Staying Sane through Art

It was a good thing that a printmaking class started the day after election day. What would I have done with myself otherwise? Nothing good. Despite feeling a little hungover, a lot depressed and not terribly creative, I couldn’t have imagined a better place to be on that day with those people. A group of nine women in a fog similar to my own. We talked very little. We gave each other knowing glances. We understood we were all in a state of confusion and words were unnecessary.

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Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.”

Twyla Tharp

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I relished the detailed instruction, something to distract my thoughts. I shelved my wish to create a masterpiece. I came with no plan because I wasn’t of right mind to have a plan. The feeling of doom and gloom was so pronounced that it allowed me to confirm, once again, how important art making is as a salve. And also the kind of magic that can happen when you don’t plan and you allow yourself to just explore, without judgment. I’ve tried to carry that idea with me from week to week even though the emotional weight has been taking off, just a little.

Monoprint by Jane Pellicciotto

One of the more delightful aspects of the work I’m doing in the class is that, in making the kind of monotype above, you need to continually clean off your ink brayer, as well as your stencils. To do this, we use telephone books (yes, they are actually useful!). When I saw what I was creating, secondarily, I started squirreling away these beautiful scraps. I went right home and gave the scraps new life as collages.

Collage with etching inks on phone book paper. Jane Pellicciotto

 

Meet Me Under the Arcade | Collage with phone book paper and etching inks

And from the smaller leftover scraps, more collages.

Collage. Jane Pellicciotto

 

I’m going to close with a quote by someone whose writing I love and with whom a share a birthday. A birthday that was a few days after the election. I’m just glad that someone like Kurt Vonnegut wasn’t here to witness it.

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To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.”

Kurt Vonnegut

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