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Requiem for Purple Music

On: August 28, 2009
In: Artmaking, Community, Creativity, Studio Journal
Views: 573
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It is with torn-asunder reverence that I am writing this.

Reverence for creative curiosity and bravery, the unknown and the unmet, and for the crazy wild-hair day that led Karen Koch and me to send each other a piece of our artwork to make into something else by any means we could concoct…in the spirit of Robert Rauschenberg’s Erased DeKooning, which RR considered “poetry.”

I think we were expecting to make some meaningful poetry as well. And it sounded so madcap adventurous. Dare we? If you want the whole tale, you are invited to read my immediately previous post of two days ago, “Channeling Willem and Karen” which will take you to all the other links, hers and mine, you might want to follow. (I’m too drained to do all that explanatory reference writing and linking again.)

But, if you’re starting in on the story of this Art Swap right here, you most likely don’t need to do that, because **!SPOILER ALERT!** this is The End.

And the end is bittersweet and leaves me caught up, thoughtful and seeking solace.

The photos show how I destroyed Karen’s creation. I’m not sure I need to describe the steps in much detail, just know that the inside of the lid is inscribed: “Bubble Soap Reliquary for Purple Music.”

All along I have been making a funerary urn. All along, as some may have conjectured, I intended to burn Purple Music in my kiln. All along I wanted to capture its decorative essence on the clay’s surface and send the original up in smoke to Cone 04, or about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

I am amazed at that big ol’ piece of ash left because it means there is an actual relic in the Reliquary. I crack a tiny wry grin over that.

The heroine in the novel Norma Jean the Termite Queen by Sheila Ballantyne saves her 1970s married-with-three-children sanity by turning to ceramics, in particular Egyptian-style canopic jars. Now, I must have read this book 6-7 times, twice a decade, since I first discovered it. I quote it frequently and I have searched out a lot of her references (Verdi’s Requiem, for one.) I am floored to realize I have wound up with a parallel existence to Norma Jean, death and afterlife jars included.

Why create? Why destroy? What comes to me in this limnal period of Afterwards is to feel: connected, thrilled, daunted, grateful, poetic and broken open with a slight grin.

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