Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Puppets, Parades, and Peace

Lots of wild, fantastic daydreams are haunting me these days.  As I continue to research people who are doing visual/puppet theater, I keep coming across things like this slideshow of the 2010 Mayday Pageant in Minneapolis done by In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater.  As our own Pasadena Palm Sunday Peace Parade continues to grow, perhaps it will become a community event, attended by tens of thousands and requiring the joyful participation of numerous volunteers.

One small step in that direction will be leading bird puppet making workshops for kids and adults.  After many years of just thinking about it, for the 2010 parade I made a peace dove puppet, and it was quite a hit.  This year I hope we'll  have a whole flock!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Potential of Ordinary Junk

I was watching the PBS series "Craft In America" the other day.  Metalsmith Kit Carson, who fashions intricately engraved jewelry and other metal items, also makes sculpture out of scrap metal.  One scene shows him in outside his studio, walking among what he estimates as 35 tons of scrap items he has collected over the years.  I did like the sculptures he created by welding old parts of bicycles, tractors, etc., but my favorite thing is Carson's name for what many others would call a junk heap.  He calls it "the library of visual solutions."

I've been saving lots of things--plastic bread bag closures, little green produce baskets, the purple rubber circles they put on my prescription bottles at the pharmacy to distinguish it from other peoples' in my household (completely unnecessary, because there's only two of us, but I was informed that they have to do it), wrapping paper from gifts, tic tac boxes, and the list goes on.  I have a whole box where specifically store "things that are round."  More than once these things have served as my own library of visual solutions.  I'm thankful for artists like Kit Carson who reinforce my belief that the best materials are often those closest at hand.
My "Capsules" are tiny

assemblage pieces of found materials.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Whispered Words to Remember Always

God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
 then walks with us silently out of the night.

 These are words we dimly hear:

 You, sent out beyond your recall,
 go to the limits of your longing.
 Embody me.

 Flare up like flame
 and make big shadows I can move in.

 Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
 Just keep going.  No feeling is final.
 Don't let yourself lose me.

 Nearby is the country they call life.
 You will know it by its seriousnes.

 Give me your hand.
~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~ 
(Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God, translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy)