4/16/2009

Day 17, Tell Your Story,








Day 17 - Counting down on the 37 days challenge


TELL YOUR STORY









When I found this little guy a few days ago I was reminded of the first time I saw him - at a workshop at Pyramid Atlantic in the mid-1980s. This was a card someone in the DC area had designed for an art show. I picked up several of the cards and kept them, carefully.


Long before I began calling my self a storyteller I was telling stories and was drawn to documenting and preserving personal stories.


The first time I remember writing a story about my family and reading it to a group was in the 7th grade - in Phoebe Reynolds class at Piedmonth Junior High School. My classmates laughed at the way I told them about my father's antics and I was hooked.


After we married I filled long hours when Jim was doctoring by writing. Influenced by Erma Bombeck I wrote short, humorous essays about kids, and family life. Even published half a dozen - for money - in obscure periodicals.


In the 1970s , influenced by feminist artist Miriam Schapiro and other women artists I focused on making collages, books and albums with bits of personal story, photographs and objects. Does any one remember the slogan, "The personal is political"?


At that time many women artists turned to personal story, their daily lives, even their bodies for the content for their art. Believe it or not that was revoluntionary because up until then such personal matter was not considered important enough to be subject matter in "real ART."

Historically most women artists painted still life, domestic scenes and children - and that's what women were expected to paint. Not today, not anymore -


When I came to professional storytelling in 1995 it was natural for me to focus on personal stories - on family stories - as an extension of my visual art work where I had already begun this storytelling without realizing the connection.


Anyway you can do it - tell your story.


Today that's one of the reasons I love blogging - writing on this blog and reading blogs by others. Its another way of capturing my story - your story - our history.


And, in these days when people are not sitting on the front porch like they did when I was growing up or sadly many are not even sitting around the dinner table - its a way to feel human connection - to share our experiences.


Now, this is not what I expected this post to be about - another thing I love about blogging. As I make my collage or textile art on the " high wire" - that is without any pre-planning - I blog the same way.


I put up a photo and just start writing and see what comes out. Works for me - although I do have to go back frequently to correct typos (you may have noticed) or to add a bit more here and there as the idea fleshes out.


Serendipity and accident have always been part of my process so I like to work this way.