Monday, August 27, 2012

Big Tears 2012

I just returned from a two week workshop that I taught at the Penland School of Arts and Crafts  called Solving Problems:  Paint and Collage.  It was a wonderful group, 12 students plus my assistant, Chris Peregoy.   When I teach at the longer workshops I will sometimes try and do my own work, something that I have to be very careful of.  Once I start working on my own pieces I can go from being a kind and helpful teacher to the snarling, testy, and moody animal that is often part of my creative persona. And in an instant, I can morph from testiness to neediness, wanting to know what everyone "really" thinks about the piece I'm working on.

I prefer not to take any of my own materials, and I borrow or scrounge everything I use.  In this case, the background color was from a tossed palette full of lovely yellow paint. The bar codes in the body were from a FedEx label, and the tears and blue hat were all scraps of magazines or paper that I found floating around the studio.  The head was from an old magazine from the 40's which showed a disturbing photo of two men involved in some kind of unpleasant activity on one side and on the other were photos of concentration camp prisoners waiting to be released.  Chris had bought in a box of material that once belonged to Stan Vanderbeek, the American experimental filmaker, and I pulled it from that box.

As I was working on the piece a family came through, a father with two young girls, probably 7 and 9 years old.  They stood as a group around my table and watched for a moment .  Then the father commented with some alarm, "Oh my, he's crying, isn't he?"  With that, he quickly turned to the girls and said, "But we're happy today, aren't we?" The next time I looked up, the girls were being hustled away, their father's body shielding them from any more glances at my collage.


  1. holly, i love love love the honesty with which you work, write, and tell the truth always......also grouchy, the worst when being 'judged' and even worse, i am afraid to take most classes because ' what will people think ?'

    keep on telling us what goes on ! life saving for me.

    thank you.

  2. How unfortunate that being sad isn't okay for those little girls... My mom was a little bit like that dad, and it would have helped me a lot more if he would have made it 'ok' to be sad...

    I love your work--

  3. Stories--and work like this--are why I love you, Holly.

  4. what a great little piece- and i think you know this, but the perfect title to accompany it. It's simple, funny, beautiful, and unexpected. I love it. <3


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