"Arrange whatever pieces come your way."
— Virginia Woolf
As an assemblage artist, I pretty much take Woolf's words as the First Commandment of my work. Arranging seemingly random and disparate pieces into harmonious and meaningful little worlds is, for me, the Whole Enchilada; a deeply satisfying and joyful process.
Two distinct sides of me are in conversation in the process of creating my art: The bookworm self who is happiest when immersed in worlds of stories, words and ideas; and the crow-self who is drawn to shiny objects, bright colors, and intriguing textures.
My shrines and boxes sometimes begin with a central object, but most often begin with the words - a quote, poem fragment, lyric, or found snippets of text. Without much conscious intention, I find that I'm often drawn to themes of identity, freedom, happiness, and the creating self. (Go figure!)
With this grounding in the verbal world, my crow-self takes off and begins sifting through my random assortment of papers, objects, and ephemera to see what bits and pieces might best bring to life the feelings and imagery the words inspire in me. I work slowly, spending a little time each evening, taking away all the stuff that doesn't quite work, adding layers, exploring possibilities, and doing the mixed-media cha-cha: putting things in place, taking them away, putting them back, taking them away…a dance that can go on for days or even weeks.
In my experience, art-making is not so much as a "thing I do" but as a "place I go" (just ask my husband and daughter who have the unenviable task of trying to call me back!) It is a place where the scraps from one box magically become the heart of the next; where the flotsam of daily life is elevated and re-imagined; where order, harmony and meaning are married to invention, exploration, and good old-fashioned fooling around.
May the little worlds that emerge from my visits to this "otherworld" become places of inspiration, amusement, reflection, or delight for you!
In addition to my art-making, I serve as a creativity coach to others who are determined to develop a creative practice and more fully express their creativity. Please check out my coaching site and art shop at www.sarasaltee.com to find out more!
— Sara Saltee