17 February 2010

inspiration rediscovered

'i would especially like to recourt the muse of poetry,
who ran off with the mailman four years ago,
and drops me only a scribbled postcard
from time to time.'
~ john updike

degas, 'petite danseuse de quatorze ans' 
or 'the little 14-year-old dancer'

we kid about muses... their fickleness and their wonder... 

i was talking to a friend this past week about philly - and the museum of art there... during the conversation i recalled one of my favorite pieces - 'the little dancer'... i am guessing i saw her first about 25 years ago...

it was a powerful - 'is this where it's all coming from?' - moment... my love of mixed media? of fabric with metals - i remember distinctly being drawn to this sculpture - marveling at the use of tulle and silk ribbon with the bronze... soft and hard, matte and shiny, still and flowing... i know that we absorb things along the way... and i have happily spent a lot of time in museums throughout the years... but i had completely forgotten her!  she seemed to reflect what i felt inside... never fitting in, always a bit different, a person of right and left brain, dabbling in art and math, able to appreciate almost anything... and so very confused by that aspect of myself at the time... i didn't feel like i would ever accomplish anything because i was so 'all over the place'... i was a guidance counselor's nightmare because i just couldn't pick...i went into college an engineering major, then changed to economics, and fell head over heels in love with art history... now it feels like home... i know i don't have to pick some one thing, i can experiment and experience... 

i now can see the face of my muse - the girl who looked at another girl and made her feel like the way she experienced the world was alright... she has been there all along, just waiting for me to remember her... oh, so, patiently... 

thanks laura!


  1. Ah, yes! The ever-present muse. She's so gracious and patient with us, isn't she? Your posts tend to stir me up like a warm mug of mint tea. The best thing about our muses is that even when we forget them at a conscious level, they remember us, and they whisper until we're quiet enough to hear them. I'm glad you found her again!

  2. I certainly believe my muse is of multiple personalities, and never to be pinned down! I missed your post Monday on the ice resin pieces, and looking today all I can say is I am in total awe, I love everything you do, the contrast of textures, colors, ideas....very very gorgeous ands exceptional M.J.!

  3. Very, very interesting. I've yet to nail down a specific muse. My husband says I "see things differently", I don't quite get what that means since...well I've only ever saw things this way. I do know my head is full of voices of wo/men with unwavering strengths in different areas, and intrinsically I summon them to bring life to these things I see. Perhaps, like Akilah says, I should be quiet and allow them to introduce themselves.

    BTW, that is also Yael's favorite piece of art, we have fine art flashcards and she was immediately drawn to that piece.

  4. I'm glad you followed your heart and your path. Your feelings and sense of wonder and intuitions surely would have been lost on engineering. Even though the path may have felt less certain, we have benefitted from your choice. And, I love your peeling away of layers work ... awesome.

  5. I love her! Isn't it great to be in your 40's (if you are!!!) and know that you CAN do what you want, and to heck with the rest of the world? I love this age - I feel so much more grounded and "able" than I ever did!

  6. I am so happy our conversation sparked this memory Mary Jane. It is though through experimenting with fiber and metal you have been able to remember your experience in meeting Degas' Dancer.
    Perfect....she was always there inside.

  7. Mary Jane, lovely to connect this memory with your present work and being. That is where the magic is I think, when things not just make sense but feel right. You are where you need/should/are right now. Beautiful.

  8. A wonderful post, Mary Jane. So glad you have reconnected with your muse - although she has been kissing you all along...


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