Do you think, a friend wrote, bears have begun to hibernate? I'm not certain of the answer, but expect that some threw in the towel earlier than others. I don't hibernate, but I do squirrel away cold weather schemes. My reading broadens, my visits to the library increase in intensity, and I take courses.
When I scan the books on my to read bookshelf I find a plethora of unconventional reads—for me. I'm engrossed reading The Paper Garden by Molly Peacock—a story about Mary Delany, a woman living in the mid seventeen hundreds who laboriously cuts out tissue papers and collages flowers —all botanically correct. The story slows down time and captivates me even though I only recognize, by name, a handful of flowers. I read the latin names, the specificity, the minutia, with an avid delight. The illustrations enthrall me with their details and perfection of form. 'Thin as a billowing white cotton nightgown, Mrs.Delany's Grand Magnolia lies back in its background...Mrs. Delany composed the work with...tissue-like paper... The realistic effect of rust on the colossal petals gives the mosaick...a bosomy sense of maturity."
The author, mesmerized by Mary Delany's illustrations and life, writes a book and sees similarities between her life and the life of the artist
I, too, create collages. They lack details, take broad strokes to find their stories. The instructor of a Collage class I'm taking offered us a hint for a subject—find a poem "to inspire you" and also think in terms of a structure or building. Galway Kinnell's poem "The avenue bearing the Initial of Christ into the New World" gave rise to my apartment building creation. Each window—a place for a person: a man playing the guitar, two people cooking, someone staring at the two people walking in front of the building. A nun in her habit waiting for a bus, a young man wearing a sweatshirt emblazoned with a skull and crossbones. And a large store front window with a straw figure of Christ festooned with beads. I took that picture on the High Road to Taos. Toward the bottom of the collage a man with long hair, his back to the photographer, stares at the tableau.
Each black and white photo I took has a story, yet the stories are of my invention. The photos provide clues and I add the rest—my photo Midrash. I'm filling in the blanks—the before and after of the image.
My collages strain to have a meaning. During the process of selecting images or scraps of paper or odds and ends, I realize that the sorting and selecting, the elimination or holding on to constitute an intention.
It may be a playful study of shapes, an abstract dance of color, or a way to understand.
When do bears start to hibernate? Are we speaking about a Polar bear? Brown bear? Black bear, Koala, Grizzly, Red Panda,Kodiak bear, Sun bear, Moon bar, Andian bear?