Perspectives: Box O’Bones
Artist are a weird breed. Even weirder in groups. There are things that make perfect sense to other creatives, but are odd…ok down right bizarre, to the average Joe. Just like normals, creatives save things that are useful as well. For example, if your grandmother is like mine was, she saved those ambiguous brown Country Crock containers to put left-overs in. We save bones in a crate near our dining room for later use.
Welcome to my friend Heather’s house. Her house is as welcoming as it is visually compelling and beautiful. Heather is a multi-disciplinary artist. Walking into her home is sort of walking into a mad scientist’s laboratory and a creative wonderland all at once. Things are fermenting in large glassware in the living room. Fabrics and textiles punctuate this homey domicile with gloriously palatable texture. Tucked away in various cupboards are ingredients she harvested from plants she has grown to make her own organic dyes. Organic dyes with which she will use to dye the yarn she hand spins, which sits as if suspended in time on her old fashioned spinning wheel. Projects are in different stages of completion and each one brings so much life to her every changing creative landscape.
I was on sensory overload as a visual artist. Everywhere I turned there was an incredible visual vignette that was a work of art in its own right. Her entire house is basically her workshop and an expression of who she is as an artist. If the walls her canvas, her paint was fabric samples for a future projects, remnants of an old installations, and even memories from loved ones gone by. This was an artist’s expression in its most raw form splayed out on display. Sewing pins held her inspiration, her memory, even her very heart tightly to the white, pin-cushioned walls. It was my honor and privilege that she would let me into this world, much less even photograph it.
She was kind enough to volunteer her home for some texture background shots that I needed for a project that I am working on called Negative Space. Negative Space will be an artist care magazine written, edited, designed, and produced by artists for artists. It is a little labor of love that I had sucked Heather into. When you are friend’s with artists, we tend to suck you down the rabbit hole of our crazy creative vision if you stand to close to us.
Organized neatly on her work table in the center of the house was a menagerie of objects. Dominating the field of visuals was the mountain of odd shaped concrete bits she had collected from some old forms. Juxtapose to the harsh granular ridges of the concrete, laid skeins of angora blend yarn she had spun. Their soft silken lines created a unique tension laying alongside the concrete. Among all of the wonderful textures was a metal grid. The shiny structure of the quarter inch squares drew you in to inspect them more closely. Sitting evenly spaced, were a handful of white bones which had been cut smoothly with a band saw, exposing their beautiful grain and porous interiors.
At first she seemed a bit cautious about leaving bones laying around the house. As I made my way down to their end of the table she commented coyly, “Uh, sorry about leaving the bones out. It is a little weird.” If anything, I thought the muted colors and their matte textures tied the items on the table together. In them both the smooth contours of the angora and the rigid harshness of the cement all blended into one harmonious form. She seemed to be relieved, even excited when I told her I thought they were wonderful. She smiled slightly and almost as a whisper through her grin said “I have more.” She proceeded to roll out a crate with wheels into the center of the room. Sure enough it was packed full of bones. The sight was such a subtle and marvelous palette of muted tans, taupes, and off whites. I stooped down to grab a handful and stopped to admire them for a bit.
Then I began snapping off frames. She told me that she didn’t know what she was going to do with them yet, but eventually you will see them incorporated into some of her work. We discussed some of the obstacles she faced as we briefly debated how to apply them to a work. If you are a creative you might understand this. Inspiration comes from anything. Heather being inspired by bones, inspired me to do something totally different, like write this blog. This is what I love about my artist family. We are always spurring each other to do great things, well by great I mean interesting (to us at least). So I guess I need to thank you Heather for not just letting me photograph your house, but letting me see into your process and steal a bit of your creative energy. Her work is truly inspiring. Do yourself a favor and check out heatherclarkhilliard.com Be inspired. Maybe you will see the old box of bones in a installation some time soon. I hope so.
Box O’ Bones, February 12,2017
Canon 5D MKiii
24-105mm Canon L-series lens