August 10, 2007

Surreal Suburbia and Then and Now

Didn't blog yesterday so today is a super sized post, and hopefully kinda fun. Yesterday was an early morning and long day spent with the family for a great American tradition, the garage sale! My mom has been very keen on cleaning out the basement of stuff that my brother and I left. Most of my stuff is gone and in my house, actually, but my brother has a lot still left. He travelled from Philly to stay for a few days so it was good to see him. It is great the he and my husband are both artists, so we understand the art madness, and we usually surround ourselves with other artistic minded people, but it is times like yesterday, when faced with normal suburban folks, that I realize how strange we are compared to regular people around us. So it was great to experience the surreality of the garage sale, with our bizarre unneeded art stuff all laid out and for sale on my parents driveway, and talk about art and life with my brother. A strange day, indeed.

We did sell some stuff, and fortunately at the end of the day, a family came by that my dad knew from work, and the woman, who is an awesome bead maker, went home with two of my brother's kilns and a casting machine: three large pieces of equipment that we needed to find good homes for. I hope they suit her needs and she is able to make some great stuff with them. It was a little hard to say good bye to the casting machine (a centrifugal caster for lost wax casting) but since we have had it over 10 years and have never used it, it was probably best for it to go to someone who might be more likely to use it. still, ouch. BTW, we still have a big giant potters' kickwheel that we are lookign for a home for...any local potters out there?

Ok, so my friend Katie Hacker had a really great idea for a post this week, called Then and Now. In it, she posted a picture of old things she made, in an attempt to show how far along she has come. Kind of like the Flashback Fridays I was doing for a while. I figured, with taking a trip to my parents house (and back in time a little) I would surely find something old I had made to do my own Then and Now post with. Indeed, the perfect thing presented itself to me:

What the heck is that? Is that a ...bolo tie? Why yes, it is! Was I trying to create a new trend in jewelry fashion? No, actually, not at all. I made several bolo ties, I will admit, but they were *exclusively* a family item! My grandpa loved himself some bolo ties, and would wear them almost anytime he went out of the house where he needed to wear something more formal than a tee shirt but less formal than his tie and it was a lot of the time. And he loved special ties made by family members, so he could brag about the grandkids. So anyway, this was made probably in the 90's sometime, and it surfaced this week during the garage sale cleaning, so I brought it home as a little reminder of Grandpa.

Actually, I have been making a lot of my bird beads lately, and this old piece isn't too far off from my current birds. So maybe the new birds aren't new at all, but more of a re-invention of something old. Honestly, I didn't remember this piece until I saw it again yesterday. Curiously, I have been recently thinking about making a birdhouse bead, or a birdcage pendant, so this is really a perfect find for me. I guess it is fitting that this song is bouncing around my head today: Birdhouse in my Soul by They Might Be Giants. Check out the video:

The lyrics, in case you didn't catch them, entertained me as I tried to punctuate them as if it was a little story:

I'm your only friend, I'm not your only friend, but I'm a little glowing friend, but really I'm not actually your friend, but I am. Blue canary in the outlet by the light switch, who watches over you; make a little birdhouse in your soul. Not to put too fine a point on it: say I'm the only bee in your bonnet; make a little birdhouse in your soul. I have a secret to tell from my electrical well: it's a simple message and I'm leaving out the whistles and bells. So the room must listen to me, filibuster vigilantly. My name is blue canary one-word spelled l-i-t-e. My story's infinite like the Longiness Symphonette: it doesn't rest. There's a picture opposite me of my primitive ancestry which stood on rocky shores and kept the beaches shipwreck free. Though I respect that a lot, I'd be fired if that were my job, after killing Jason off and countless screaming argonauts. Bluebird of friendliness like guardian angels, its always near(and while you're at it, leave the nite lite on inside the birdhouse in your soul)

Such an odd song from an odd band. BTW, I have found a site I really like for looking up song lyrics. It's called So many of those other lyrics sites are real pop-uppy and buggy, but I really like this one. Plus, people can comment on the songs and give their two cents on what they think the song means. How cool is that? So the pages for this Birdhouse song are pretty funny: lots of speculation about what this song means. I don't know...I think TMBG likes to write songs that seem like they might be super meaningful, but are actually pretty random nonsense. I think that is their genius. Although, what do I know? They might be really deep and just over my head. Either way, I simply adore them! They give me lots to think about and they always entertain!


  1. Ooh, that is one garage sale I would have loved to have shopped. They Might Be Giants are great - a colleague of mine at work was trying to remember that "song about Constantinople" a few years ago (our work was international in scope), and I was the only one who knew it - made me feel hip and old at the same time. They've actually released a kid's music CD, so we play They Might Be Giants at our house now reasonably regularly.

  2. Oh yes, I have heard that they released a kid's album, but I haven't had a chance to hear it. Is it fun to listen to for one without kids, you think? Or is it really kiddy?

    Yeah, honestly, if I went to a garage sale like the one we had, I would have bought a lot of our stuff. That's what got us into this predicament in the first place though! When Chuck and I move someday...that will be a big crazy studio sale!!!

    And I am not going to start singing that Istanbul song! Thats an earworm that lasts for weeks!

  3. I love garage sales. My mother and father also love them... almost to the point of obsession. Just ask Cynthia about how stacked my parents' house is. It's a little bit dangerous walking around in fear that a pile might collapse on you.

    I think it's helpful to look back at one's work periodically. It's a great learning device. We are not born of motherless perfection, but come down from a long line of ideas and thoughts that beget new branches, but all stemming from the same tree.

  4. The tree analogy is beautiful. I will remember that.

    I am definately right now in a place of, if you will, shedding old leaves and nurturing new growth.

  5. Hmm, I must've forgot to hit "send" when I responded to your comment earlier, Melanie. Sorry! The kiddie album is pretty sophisticated for a kiddie album, but it's still really designed for kids. They did some songs for McSweeney's Magazine a while back - do you have that one? I'm embarrassed to admit that I own it, but I haven't listened to it yet!

  6. oops, no I didn't see that message! No I haven't heard that one either! I lost track a bit somewhere in the 90s.

    You know, now tha ti think of it, I saw them in concert when in college. It was in Ann Arbor and we took my broter. Chuck was there. I don't remember much, just that it was a youngish crowd, there was much time waiting, and people starting throwing paper airplanes (it was indoors) We were up high in a balcony so it was cool looking, but managment had to shut it down for safety. I think this was that concert at least. I do remember the accordian though...

  7. Talk about nostalgia! My grandpa wore bolos too and, as he has passed, it brought a tear to my eye. Sweet!

  8. Yeah I miss my grandparents a lot. They both passed away a few years ago. Its funny that yours wore bolos too. What a silly accessory!