Tag Archives: #simplify

Darkroom timer with peanut butter; a domestic still life

This post is all about the image. What do you think might have contributed to forming this particular arrangement? Consulting with husband, it was not intentional, three items on their way from one location to another, temporarily congregating together like boarders on different flights might mingle briefly at a magazine stand.

We were doing a bit of winter decluttering. This location had formerly been taken up with a wooden shelf warehousing dried legumes, still uneaten since early pandemic hoarding. Next to it was another filled with empty boxes, across from one holding all our CDS. Is it relevant to point out we don’t have a CD player? There is also a room divider hiding things I don’t even want to know about. The entire hallway had been reduced from a two-person thoroughfare to a one way only path. What is the point of that? Would you take the narrowest part of your home, the one most traveled, and constrict the flow? We’re constantly colliding into and inching around each other. A great way to increase irritation in case you’re needing more of that.

So, fixing this stupidity was the first thing that happened. Suddenly there was space again. The food shelf moved to the kitchen and kicked this cool 60’s relic out into the hallway, probably on its way to the garage. The darkroom timer was playing the role of ready-made sculpture on top of another cramped shelf in the dining room/office and it and everything else got cleared off in a minimalism frenzy. It’s also on its way to the garage.

The peanut butter is the real problem. Can it go to the garage? I can’t throw it away; I don’t want to eat it. It’s basically here in case of the apocalypse. It got placed on the lower tier while we decide where it’s going to live. Please don’t let it get behind the hallway room divider and start having promiscuous, unprotected sex with the harem of unused frames hiding there. Thank goodness inanimate objects can’t breed or we would be overrun with sticky rectangles.

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Bags of Crap Part 1 {The Dark Side of Good Ideas}

The bane of existence is too much crap to deal with. I get really stressed out by having more to do than I can do. So, let me tell you about a problem I’ve been living with for a few years that is the result of a great idea becoming so overwhelming it calcified into total execution paralysis with a heaping helping of hoarding. If you’ve read my last few posts you know I am not one for excess stuff so what exactly went wrong?

While walking the dogs I collect things that might be useful for making sidewalk faces. Even though I pick up very little on any given day, over time it adds up. It might take me a few months to notice but at some point, while rifling through a tornado of plastic poop bags for that blue marble I’m sure is in there somewhere, I come to realize the bag is full to the brim with disintegrating plant matter, bits of plastic headed towards a terrible end our ancestors will curse us for, sharp sticks and rusty nails (thank goodness for tetanus shots I tell myself when I put yet another rusty garden staple into the bag. I do worry I’ll forget it’s there and puncture my skin, but they make such great noses!).

For example: Below are the contents of my bag from November 2017. That doesn’t seem like much stuff to me now but it’s enough junk to make locating any specific item difficult.

Three years ago I do a simple act and dump the contents of this messy satchel onto a white table for sorting. No big deal. Easy peasy. Being the type of artist I am, I make a face. Then several faces. It was really fun because there was so much to work with. I posted some photos to Instagram stories and thought maybe I’ll make this a regular part of the practice.

Did you spot the big paralyzing idea? In addition to making multiple faces a week, color correcting, writing up captions, sharing on Instagram and occasionally blogging about it, I will now also never ever clean out a sidewalk face/dog walk bag without making a whole bunch of new faces and sharing them on social media. Honestly it seemed like a good idea at the time. It is a good idea. But it’s also an idea that necessitates a ton of work. It’s not a thing you can just dash off.

I did it again four months later, felt good about the results and kept stuffing my bag with items.

For a while the bag was filled with wonderfully useful material all organized into easy access containers such as the little Altoid boxes above. But some things resist being contained such as a four foot long bicycle chain. Surely that would make an awesome face outline, right? It’s pretty heavy, should we pick it up? You bet! It’s greasy, should we put it in the bag? Pop it in a poop bag first! Just do it! You’ll be glad you did.

With this type of positive attitude the bag quickly came to weigh 7 lbs and I was growing tired of lugging it around. The pleasure of abundance was feeling more and more like obligation. I desperately wanted to thin out the contents but…do you see where this is going?…I would have to make a whole day of it. I would have to film the process and make art and do stuff I theoretically want to do but don’t actually want to do. The bag got heavier and heavier.

I don’t know exactly when, because who marks on a calendar, today’s the day I give up, I left the heavy-laden bag at home and grabbed an empty one. I have two beautiful handmade leather satchels and I started using the 2nd one. I used her until she filled up. Then I started using a fabric bag that’s older than my 16 year old son. When that one was growing obese I started to worry. My storage closet floor was home to these two hibernating bags of crap and they were crowding out the vacuum cleaner. It’s not like there is another place I can put the vacuum cleaner. But the bags couldn’t be properly put away because they were full of stuff that needed to be dealt with. Artistically dealt with. What the what?! There is a dark side to having good ideas.

In Bags of Crap Part 2 I will show you how I recently got out from under this crushing conundrum. I did what I said I would do. I cleaned out the bags and made faces. In Bags of Crap Part 3 you will get to see a giant face made from a rusty bicycle chain, one made from a broken car mirror and one made from a Prada business card. Are you trembling in anticipation! Was it all worth it? Stay tuned! Part two coming next Tuesday October 19th.

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