So I had these two identical lamps, with bases made of sculptured women’s heads looking slightly classic and Greek but still mostly generic – no particular ethnicity was obvious in their eyes, mouths or expressions. They were so enticing, but sort of judgmental, sitting there all the time so stoic and serious with their lampshades over their heads. I put them on our bed-side tables for several years, sometimes putting seasonal hats on them or sunglasses and scarves, sometimes earrings or earmuffs, just for my own amusement. My husband thought that was stupid, which begs the question of whether or not he actually ever understood the person he was married to and her wacky sense of humor….if I had to guess I would say he did not. But I digress.
One day I just snapped and dismantled them, tearing them from their lamp-parts and keeping their lampshades for some other lamp. I knew I was going to do something with them but it took a day or two to figure out which of my ideas would win.
Since I do have a bunch of lovely, patterned and textured collage papers from all around the world, and I am a mixed media collage artist, I decided to collage their faces with an assortment of torn paper shapes, giving them kind of a tattoo treatment. Immediately, as I worked on the first one I thought of the broadest concept of women – the enormous tribe of women that encompasses all other tribes of women anywhere and everywhere in the world. The concept of women in general, all over the map, and what a powerful force of nature we are. We are multi-taskers of the highest degree and we can do ANYTHING we set our mind to.
In my new novel, published just last week, I believe I address that very subject. The story revolves around one particular woman artist who is faced with major life challenges, and how she surprises her own damn self with the strength she has. Please pick up a copy on http://www.Amazon.com. The title is A CANARY FLIES THE CANYON.
Not coincidentally of course, because I do not believe in randomness or simple, innocent chance, I had lunch yesterday with some of the strongest women I have ever known – a group of my old college friends. There were only about seven of us, and we all do keep in loose touch, but yesterday we got more specific about what all has happened to us and how we have coped over the years since college was over. It was truly a revelation to hear it all. I am so proud to have a place in that group. You would be shocked at the variety of serious MONUMENTAL challenges we have all faced – not a single one of us escaped life’s major misfortunes – but we all survived and came out on the other side finally able to smile again.
My sister has the other lamp head, which is much more eccentric and Bohemian than this one in the above picture – her lamp woman is in reds and corals with patterns of great energy and fun. Mine is an elegant woman – her’s is a ballsy broad. But of course there is room for all of us in the tribe of women, and we all have multiple personalities which is a large part of our charm, is it not?