Friday, February 25, 2011

Shattered Cups

The process for creating this piece of art began with what I call a “waking dream," an impacting life event with dream-like qualities.
The “dream” opened with a huge crash, followed by two more huge crashes, within the span of a few days.
The first crash occurred when a shelf in my china cabinet collapsed and many pieces from my great grandmother’s china dish set, including all the tea cups, were shattered. (Two days prior to this crash, my mother and I had been discussing the heirloom collection she had passed on to me, as her mother had to her. She proudly shared that the set still included every tea cup.)
My instincts told me right from the start there was a message to be had from this jarring event. And, as if to really drive the point home, another shelf gave way the following day, destroying most of the remaining pieces and capturing my full attention. Distraught, I emailed my friend that I was "almost waiting for the third crash;" I was concerned.
A few days later a teacher from my son’s school was killed in a head on car crash, only mere minutes after she dropped a couple of her school children off to play practice, down the road from the school, in her new little red Subaru. She had said goodbye to them, and to me, as my son and I sat on the lawn next to the spot where she pulled her car up.

Upon hearing the news I remembered one of the nicest things we had shared together the year she was my son’s kindergarten teacher, an elaborate tea party that I helped host in her classroom, replete with china tea cups.
In 2005, two years later, the dream was still expanding when it became an article for Dream Network Magazine, entitled, “Dream Themes: Crashing Teacups." In 2009, the story settled into a book I co-wrote wrote and published about dreams, Dream Stories: Recovering the Inner Mystic.
Then, in 2009, the dream became an artwork entitled, "Shattered Cups." The intention behind the piece was to pay homage to this momentous "dream." and pay homage to my great grandmother, and to my grandmother and mother, both of whom appear in the upper left corner of the piece. Creating the artwork also came out of equal desire to pay respect to those who have faced breast cancer, what better a metaphor than, shattered cups?
Artemis, as she came to be known to me as, wears an actual broken teacup from the original crash. When I created her, I did not realize the dream would continue to unfold, but it did.
Artemis, with her broken tea cup breastplate, now adorns a book cover wrapping around the dream of another woman, Claudia Ricci, and her story, Seeing Red. Claudia was not only generous but fearless in selecting my piece to represent her book; we all know a book is judged by its cover.

In true Artemis spirit, Claudia provides a safe haven for women to share what is our birthright, our art, in its countless forms. She is the creator and editor of mystorylives.blogspot, a community writing space featuring countless women's stories.

Seeing Red, the book, was born from yet another woman’s dream, Maria Zemantauski and her fiery, passionate flamenco music. I am grateful to Claudia for her willingness to share her artist’s journey with me. Some beautiful color changes were made to “Shattered Cups” thanks to the help of a sensitive and gifted graphic artist, Jodi Frye.

For sure, the dream will continue to open up.
My caring mother in law helped me replace many of the broken pieces of china, including all the tea cups, and in the process of researching the china I learned the name of the china pattern is Triumph! You might think this story is exceptional, and it is, but I have learned we all have these stories about being broken open to order to heal. The message seems clear to me now: by sharing our art, in whatever form it takes, our stories live on.