Ornamental Plaster Sculpting, Mural Painting, Faux Finishing, and Imaginative Interior Design.

Ornamental Plaster Sculpting, Mural Painting, Faux Finishing, and Imaginative Interior Design.
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Monday, March 7, 2011

Inspiration: Robin Brown/Magnolia Pearl

This Sunday, I finally got a day to work without interruption on my home, Belle Ami.  I was tempted to paint a mandala design on the office ceiling (inspired by Ann Viveros), but I've been fairly immersed in paint for weeks, and besides, I still hadn't finished the art room ceiling, which I started quilting a couple of years ago.  Okay, it's not quilted in the traditional sense, but covered in fabric in the style of the crazy quilts that were popular around the time the house was built.  I know, normal people put quilts on beds.  Did I ever say anywhere that I'm normal?

A crumbling lace tablecloth was Fabri-tac'd onto a gold tablecloth, and then stapled to the ceiling with strips of crazy quilted fabrics, embellished with new and vintage ribbon, pillow case lace, and silk flowers.
Now, I can't claim to have thought this up entirely on my own.  I was inspired by Robin Brown, the fabulous textile artist behind magnoliapearl.com.  In her book, A Bit of Velvet, A Dash of Lace, she covers a wall in her Bandera Texas home with salvaged bits of old hand knotted carpets.  I loved the rich texture and sheer unexpectedness of this, but having searched for affordable old carpets to layer on my floors for a couple of years, I had only come up with one, and I didn't love the colors.  Besides, I didn't have a wall that could use the treatment.

However, I did have a damaged ceiling in my studio that needed either replastering, or a fresh layer of Sheetrock over it, and (oh, big surprise) absolutely no desire to do such tedious and laborious work.  And in that same room, stood a mountain of fabrics bought for projects that somehow never quite got done, and  sample fabrics collected for clients.  Having done a fair bit of crazy quilting back in the late eighties, it wasn't a big leap from carpeted wall inspiration to crazy crumbling plaster solution.
Crazy quilted ceiling in Dawn-Marie deLara's art studio...oh, yeah, that's what I did with the gold tablecloth...wondered why I couldn't find it in the drawer!
So, now that the art room ceiling is done, perhaps I'll take a break from working overhead before tackling the mandala design on the office ceiling.  This idea was inspired by spending a couple of hours on Saturday morning with Ann Viveros visiting Kingsway, a retirement home here in Belle Plaine.  Ann led a group of memory care patients in a mandala painting exercise (on paper, not the ceiling.  They're memory challenged patients, not ceiling-obsessed decorative artists), and she invited me to join them.  I bravely said "yes", though after last week's stupid brains, I was not entirely sure they would let me back out of the facility!

Mandala painting by Ann Viveros
I had a great time trying to loosen up and let the paint flow, and was surprised by how difficult something seemingly similar to my own work could be.  The more casual and simple I tried to keep it, the harder it was!  I also had the pleasure of having some interesting conversations with some amazing women, and came away changed forever.

A selection of Ann Viveros' work is on display at Kingsway in Belle Plaine, MN
My grandmother lived more than seven years with Alzheimer's disease, long after the memory loss was so severe that she really couldn't do anything but sit and watch life pass by.  I've lived most of my adult life with a buried dread of someday finding myself in that state, or headed towards it, and thinking how awful to live long past the time of feeling useful. Thanks to a beautiful woman who was a concert violinist, I was reminded of what I already know, and have said more times on this blog than I can count...You never know how you touch the lives of others.
This woman didn't just convince me that any human being can be taught to sing (barring physical defect), and give me a mini-voice lesson.  In so doing, she made me realize that even if we should ever get to the point where we don't remember having met someone five minutes earlier, it doesn't mean we can't give them something of value.  I have lost my biggest fear about growing old, and I can tell you that this isn't insignificant.

Because I have lost a core fear, I am changed at depth, and this now changes my interaction with everyone I come in contact with, in some indefinable way.  A friend once told me that to be significant, one had to be like Jesus or Michael Jackson, and I wasn't sure how to debate it, though it seemed off to me.  I think the error might be in confusing fame with significance.  We all affect far more of the world than we are ever aware of, regardless of whether our name is ever known beyond our own circle of friends.  This violinist touched countless lives with her music, and now because she changed me, she touches every life I touch...not to mention all the people who will one day not cringe when I open my mouth to sing and the notes come out right!

So tonight I wish you peace, inspiration, and the wisdom to know that if you are present on this planet, you are significant. 

1 comment:

Kristie Duyckinck said...

DawnMarie, you are an inspiration. I am so fortunate that you are in my life!