Bag Lady

They’ve been mounting in stacks for nearly a decade now. What? you might ask. I mean, it could be anything, really, if you know me. I do reuse them, but now I am more prone to saving them. Some are like old friends. First thing I do on a Sunday is take a peek to see if Molejon greets me after I leave Beacon Bagel. I am referring to, if you haven’t guessed already, the brown paper bag. More specifically, a DURO bag–that stalwart container for home-packed lunches, ever since 1953.

I’ve always flipped the bag over to see the names stamped on the bottom, along with a date. This would be the branding of the inspection process. I imagine a person sitting in a factory, day after day, week after week–a life at an assembly line–making sure the bag is sealed to perfection. The glued seam at that most vulnerable spot is connected forever to Molejon, or Wigberto Serpa, or Lizzie Nina, or a dozen or so others that I’ve collected like other women might collect Kate Spades.

The idea of designer bags vs. this humble paper bag has intrigued me to the point where I now have started deconstructing them to isolate the inspector’s name and date, then reassembling them into a flat collage (glued and stitched) using other discards of materials–wrapping paper, packaging, ribbon–that I have saved from gifts given to me. So many times I have been given a handbag as a present, and now I am assembling an essence of a woman’s bag, bringing these names to the forefront to be noticed.

I have a fantasy of actually visiting a factory–in a town that conjures up Norma Rae (in Walton, Kentucky, or Yulee, Florida, or Progreso, Texas, or Jackson, Tennessee). I would love to meet the people that in my small way I am acknowledging. I notice that there is a Duro factory pretty close by–Elizabeth, New Jersey. Not as exotic, perhaps, to this native north-easterner. Besides, I am not sure that my name would pass a criminal background check for bag abduction. That was the scene of the crime when I *accidentally* pilfered an Ikea bag.

I’m making up for it now, I’d like to think.

Dolores Cruz

Dolores Cruz – Oct 04 07

Mili Lara

Mili Lara – Jul 08 10

Duro - Flora Alegria - lo-rez

Flora Alegria – Jan 30 07

all images copyright sharon watts 2013

I almost forgot~ earlier this year I discovered a kindred spirit in Springbyker: http://springbyker.wordpress.com/2011/03/04/who-makes-your-paper-bags/

Assemblage Art in Beacon and on Beguile

It’s cold outside! The art studio (former garage) has no heat, but before I closed the door on it until springtime I had some pieces to finish. A group show was in the wings, and so I had to kick these babies out of the nest. (Did I mention I am part magpie?) Here is some of the “before”:

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And the final results (plus 8 more), which are in a group show entitled Family, at the Mad Dooley Gallery here in Beacon. Featured in the Po-Jo (Poughkeepsie Journal)’s “What Inspires Me” column.

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And over in Paris, some slightly older pieces from my Illumination series are currently featured on the e-zine Beguile.

Illuminate

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So, on the shortest month of the year, a little “show-and-tell” between the shivers!

Mary Janes in Palo Alto

This gallery contains 6 photos.

This year I promised myself I would start to enter more juried exhibitions (the ones that had an entry fee under $25) with my assemblage art. I was disillusioned by the experience of entering a mega-exhibit (read all about it here) … Continue reading

Present Absence

This gallery contains 1 photo.

A recent work has me exploring familiar themes: family, memory, loss, love, connectedness, fragility, strength. A found trinket (the “W” charm) strung on a wire, forms a new type of jewelry/embellishment. My grandmother holds her first child, my father, who … Continue reading