My construction bug

Bear with me as I get a bit reflective today.

Long-time readers of my blog know that I will get involved in projects.  Projects that require disassembly of furniture or windows or crates or whatnot.  Projects that will take those disassembled pieces, and turn them into something new and unique and artful and exciting.

Currently I’m working on a stitching project that turns a burlap gunny sack into art.  I’ve taken wooden soda crates apart and turned them into standing art, into functional tables, into whatever I choose.  And then there’s the Dream Window projects … those are fun in their own right.

A wooden soda crate that now houses wild songbirds.

I’ve entered these treasures in competition, I’ve donated them to charity.  When I can’t get my photography to work the way I need, these projects help me refocus my energies.  Almost like driving a Chevrolet when your previous rides have all been Buicks.

The creativity is fun; even more so is the discovery of new techniques and new skills and new ideas to incorporate into these projects.  You know … things like wiring up a photograph with thin electroluminescent wire to create a retro neon sign.

Can we say … BLUE RIBBON FIRST PLACE AWARD WINNER for Dream Window 18: Friday Night Fish Fry!!!

And then, just to put these pieces together … and create art that wasn’t previously there before … that in itself is a personal joy.  It’s like discovering a part of my inner psyche that wants to sing a note, but doesn’t have a voice until it develops its own personal vocal cords.

Granted, there have been projects that I’ve worked on and abandoned, but I take those projects as learning moments.  What fails in the first try will be successful in another try.  Heck, Leonardo DaVinci didn’t paint the Mona Lisa on the first try.

These art projects also help me focus on eliminating personal trauma in my life.  As longtime blog readers know, I didn’t have the greatest childhood.  Not that I’m bragging or doing the whole “poor me, pity me” routine … but these projects allow me to take the negative energy of pain and rejection and hurt and harm, and rechannel them into beauty and wonder and triumph.

And even when I finally create that final project … that designated dream … that functional furniture … it’s a call back.

It’s a call back to the people in my past who helped and guided me along the journey.  Those who are no longer here to share in the joy, but who paved the road to help me step forward.  My skills are not mine alone.  They come from teachers and clergy and friends and family, some who have been called to glory; others who are still here and still cheering and still encouraging me.

This is what I do.  This is how I make it through.

Because when I take my work to Altamont or Syracuse or the Big E or Durham or the Trask or BUILT or anywhere else … I know for a fact, for a genuine true fact, that what I created may have come from my hands … but my hands didn’t create this alone.

And as long as I understand that my creations and my skills are the by-product of lessons and teachings and emotion and encouragement and reflection and strength …

Then it all works out in the final result.

I say this because one of the people who encouraged me … Mark Klein … fought a valiant and heroic battle against a rare form of cancer.  On Monday night … he could fight no more.

Among his many skills in life was electrical engineering.  He worked for several tech companies and was highly valued by all of them.  He was also a very devout and caring family man, raising three children and loving his childhood sweetheart for 43 years.

Mark actually gave me the inspiration to use electroluminescent wire for several of my projects, including the Bob & Ron’s Fish Fry Dream Window, the L-Ken’s artwork, and the Saratoga Vichy Crate Art Project.

His services are today.

In lieu of flowers, donations should be made to organizations that promote peace and dignity.  Amnesty International or Doctors Without Borders would be good choices if you’re interested.

Or just do what he did.   Teach someone something.  Share the knowledge and spread it far and wide.

This is part of life.  It’s also part of my construction bug.  And why I blog about every single project I work on, the successes and the failures.

It’s art as creation.  It’s art as conception.

It’s art … as honoring those who guided your journey.

Always remember that.

It helps.