Works from 2015
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Dorrie says …
For most of my life I have made my way as a writer, a singer, an actor, making pictures from music, from gesture, from words. While on an extended stay in the Maine mountains, on a complete whim, I bought a set of rubber stamps and a dozen colored pencils. With no real idea of what one did with such things–I had never made visual art of any kind–I started playing around, and before long I was using the stamps in a weird kind of free-form expression. Sitting at a table, without thinking at all, I grabbed a stamp and then another, until a design appeared on paper. I only had a small stamp pad of black ink, so I started using the colored pencils to fill in the impressions’ negative spaces. Near the end of the summer, missing my friends, I began to use the stamps to create “portraits” of them. Again, not thinking, but reacting to whatever rose up inside me when I thought of a particular person, I reached for stamps and pencils, and my feelings and ideas of people took shape and color.
A few months later, back in North Carolina, I took apart some old family photos. What to do with the beautiful old frames? One day, I picked up some feathers from my husband, Archie’s, fly-tying supplies, and something made me put those feathers under glass. Whoa! Feathers behave in mysterious ways when put under pressure. Then a dear friend gave me the remnants of a cowhide, the suede side of which created a hungry, toothy surface, which the feathers seemed to love. So did the bits of fur, mica, and other natural materials that I had begun to collect. Within the frames, only the pressure of the glass holds the designs in place. There are no adhesives of any kind. I love the zen quality of this process: take away the glass and blow, and it’s just a bunch of feathers again! For this reason, these works are objects as well as images. Therefore, the measurements accompanying each piece include the height and width of the frame.
In Maine, we go “barking,” which is to say, collecting birchbark for kindling. Birchbark is a miraculous material that contains so much oil, it will burn even if soaking wet. One day in the basement where we’d stored piles of the bark, I started looking at it more closely and arranging small pieces of it together. Then I started looking for larger pieces, then began perusing the woods with a utility knife, looking for downed trees to peel. Pretty soon, friends and neighbors were giving me bark and alerting me to treasure troves of the stuff they stumbled upon.
Another friend gave me a collection of antique window frames and lengths of antique bead board, which became the frames for the birchbark pieces. My late father-in-law left behind some fascinating bits and pieces from a lifetime of tinkering. And then there was that pile of rusty metal–from one of those dumps in the woods you see near old homesites. Rust is so lovely. As are tree fungi, drift wood, old nails, bones and shells…………..
Pat, Dick, Don, Tom, Anto, Jason, Jerry, John & Jane, for all the skills, patience, and materials that I lacked, and especially to Archie, ever ready with encouragement and a rented mini-van!