Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Bowls: Keep, Hold, Contain

Hi gang, Lynn here.

I have to admit that when I heard the theme for this month is bowls, I got a big smile on my face. I'm a bowl junkie. Particularly white milk glass bowls, I collect them like my life depends on it.

I have a particular affection for the very plain ones, the ones that appear more utilitarian. I use them to hold plants:

And fabric scraps:

And pretty much anything else that I want to keep tidy. So I was feeling rather inspired about the theme! I started out as I usually do, looking up the definition of the word to see if I could gain a jumping off point for that. Here is the definition of "bowl": A round, deep dish or basin used for food or liquid.

What a snooze fest, right? Nothing exciting there. So I decided to pull out my sketchbook and make a list of words that I associate with "bowl."

That's got a little bit more of a pulse to it, doesn't it? Nouns, some emotion tied in there, a little daydreaming. Mostly I kept thinking about how we use them to hold things, to keep them safe. So I set about the idea of creating a collage that would mimic the feeling of trapping one thing inside another.

I found this little pile of scraps from a previous project (I swear, being a collage artist has made me a total hoarder of fabric scraps):

And like the last time, I put them together into a collage:

Feels a little flat, doesn't it? The painted parts are cool but it's missing the fundamental element of a bowl - circles. So I did a little bit of monoprinting to correct that:

And ended up with something that conveys the two biggest things I associate with bowls: containing something precious (my painted scraps of fabric) and circles.

Here's a bigger view of it:

Is this the most beautiful thing I've ever created? Absolutely not. It's fairly homely, if you ask me. But I don't think that everything I make has to be great. Or even good, for that matter. Aside from the fact that this is being added to the Part Pile for a larger collage, making art is about just making sometimes. Not everything has to result in perfection.

And here's what I mean when I say it's going into the Part Pile - I make small collages like this in order to cut them up and reduce them even further for use in large collages. I want to make a giant one, bigger then I've ever attempted. But I need a lot of parts. I'm aiming for 50 in the Pile before I start slicing and dicing.

So it's okay that this doesn't scream beauty and loveliness and all things wonderful. It will be incorporated into a larger whole, combined to work with many other components. And that, to me, is what is really at the core of making art - always changing and twisting and growing.

It's a lovely ride, isn't it?  :)


  1. It is a lovely ride! I like the attitude that even though it doesn't inspire you, that it will still be used. I bet it will be great in its next life!

  2. I like your post so much because you bring home an important point: not everything we make turns out to be fabulous. I, for one, learn more from those "less-than...." pieces than anything else. And yes, I absolutely agree that it is an amazing, lovely ride.


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