I want, first of all, to thank this lady for the use of her "Frozen Charlotte" photo. I have one too, and mine is a little different, having wings and no body, but a head and a flat piece of metal with a piece of writing paper inside so that a message of condolences could be given to a parent or relatives who had lost usually a child or baby. These Frozen Charlottes were a late Victorian art form for Children mostly and they had bodies with solid forms and no movement at all. The fad lasted into the 1920's, but the idea of people preserving memories of children that had died very young or perhaps were stillborn persisted into the 1950's. One of my best friends had a photo taken holding her stillborn baby, I am sure something she would always preserve. A friend with stage 4 cancer made mine for me and for years it has sat on the edge of a ledge with my collection of angels and beautiful crosses. I am spiritual, but I don't attend churches, and I have always loved these things. But for years, these lovely things in my collection have sat protected on shelves and on top of a shelf and hanging on the wall. They sat there, inanimate and going largely forgotten but still loved, as happens with many of our collections. As I took them down one by one to pack up to go to our new home, a transformation began to take shape in my mind. I intend to put my Frozen Charlotte and all the birds of all kinds I have collected for years into my peach tree, where they can move with the breeze and bring life to the area. As for my angels and crosses, I intend to put them up on a high cement wall behind our home that separates us from neighbors way above us. It will become my Garden of Angels, and when one of our beloved pets passes on, I will have a box to put it in and bury it there and it will have an angel or a cross above it. In this way, I can keep my family with me, and someday when I pass from this plane, I told my significant other, Richard, to put a cross down near my family for me too. I am donating my body to Life Science, and I really believe in that, for it will be used for study if not for replacement parts for others, and when they are through studying or using it in important ways, they will cremate it at no charge for me. Richard will do the same, and if a person is a male or female vet, they can have their ashes transferred to a VA cemetery. I have their number and they come and pick up the deceased at no charge to anyone. In this time when life is changing so much for all of us, perhaps one of the best ways we can manage is to find ways to help others. I am glad to see that happen. Something about transforming things into a sort of living "Garden" really appeals to me. Over the years, I have received a lot of bullying from grade school to being a senior, but I am letting go of that too as my personal transformation. Like my Garden of Angels, I want to live a life free of unnecessary worries and anger at others for having power over me. No one has power over me except me, myself, and I. I am ready for the future and whatever comes from it. Being a lifetime victim serves no one, and definitely not me. Some of my goals right now are to become a volunteer for CASA (Court-appointed Special Advocate) for foster children. I just finished reading two books I could not put down by David Pelzer, who was one of the worst cases of child abuse to ever happen in California, and I have read another tragic story of another foster child who became a victim of the system, which happens often. If I were not older than dirt, I would definitely become a foster parent myself, but since I am a senior, I will be an advocate instead. I have already done my training and they have advocates in every state almost. I also want to become a volunteer tutor again for special needs children and young adults and ESL students, as well as illiterate adults. And I want to finish some of my art projects to donate to worthwhile charities. There are so many needs today, so I feel that is the best use I can make of whatever art I can finish. And I want to finish a book I am compiling of all the poetry I have written over the years and hopefully benefit some worthwhile cause with my earnings. Having goals in life is important. Whether we can realistically finish them all or not, the key is to have goals and dreams to reach for as we go forward in time. You all likely will not hear from me again until we are through moving and I think we take possession of our home on the 29th, but whether we have our computers hooked up or not is unknown right now. Because we are just moving in, we have to show proof of our title and our ID but they say they can turn everything on in one day. We will see. It will all work out and things tend to do. Love and hugs to you all always, Anne
I have been transforming my relationship with God or The One over the past year, and I have given this beautiful statement from Richard Rohr a lot of thought for its truth. I have become aware of how everything in the universe is sacred and it was provided for us to give us everything we could need or want for nourishment, for thirst, and for protection from the elements if we but make it our purpose to look for it and use it wisely. I have become aware of how there are many, many forms of humankind on this earth, and we were put here so that we could all learn how to get along, and to help this good earth to continue to survive.
