It worked!! I was experimenting with hair from Devyn's first haircut, and it worked. They need cleaned up around the edges and polished, but here is the general idea. Now, to attach a thingy to run a chain through and voila! Gorgeousness. I added glitter to the bird, just as an experiment and it came out really well. Now, think about lavendar, sage or other symbolic elements and some gold leaf. We are on the road to custom pendants and charms filled with what is closest to our hearts.
Oh, the memory mirror. It is a conglomeration of all the minutia I've accumulated throughout the years, and its amazing that something as common and ordinary as sticks or as grotesque and morbid as dead fish bones can be used and turned into something beautiful. For art, I collect anything from driftwood to shells to glass beads (I've got a thing for cobalt blue ones), bones, broken glass, ropes and hooks. In the above picture, you can see the glass rocks aligning the frame and the glass mosaic squares added for design elements.
Like the sea, the broken mirror pieces reflect aspects of who we are. On a nice day, we can be chilled and relaxed, having fun in a bathing suit with sun tan lotion on. On a terribly rocky boat, we are prone to getting sick and cursing the one who talked you into going out without checking the weather first. After a life changing event, we can become someone failing to hold themselves or others together. Which aspect is the real you? Which is the real sea? They all are. And we are as transient as the sea's moods.
Yes, this fits into the category of sentimental, memorial and mourning art combined. The mirror's name comes from the fact that the sea has taken so much, especially from those of us who have lived on the southern coast (and now perhaps the northeastern part, too).
The sea didn't take my house in Katrina, but it took my Dad's. No one realizes that sometimes its not the houses that get demolished, but the beliefs about who you were and what is dependable get washed away.
I'd always played the super-responsible and care-taking role, but I couldn't any more. I broke. Seeing so much suffering day in and day out, plus old memories of childhood being dug up had taken its toll. Truth told, I was dealing with PTSD. No one tells you that you don't have to be in a war to get that or that the things you do to cope with PTSD can compound it and make it worse. Things like: Having to tell my elderly father that I wasn't emotionally capable at the time of helping him rebuild. He was on his own and that was painful to see.
God does find a way because a church group helped him put his house back together again and he loved their company. That was 2005. Next March, a week to the day after my 33rd birthday, he passed away without ever getting out of the FEMA trailer and into his "new" house. That was hard enough, but he died with the belief that I didn't help him because I didn't love him. A bit of time later, the sea took the ashes of my father, too.
But the sea, too, gives back. After the mess that Katrina was, both inside and outside my head, I was given the breath of freedom in a thought. "I had stayed in an uncomfortable place my whole life for other people and now was the time to get out of it". We had a baby son who I didn't want to grow up as skeeter-food or have to deal with the insecurity of possibly having his parents, house or toys blown away. Stephen was happy with the idea, too, because he was tired of the heat, bugs and hurricanes that is the Mississippi Gulf Coast. We packed up and moved our conglomerative collections to Washington state. (more below the next picture)
It took us 8 days and 2 trucks to get us and our stuff here, but it was so worth it. The air smelled clean, the sun was bright and clear and who ever heard of seeing mountains from Wal Mart?? The first thing we did, besides see the houses, was go to the beach. Beaches here aren't like beaches in Mississippi, they have CLEAR water! The water doesn't smell and the ground is covered with colored rocks, driftwood and beach glass seen below. And I've been bitten by mosquitoes more in 15 minutes in MS than the entire 5 months we've been here.
I love the iridescent colors that show up where and when you least expect it. Nope, thats not a trick in photoshop or a trick of light, it really does have blue and green glitter that shows up sometimes, sometimes purple shimmer, sometimes turquoise. Just like the sea, this mirror has its moods, too. (And Pisces people, too, btw). Some of the shells are hidden, like the one in the lower right of the frame, painted and then highlighted with opalescent powders, some are natural.
Broken mirror from who knows where, a clear glass casualty of a mishap. But my favorite thing is the seahorse my Mom gave me. She doesn't buy dead animals (we're all about saving the animals), this is something that came from either her days of shrimping or from her and my father's relationship. The beads are commercial, but sometimes design has to come before meaning. Can't find that much cobalt sea glass at the beach!
What does the whole thing mean? The sea was the beginning of a journey and its the destination. One of my favorite things to do here is beach-comb.
The mirror's meaning: Its a pulling together of the various parts of my life to tell a cohesive story, a cohesive person. To leave out or deny one would take away from the beauty, complexity, depth and intricacy of the person AND the composition. Isn't that true for everyone?
I am a life long artist, divorced from a 20 year marriage and a Mommy to a gorgeous little boy for 3 years.