Laughing Dog Arts

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Key to life

"The key to life is enjoying the passage of time." That is quite a large statement and I'm not sure it is entirely true but it certainly has some truth in it. It is a garbled quote from a James Taylor song, in case it sounds vaguely familiar. James says "the secret to life is enjoying the passage of time". I created this piece when my friend Mary threw down a challenge, after giving 5 of us in the creativity group each a baggie of old keys and asking us to create something using one or more of the keys. We had 2 weeks to work on our projects. Yesterday at our get together we revealed our creations, you can see them here:
I used 3 keys in my mixed media piece, each tied to a rust colored ribbon and held to the background with some beaded stitches.  I long ago made some rust dyed fabric and thought it would be perfect to use some as the background.  Then continuing with the vintage look I used some old photos that Mary had also given me (no one we know) and put it all together using some tea dyed lace, scrim, felt, beads, bottle caps (behind the two smaller photos) and hand stitched it all together, frequently using beads to enhance some areas.  It was fun rummaging around through my collection of crap...I mean, my collection of valuable artifacts to find just the right bits to bring this all together.  As you can see if you have been following along on my art journey for long, this is rather a change of pace for me in its color scheme.  Usually I am all color, all the time.  I quite enjoyed the change.
I might even like to continue along this theme, but use some photos that have personal meaning to me.  I have lots of old family photos from both my mother's and father's sides of my family.  Maybe the theme would be "the key to life is starting with good genes".

My weather here has remained mostly quite cool for summer.  Cool as in the 60's, and wearing sweatshirts all day long.  If the sun comes out it does warm up but mostly it doesn't come out until mid afternoon.  The neighbors have cut my hay field down and we are waiting for it to dry so it can be baled.  With the cool damp weather, it was great for the grass to keep growing so this years hay crop has been much more abundant than usual.  I have been taking pictures that I will share when the whole process is finished.  I'll bet there are a lot of you who have never been involved with the haying process so maybe you will enjoy seeing it.  Until then, I will leave you with this quote:

"There is more to life than increasing its speed."

Slow down, be well.
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April said...

Really, really, really like this piece of art, Jan. You're right in that it isn't your norm, but really, it's you, all the same. I'd like to see you do something with your own family's photos. That would be something special, indeed.

sjmcdowell said...


Yes this piece is quite different from your previous creations, I think you have done a lovely job and yes I would really love to see you make something with your family photos. I love old rusty keys...although I have none lol
but all the same I think they are a work of art unto themselves.
I do not know the haying process and yes please post some pics.

The only HAY quote I know is "Make Hay while the Sunshines"!! Oh and my Moms Aunt Millie
had a farm in Connecticut and when she would hear someone say "Hey" she would say "Hay" is in the Barn!! Yep it sure is corny...ok I will stop now!!

Smiles and blue Skies,


yoborobo said...

Jan - I love this new piece you've done. I think this mixed media (with photos and your treasures) suites your style perfectly! And I agree that we are all too rushed, trying to accomplish too much, and really we should just be like a cat every now and then. Stretch and nap. Bat a dust bunny. Nap again. lol!! xox Pam

Emma said...

Love your key piece - I've always vollected rusty keys & never knew what to do with them till i read Cloth paper Scissors! Also love how you are confident enough to compare your beautiful beaded piece to a funny cartoon - I CAN see the similarity! It's good not to be too precious about our work, but at the same time appreciate its value. Thanks for your comments :)

Anja said...

Dear Jan, this morning having more time I thought about time, purpose and so on. So it is so cute your post has as theme, time the key of life... Your work is very charming in the quit colors of autumn, in its details and the idea to use these old photos. Have a lucky day!

Marlene said...

Love it Jan, very creative. I love the way the bottle caps frame the pictures, who would have guessed bottle caps would make good frames. Your idea of using old family pictures is a great one, what better way to show them off. It is certainly better than having them in boxes and books like mine are.

Mary Fox of Fox On The Run said...

It was so neat to be able to see this in person. Jan, you did a wonderful job on this piece. You have a way of using the most interesting things and producing a masterpiece. I loved the pounded bottle caps for original. My friend, you amaze me.

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

This turned out so nice Jan---I love your rust dyed fabric as you really got some defined color! Most of mine just went yellowish....
Excellent piece. I love old keys so this would have been an interesting challenge for me too.
Very good.
You rock! :D (you use bottlecaps so you rock!)


Cameron said...

Jan, I am a fellow Oregonian, nice to meet you. Yes, the weather has been pretty interesting this summer. Thanks for coming by to visit, and for the nice comments.

audrey said...

Hi Jan.
This key piece is really nice. I like all the elements you used in it and I think the neutral colors add a certain mystery to it.
I may have said this at another time, but I like the idea of a creativity group. Were these friends that just decided to make this an artistic get together, or was this an actual group that you sought out? I am wondering if something like that would be possible for me to get involved in here in my area. I need to do some research.
It would be nice if we could share our weather ~ we would all be happy. Your cool and our heat would make for a nice even mixture of pleasant weather.
♥ audrey

Deborah said...

**gasp** Seriously, I gasped! I LOVE this...the quote you chose and the old photos. Simply fabulous. 60 degrees!?!?! You could come down here and HEAT UP! **blows kisses** Deb

Robbie said...

What a great idea for a challenge! And I enjoyed seeing each of your friends pieces. Love seeing the detail pics of your work! VERY NICE!!!

Approachable Art said...

I'm finally getting a chance to sit down and read blogs... love the last quote, thanks for the reminder. :D

Ces said...


Sorry I have not been here for a looooooong time! I see you are having fun.

I love the quote. but may I please share something with you? I am very superstitious. I am afraid to use photos of people I do not know. My mind will conjure some wild things that will make me stay awake in the middle of the night. :)

sjmcdowell said...

Hi Jan,

Hope your weekend is going well so far.
The weather down here has been sweltering hot, had some rain and then the horrible humidity went up.
I put the ATC in the mail today!!

Talk to you later,

Bunny said...

Hi Jan! As soon as I saw this piece I though Oh not her usual art. I do love it and it is very very vintage. You always come up with wonderful art pieces. I know when I get into doing this art I find it difficult as I am not really an artist. I have so many boxes of goodies for this kind of mixed media. I love to look through it to see what spurs my mind at times it is blank LOL. Lucky you having some cool weather it has been hot as blazes here.

Perlenkatze said...

Jan, I love your hanging, including the word written in there.Thank you for shareing with us

Deborah said...

Oh, you can come to the party KNOW Anne will still be there. Just make sure she doesn't fall asleep in the rubber ducky again.
**kisskiss** Deb

Marie S said...

What a gorgeous piece Jan! I think a change is as good as a vacation. I rarely work in the mor subdued colors, but I am enjoying it too.
You have done this so well. I am looking forward to seeing more of this look!
Love and hugs.

Cameron said...

Jan, Love the pictures of bringing in the hay. We used to have a big field, but we had it mowed. Your place looks great.
I couldn't contact April. Would you thank her for visiting for me. Thanks.