I love this little piece of writing because it rings true for us all, and offers us a way to what spirituality or religion is intended to be. These days when I have to end the life of a bug or I cut a rose, or perhaps fail to appreciate so-called weeds of the earth, I stop myself and think about it, and suddenly I can see the beauty that surrounds us in its many forms. We have derived words that devalue even the nature of creatures and plants that were put on this earth for a reason.
Now I spend time each day meditating on all of these things and so much more that is related to my relationship with God and with the universe. Things look different for I am changed too.
I wish that all children had an opportunity to learn some form of music. It is so good for the soul and I honestly believe it helps them to be able to learn other things as well more easily. If every child in every culture, every nation, had music from such an early age, do you think we might have a more peaceful world?
When I saw the photo of this beautiful and diminutive lady in the newspaper, I was inspired to create her likeness in a quilt which is still not finished. There is something about finishing it that reminds me of her life, for her goal is unfinished, and her country of Myanmar is still unfinished in the sense of gaining freedom for her people, so in a way it seems appropriate to be unfinished. I will finish it I am certain, but I have to make some adjustments to it in the direction she is facing and the overall size, etc. of the quilt. Giving it texture will enhance the quilt greatly just as giving texture to life enhances it as well.
I love people who make a commitment in life that they will pursue despite whatever challenges or dangers they face in the process. Called “The Father of Democracy” by the people of the country, her father was assassinated when Aung San Suu Kyi was just two years old. Despite such heart-breaking challenges, she steadfastly stuck by her beliefs even though she was under house arrest for years and has faced unbelievable circumstances. Her husband and two sons had to move outside the country. When her husband was stricken with cancer, she was told that she could go to be with him in his time of need, but that if she did, she could never come back. What a heart-rending decision had to be made and what incredible sacrifices the whole family made.
Yes, she is one of my heroes. No matter how much I might believe in something, I am not sure I could ever have given so much to such an immense cause.
It is good to have heroes in this life as I have noted before. We all need to know that when we are called to do something difficult, there are others who have made a path for us to follow. Perhaps those in her country who are against her are just waiting out the time when she too will pass on. Although she won the Nobel prize during the time she lived under house arrest not much has changed in Myanmar to this day.
If the time comes that I have to stand up and fight for a cause in my lifetime that I too will have the courage to stay strong and be brave until my last moments on this earth. I long for the all of earth’s people to learn to work together for our mutual benefit, and to realize and respect that we are all sacred and here on this earth by some great design.
I have a number of heroes in this life, and I think heroes are good for all of us. We all need others who inspire us and give us something to keep us going when the going gets tough. One of Zig Ziglar’s quotes I always remember is “Get a checkup from the neck up and avoid stinkin’ thinkin’ and hardening of the attitudes.”
In these times, we all can benefit from our heroes. The daily news is often dismal, the sign of a dysfunctional society for sure. It is easy to get down when we read nothing but the worst of the worst in human behaviors throughout the world.
Zig Ziglar was not born a privileged man. His father died when he was young, and a younger sister died a couple of days later. His mother kept the family together, and he worked hard all his live after that, serving in the military and then working in sales. But he took what he had in life and made it work for him and his family, and he is today remembered as one of the greats in inspiration. His first book went through some 30 publishers who thought it was a waste, and then a publisher picked it up and it sold half a million copies right away.
No matter where we have come from or what we have been through, we CAN make our lives better. But it doesn’t happen if we sit there and wait for someone else to do it for us. And remember that no matter how difficult our lives may be or how challenged, there is always someone who would feel wealthy if they had what we do.
I have many heroes in all sizes, shapes and colors that I follow. I will ultimately reveal all of them over time, and some I have already mentioned. Who are your heroes in this life and why?
This may end up being a series post because it involves the story of a life. It is my hope that this may serve to help anyone who is having difficulty coping with life. It is a true story. It is my story. And I am feel blessed to be able to share it.
