll create a flickr site for us all. I won't hold you to making 600 though.