Thursday, July 28, 2011

Buried Treasure: An Altered Page Collaborative

Seth Apter is at it again! Today he's invited bloggers to join him in reposting Buried Treasure in the form of favourite posts from our blog archives. I have to tell you that it was no mean feat to come up with content for today-I've been blogging for 7 years and had almost 1300 posts to sift through! It took me an entire week, but I've chosen a couple that I hope you'll enjoy. (Again, if you've followed my blog all this time or now if you missed them the first time.)

It's been interesting combing through 7 years of my life. This blog has really become a snapshot in time of my artistic life. It was interesting to read back through it. I actually gained alot of insight about how I've evolved as an artist.

Anyway, here are the two posts I decided to re-share. To discover more buried treasure, click here to see the lists of participating artists on Seth's blog.

Where I Am From
May 5, 2006 

After seeing this post by Amy Powers of Inspire Co., I thought I'd do the "Where I'm From" poetry exercise/meme, using a poem written by George Ella Lyons called "Where I'm From," as a model. Enjoy!

Where I Am From

I am from summers spent throwing stones

into the muddy Red River,

Just to hear them go ker-plunk.

I am from bicycles with banana seats and baskets

And shrill little bells that we rang just because.

I am from hours spent playing at the bear pit

Trying to master walking the high arched wall.

I am from peeling sunburns and mosquito bites,

from tether ball and hopscotch at recess.

I am from Shrine Circuses

and men with fezes riding tiny motorcycles.

I am from watching the Bombers wrapped in blankets

with a windchill factor of -20.

I am from perogies and kolbassa for breakfast,

From the Red River Ex, Folkarama

and The Museum of Man and Nature.

I am from driving 3 hours to swim at Birds Hill

And paying 5 cents for Strawberry marshmallows.

I am from jellied salads and Pick-a-pop,

from the Golden Boy and speaking French,

From Uncle Bob and Marvin the mouse,

and "Beefs & Bouquets" on the radio weekly.

I am from watching spring break up on the Assinaboine

from playing from sun up to sundown,

From trips to Dutch Maid and Bonnie Bell lip gloss,

from scraped knees and stealing crab apples of neighbourhood trees.

I am from growing up in daycare listening to Queen,

from seeing Star Wars when no one knew what it was yet,

from Holly Hobby and Little House on the Prairie

and making god's eyes from yarn and popsicle sticks.

I am from onion topped churches with funny crosses,

from riding buses and being cold to the bone.

I am from the ear shattering sound of winter silence

from disco, polyester turtlenecks and wool hair ties.

I am from lilacs and boulevards,

From knowing my neighbours and

considering them family.

I am from belonging to friends


The Work of My Hands
January 19, 2011

 Today I decided to focus my camera on my hands. My hands have become a big issue in my life because 3 years ago, I lost all the feeling in my hands. It was caused by the damage MS did to my spinal cord. I can now only sense hot, cold and pain and those sensations are blown way out of proportion. (A paper cut feels like I've chopped a finger off, touching something cold or hot hurts.)

 When I first lost the feeling in my hands, it was pretty scary. I was in the process of being diagnosed and so I didn't tell anyone, other than my close friends and family. It took a long time for my brain to adjust. I had to relearn how to do everything you do with your hands, on my own. It was very trying, struggling with even the simplest of tasks. I got frustrated alot and many times I thought I'd have to stop making art, the thought of which was just soul crushing.

If you put on a pair of oven mitts and then spend even an hour trying to go about your normal day, you'd have a small glimpse into what it feels like to live with no feeling in your hands. Try buttoning something or zipping a zipper, brushing your teeth or tying your shoe. Not so simple now, is it?

I feel a sense of awe at how the body trouble shoots the things it can't heal. After about a year, with alot of hard work and persistence, I managed to regain understanding between my brain and my hands. The communication between them is not the same anymore-instead of using a cellphone, they are using two tin cans and a string, but it works. It means I can sit here and type this post. It means I can make art. It might take me a little longer-somethings are still challenging, but I still get the job done.

When I think about my hands, I can't help but think of my Gramps. He suffered multiple strokes over my lifetime. He was a gifted carpenter and cabinet maker. He worked with his hands his whole life, even when he too was robbed of the feeling from neurological damage from the strokes and the effects of diabetes. I think about how hard it was for him and he never complained-he just quietly went about his business. He taught me everything  about resilience, grace and courage.

So that is why I have turned the lense towards my hands today. I wanted to honour how they serve me and in turn serve others in my life. They are powerful tools. The work they do is sacred and vital and I look at them with awe and respect.


Sherry said...

I'm so pleased that you are taking part in Seth's Buried Treasure...and while it may have taken you a week to come up with 2 treasures of the many that you share, these are heart touching. The poem made me smile because it's that glimpse into who you are and how you "became" the you that you are today, even with more change and more evolution of your soul and your spirit. The photographs of your hands and the description of how this feels and the determination and strength you've applied to as you said you "managed to regain understanding between my brain and my hands" -- the tests we are given, the challenges we face lead us to such a deeper appreciation for life, for things we have and often take for granted. Honouring your hands is a gift to you. xo

Poetic Artist said...

This is such a wonderful post. Your words and our hands. Truly enjoyed it. Thank you.

magpie said...

what a delight to discover your blog via seth's buried treasure.
the poem inspires me to write my own...once i can tear myself from all the buried treasure.

deborah from collagewhirl said...

I've just found you too thanks to Seth. Thanks for sharing both these stories--your courage and strength will keep you making art.

Holly Dean Artist said...

I am completely inspired by the posts you presented in Seth's Buried Treasure. I can only imagine what a treasure trove you had to sift through. Your words, your hands, your soul... all are beautiful.

deb did it said...

this is such a powerful post. Thank you