I was inspired to write my story when I read a beautiful and touching post by a person whose blog I follow, http://www.3Bones.wordpress.com. Almost everyone in this life goes through some sort of tragedy or issues that can change a life forever. Challenges, no matter what the nature of them can be, are a blessing. The reason they are a blessing is that without them, we might never learn compassion for others, or how to help them when they need it most. We might never experience the beauty of life because life is full of valleys and mountains, sunshine and shadows and darkness. And we might never develop a sort of strength and true understanding of a journey. We might never develop faith in some form, from a belief in a God and a loyalty to that belief, or a sort of spirituality that we recognize in the things, people and places that surround us every day.
And lives – all lives – are sacred in this world. They are here by design – all of them. All forms, all shapes, all colors and names we have made to categorize each of them. They are needed to help the earth and the universe to survive. Even the smallest grain of sand is sacred. It has a special function though it may seem insignificant. Nothing is insignificant in this world.
I want to let you know that this story contains elements of life and death. It contains elements of goodness and love and kindness. And it also contains elements of evil and hatred and the horrible acts that human beings are capable of enacting upon selves and others. This is an opportunity for anyone reading it to perhaps change your thinking about human life on this plane.
The Tin Lady is not only an art doll that I created from found objects. If you look at her carefully, you will see that she is imperfect. Perhaps we can all be both imperfect and sacred a the same time. Most of my art falls into the Wabi Sabi category I have written about in the past; it is an appreciation of the imperfect, the impermanent, and the miracles that can be appreciated in the simplest of things. It serves to remind us that we are all here but a short time in the overall scheme of things, and that life is not a destination, but a journey every day that we live.
So with this brief introduction, the next part of the story will be told in a second post. I do not have a schedule for this. I will write more as I am able to continue. Thank you one and all very kindly for being here.
Just what IS accidental art? Doesn’t everyone who paints or does mixed media or art quilts or other art forms have to plan everything out ahead? How can it be art if it is not “designed?”
Have you ever watched a child creating art? Children don’t plan their art. They just start making lines and marks and coloring all over the page and generally using their full imagination. There is a freedom and spontaneity that you cannot help but enjoy, even if you are a professional artist or person who doesn’t care for art. It reminds you of some part of yourself that many people lose as we grow older and have to deal with the everyday issues of life.
This is my favorite form of art. All of these pieces were created in a matter of minutes, often pulling scraps from my friend Jamie Fingal’s fabric scrap can or my own, and using a glue stick or pins initially to put down whatever pieces I found. Honestly, none of these are planned. They just came to be born as I allowed myself to go into my childlife, just playing and having fun. They are all in various stages as I was making them. The flowers with the frog were from my boob prints, and so much fun to play with. I don’t think any of these took me longer than 15 – 20 minutes to create in whatever forms they are here. There is no attempt to “match” anything, to be precise, and even the stitching that comes later on to finish them is just wherever my hand feels like guiding the machine. I don’t need to put colors in the “right places,” or worry about whether it looks like it is “supposed to look.” The striped “cat” below was just a scrap of fabric I found in exactly the shape it was. We used to give little blocks like this to friends who perhaps hurt themselves in a fall, or maybe had surgery. They just become something as we go along, but there is no thought given to trying to create any particular thing.
I am not a fashion maven. I do not care for new clothes. New clothes are tabula raza; they have no life story, and for me, that is the most important thing I look for in life. Everything has a story, and if it doesn’t I will make one, but how can you make a story from something that is brand new and has not lived anywhere except on a clothes rack.
I have always loved thrift stores, garage sales, and swap meets of all kinds. There is such a sense of adventure, and what I like especially is that when you go to these types of places, all racial, all political, religious or spiritual or cultural differences seem to disappear. Everyone seems to blend into a wonderful mixture that looks like the clothes in this photo; there is a little of everything. And people sit down at the tables to eat their preferred foods – sometimes things from their own cultures, and sometimes people are just plain adventuresome with what they eat. But the key thing is that they all sit together at the tables, talking often in their native languages, and people doing their best to communicate with others who don’t speak the languages, everyone laughing at the antics of children, or pointing excitedly to a booth that might have extra good items.
