Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Welcome to Elenabella

I hope you will visit often, as this blog evolves.

But first I have to get this off my chest: I am not fond of that sludgy word "blog." Perhaps if I can think of this as a bio-log/dialogue I can overcome my aversion to this little word. I am very fond of some blogs, though, especially those that are fun, friendly, creative, quirky, networky, and filled with ideas. I am not a fan of snarky, aggressive, arrogant, ego-overdrive blogs. Click on!

This past Sunday New York Times had an article about the poet John Ashbery, who at age 81 has prepared his first exhibit of collages. I loved this article for many reasons, not least because Ashbery works with both words and images. And who knew! And 81 years old! And he looks like a sturdy bear in his photo.

I especially like the collage "Chutes and Ladders I (for Joe Brainard)" – here on this page.
One of my favorite poets has long been Robert Duncan, who lived with the collage artist Jess Collins. That is another, related, story – for another time.

Each Sunday the NYT arrives at my house in a blue plastic bag, sitting at the end of our driveway. I always look forward to it: for the words, pictures, the ads, the clash of sensibilities and opinion. It contains so many engaging surprises, including the weekly crossword puzzle. I never work the crossword, though – I'd rather spend some leisurely time reading the paper.

Today I cut out a number of crossword puzzles (including a round one, one with no numbers, and a few answer puzzles from previous weeks), to make a mod podge vase, inspired by one of my favorite blogs, How About Orange. It was a fun project, and I like the way the black and white squares form a design like weaving, blanks to fill with words. I guess the blog is like that too – an exciting idea, a diary to share with others, even strangers...

So here is a little tutorial (for a "How About Orange" one, click on the image of the vase on the left – and go to the link that inspired me to go all mod-podgy).

1. I started with a Burt's Bees glass bottle, once filled with a baby buttermilk bath. It's a nice bottle because of the flat square sides.

2. Cut out crossword puzzles or other images or words.

3. Glue them on with Mod Podge – I used matte.

4. Try to use a brush that will not shed bristles, or you'll need to go back with a pin and patience to pull off any stray strands of your brush.

5. Once your pieces are arranged and glued, apply a thin coat to the entire surface of the vase. I covered the bottom, too, so stood the whole thing upside down.

6. Let this dry, and do it again.

7. Now just place your vase somewhere to hold pens, brushes, or flowers. You can look at it and meditate about the weave of positive and negative spaces, the links between them, and the way we search for – or chance upon – the right words to fit into these gaps.


Jess said...

Just saying hello! Good luck with your bio-logue. :)

elena said...

Thanks, Jess! Love that link to Briar Press that you just posted to How About Orange...