Entering Sandy’s house, I immediately knew I was in the presence of creativity. The house itself, situated on a rolling hill overlooking a cove, was the result of a collaboration between her and an architect. Every detail approached with an esthetic and artistic eye for art and the setting.
Paintings and collages, made with her hand or by those of artistic friends, are placed with care on the walls. Sculpture comprised of seaweed and other unusual textural materials catch and hold your eye. The stairway led me up to the next level and into her writing area. It was here, on this desk, I saw Sandy’s exquisite little hand made books. Down the hall to the right, I entered her studio in which a big table stood in the middle. Seaweed was overflowing from boxes under the table along with an array of other interesting littoral pieces. Fascinating handmade papers and strings neatly filled containers on the counter along the wall.
How could I not invite this multi-media artist to participate in my series, “Why Create?” Her thoughtful, inspiring and phenomenal comments below address this question in a profound manner.
I create to find out about myself or to figure out something about how the world works. When I sit down to write I have no idea what the content will be, and I begin the day with a lot of free writing. Maybe I have a memory that won’t let go, or have just witnessed last night’s Perseid showers, or woke up with a haunting dream. Those things will show up in the free writes. I usually read a poem or two by other poets and maybe an article that’s been sitting on my desk. I might take a break to practice my scales on the piano, and then go back to my desk to look at what I’ve written. Only then do I know what’s really on my mind that day and how I will begin to organize what I’ve written into a poem. At that point I may need to look something up about a plant, tree or bird in my writing, about a place I’ve visited that’s come up in the free writes, about a piece of art or poetry that I’m reminded of. All of this becomes context and prepares me for the eventual poem or work of art.
When walking at the shore near my house a few years ago I became enamored with the littoral zone and studied all the creatures and plant material that lived between low tide and high tide. Just think about what they go through every day, twice a day! I used that as a metaphor to write about what it takes to survive. Here’s a little poem about that idea.
Next, I collected specimens of seaweed from the bright green sea lettuce to the flat brown leathery kelp and brought it to my studio. (Quite a stink!) I spent time drawing their shapes, learning about their bladders, their holds, and searching on-line to identify what seaweed lives near me and what is required for them to thrive in that environment. I didn’t know what would become of that research until an idea formed. I would work on a series of Seaweed Books in the shape and color of the flora of the littoral zone. At that point I had to put my knowledge of book making to use, as well as my power of invention to think about what kind of book form could represent a particular kind of seaweed. I’m quite sure that no one else has made a dual signature book shaped like the purple/red Dulce, created out of Tyvek and thread.
Why create? Well, why not? Making something new is much more interesting than sitting around calculating your taxes. More to the point, creating is hard work when one is serious about it. It puts you in touch with the world, reveals your own truths, and releases compassion and empathy for the truths of all others, including the fiercest among us.
Sandy Weisman is a poet and visual artist, creating artist books and collages that use both word and image. Her poetry has been included in two anthologies and several journals, including Barrow Street, Off the Coast, The Aurorean, and Spillway. Her artist books and mixed media collages have been exhibited in the Boston area and in her current studio in Maine.
Weisman is the owner of 26 Split Rock Cove, a privately owned artist community of studios, artist living space, and workshops overlooking Mussel Ridge Channel in S. Thomaston, ME.
Visit her website: http://26splitrockcove.com