And there we all are. One could not paint a more beautiful and sacred photo I believe. there is such a great feeling at the end of our time at these magical events. People are quick to show you their “treasures,” be they the find of heirloom tomatoes, or perhaps a new variety of plant, or a huge watermelon that is going to bring a treat to a big family and friends.
I often use my background in archaeology/anthropology to do a study of a thrift store if I go into a new area, and I can tell so much about the people who live in the area by their “living” artifacts with the stories I mentioned. I can tell if they are primarily seniors who live in the area, business people, or if they are a poor area or an ultra-wealthy one, and I can tell about the children too by the clothes, as well as the cultures represented. And the books and other living artifacts are great clues too. This is such a fun way to spend time discovering history’s mysteries!
I will never be “old” as long as I can find things to have fun with such as these things. I will always be a hippy sort of person in the way I love to think of other people and our society as a whole. The way I choose to dress is sort of a statement about all of that, and I am glad to be who I am because, as the photo says, I have never been this age before, and in one second, I will never be this age again.
Art Quilt by Anne Copeland
I know you cannot see the whole quilt, and I would like you to be able to do that. This was made some years ago as an exchange quilt. We each send a package of fabrics we want to have in our quilt, and the other person does the same. A middle person handles all the fabrics, sending them to different people, and the quilt we make for this unknown person will be returned to them when we are done and all the pieces have been collected by that middle person.
We all have a dual nature, and we generally take on one or the other each day. Just as we have day and night, cold and warm, floods and droughts, love and hate, success and failure, so we can choose to be one personality or the other.
I always love this quote from the book, Advice from a Failure, by Jo Coudert. “Of all the people you will know in a lifetime, you are the only one you will never leave nor lose. To the question of your life, you are the only answer. To the problems of your life, you are the only solution.”
So now you have seen Part I, and I want to let you know that I am quite prolific with speaking what is in my heart and the compass of my soul. So Part II will show you some more things I have created, and you might question their designation as “art.” I want you to know that as an artist, I define what is MY art and what it will chose to be at any given time in my life according to how I am envisioning life at that particular time. I like the freedom to celebrate life in the many ways I choose to celebrate it. When I turned 65, I decided to do something different for my special day. I had put on some African music which I liked very much, and I was thinking of how the people paint their bodies to signify something that is very meaningful to them, so I got out some black cloth, and being all alone, stripped and painted my breasts white. I pressed them to the cloth. We know ourselves in one way, or perhaps two, but there are things and ways of ourselves that we have never observed. So when I looked at the cloth I had created, I was, to say the least, surprised, for whoever would ever know that this was what a breast looked like on cloth. Here are a couple of pieces that came from this wonderful experiment in which I learned to see myself in a whole new way. This process never ends, for there is always something new to learn, and as we change over the many years, so do our bodies and minds. Each part becomes a special art exhibit all of its own.
Boobalala by Anne Copeland – Paint and Fiber
“My Garden of Earthly Delights” by Anne – Paint and Fiber
This quilt is about 18″ x 20″ and it features the breast prints in multicolors, which was a lot more fun and challenging than just doing white. And to think, I still have more body parts to color and experiment with. Who knows what this will ultimately lead to. I am certainly not the first person to experiment with painting body parts, but I did this my way and without any lessons either. The frog is painted separately.
Oh, and this was a charity quilt I decided to make for Art for Autism, since I have been very involved for many years with autistic and other special needs children. For those of you who might recoil in horror, there is nothing ugly or wierd about our breasts. I fed all my children with mine, lived through breast cancer, and now that I have passed three quarters of a life (age 77), I am glad to be able to still have those breasts. For me, they are no different than having teeth, hair, armpits, or feet or a backside. Does a tree hide its branches in shame?
So this is Art Exhibit Part II. We will look at some other ideas in different “exhibits” I get to curate and write about. It’s my show. See you at the next one.