Monday, December 29, 2014

Polly Nichols buys a New Bonnet

Polly Nichols (aka Mary Ann Walker) was born on August 26, 1845). In 1864, she married William Nichols, a printer's machinist, and had five children.

The marriage broke up over allegations of her husband's philandering and her drinking. Her estranged husband stopped paying her support when he learned she was supplementing her income with prostitution.

On August 30, 1888, Polly earned her doss money but spent it on a jolly new bonnet. She earned it again, and then drank it away. Around 1:30 am, she announced her intention of earning the money quickly so that she could have a bed for the night.

Then, she met Jack.

Sometimes you find yourself locked in a circular pattern of a strange obsession.  I've always had a streak of ripperologist in me but it recently began a strong resurgence in my psyche.  The best way for me to exorcise an obsession is to work through it.

What has always bothered me most about the obsession with Jack the Ripper is the emphasis on the Jack portion.  What about Polly Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly?  

Their lives were brutally ended by a monster.  There seems to be an implicit thought line that their lives were lesser because they were prostitutes, because they were older (excepting Mary Jane Kelly), because they were alcoholics, and because they spent most of their lives on the street.

I don't like or accept that implication so decided to start to exorcise my Jack demon by exploring each of the lives of these women that lived and died over a century ago.  They were people.  Their lives had value.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Foxy Lady

Like many artists, I love to explore different crafts and ideas.  I dabble with beading as well as folk art dolls.  I thoroughly enjoy my complex, multi layer art pieces, but they can take days and weeks to finish.  I tinker and move pieces, think of ideas, and try not to get frustrated with a work in progress.

Sometimes, it's nice to just play; to take a Victorian or medieval portrait and just alter it in a whimsical way.  

I love the connection I feel when someone approaches my more in depth work and finds something meaningful to themselves or to their lives.   I derive a great deal of my sense of purpose from moments like those.  I feel like there is a reason why I make art; why I want to pursue the uncertain life of an artist.

Sometimes, though, it''s just about a piece that makes the viewer smile.

My Animal Folk pieces are just that: pieces of whimsy designed to evoke a smile.

The women of Ziegfeld follies were glamorous, dangerous, and wonderfully playful.  My foxy lady is all those things, with a deliciously hungry edge!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Tis the season

Tis the season, but for what exactly?

Beyond the gaudy decorations, the bargain shopping, the giving, and the getting, tis the season for connections.

It's the time to put aside our petty differences and our personality conflicts.  It's the time to be together: no matter what our personal philosophies, our jobs, or our taste in music.  Tis the season.

We decorate trees.  We eat large meals.  We bake cookies.  We wrap and unwrap gifts.  We spend time together.  Whether we are together due to the ties of blood, by choice, or by happenstance, we are together.  There is a simple joy in that togetherness


Tis the season of love.

Wishing a delightful season, from my family, to yours.

What are you hoping to find under your tree?