Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Essex Art Center

I've been taking a class or two a year for the past five or six years. I have no idea how I discovered the Essex Art Center, but driving up Route 28 to Lawrence is always a pleasure. Inevitably I think of something I hadn't realized about whatever I'm working on. I hate highways, but this is a nice road, in and out of small towns.

I've taken drawing and watercolor and now am taking the third session of a class that Cathy McLaurin teaches about different ways of approaching work. It's not really relevant to my work since I'm not a painter, but I like her, enjoy her approach and the people who keep appearing whenever she offers it. It is, for me, a lark.

The first class involved driving this very small vehicle over different objects and then printing from then.

Barbie dolls are indestructible. Running a 1,000 pound roller over them multiple times doesn't crack the surface.    

In fact, not too many items were squash able. My objects were bought in a gift shop in housing for somewhat elderly folks…and the 93 year-old woman who runs it was pleased with my $30 donation. She had discounted all the items and I was happy to carry away three bags of cutlery, eye glasses, wire baskets, a silver vase and two metal dish wracks.

My plan was to squash a dinner service and print that, but I didn't even put the fork under the roller. The wire baskets worked since they were delicate enough to flatten. And I printed them along with various berries for additional color. Not too interesting. What I liked was taking photographs, except that my battery ran out.

And of course I drove the roller.

I had to do that. The first time I jumped into something I'd never driven before was when someone was asked to volunteer to drive the new 14 person van in the shelter where I was working. My hand went up automatically. It took me two weeks of driving before I noticed the side view mirrors, but I did no damage. The woman got to their alternative sleeping arrangements and the van was unscratched.

My next favorite ride was in a golf cart that I drove up a small mountain with someone I'd known in middle-school…I hadn't seen her in years and was completely surprised when she apologized for something she said well over 50 years ago about my mother's death. Of course, I didn't remember it, but it was so touching that she has carried a worry about what she felt was a harmful comment all these years. What we store in our minds is fascinating.

Driving the roller was a bit difficult. I got on it before it became apparent that nothing thick would crush, so it was a bit bumpy as it traveled over candle sticks and other such stiff stuff. Later when I drove it again, we'd figured out that what was useful crushing material and it was a much less bumpy ride.

During our second class, we worked on large sheets of paper with odd tools. I've moved my sheet where I can work on the floor, using strings dipped in inks. It was interesting enough and I will try to make a book out of it. Since it's doubtful that anything I do in Cathy's classes will be incorporated in my work, I am making an effort to use this particular product.

As if I don't have enough to do.

Thanks for reading...


  1. I was missing your musings, those intimate moments you share with us and which make life richer. Thanks.

    Greetings from London.

  2. I am missing a Cuban in London, having stopped writing a blog, much less reading them. I plead lack of time or rattled head, but do look at his blog… and I will begin again, also. Thank you..