Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Portrait of the artist: Help fund Marjorie Rawson as she recuperates (Hillary Clinton has one of her pieces!)

The artist and son

See more about her work here

Two days before Christmas, Marji Rawson was told that she needs to have immediate back surgery.  A vertebra has shifted forward in her lower lumbar and has no discs, squishing the spinal cord. The diagnosis is called Advanced Spondylolisthesis.  Marji is a full time artist of 28 years. Her lifeblood is show by show. Her winter/spring art shows are cancelled. She can not even make art while recovering. Panic mode button is pressed!

With the surgery happening mid January Marji's life just got shut down for the next 6 months.
Please help in any way that you can by going to this Go Fund Me page. Marji is an outstanding artist. We need her back working & making beautiful art.

And, of course, because I am fascinated by anyone doing anything creative, I wanted to give Marji a chance to talk about her life and art on my blog. Thank you, Marji.

Tell us about your art!
 I salvage and cut up the bodies of vintage cars and trucks in search of and in remembrance of the glory days of road trips and adventure, family drive-in nights and freedom only the open road could deliver. The colorful steel carriages that took us there are resting on hillsides all around us. I rescue the steel in its fun- filled original paint pallets and now weathered patinas to then construct a new wearable journey that you can carry forward into its next adventure. I use cold construction techniques combined with fine and sterling silver to create a modern joyful aesthetic that is ready to hit the road!

My Michigan stone work: I am a Michigan native . I gather stones from the shores of Lake Michigan and combine them with copper, silver and driftwood. I use both hot and cold construction techniques. These pieces are inspired by many years surrounded by the woods and water. Horseback riding with my childhood friend for hours among the pines and stopping to treasure hunt along the way.

I currently live in Beaufort NC. We were aiming to open a gallery in Beaufort by Memorial Day 2020, but I was sidelined by major back surgery. I will be unable to make my work or go on the road for months while a bone graft heals and I regain my strength . Being patient and taking a seat on the bench is not my strong suit! Time for me to learn another life lesson. During this time off of making much of my work I will be able to do the administrative part of getting the gallery ready. I have a list of Artists I would like and they are going to be part of it. I won’t be doing any of the heavy lifting part. The space has been completed for a over a year so that is quite helpful. I can use every bit of help that I can get. Please. 

As a writer, I am always creating out of the things that haunt me somehow. Is it that way for you in your artistic work? What inspires you and why?

An interesting choice of words to move someone to create. Haunt . It seems to have a scary connotation , but I suppose if I think about it as a shadow of sorts. Something I carry with me or that follows me from a faraway place or time .

From as far back as I can remember I was always making things. Creating something . Making something. Something brewing in my bedroom . I had many projects in various stages of completion in my room. My Christmas list was a brand new box of crayons with the sharpener on the back, paint by number , light bright , these clear plastic slotted shapes that i still desperately want again....where are these damn things! I need to made a chandelier!!. Spirograph , the candy worms and creepy crawlers you bake in the oven. Shrinky Dinks. Loved those! All of that. Oh , and cowboy boots.

My mother was a public school teacher and played the clarinet and my Dad an electrical engineer. Both University of Michigan graduates. We lived on a lake about 10 miles outside of Ann Arbor from birth to 10 years old. Those magical years. My mom  was the Girl Scout leader and 4-H leader so we were always learning, making things and she always had a station wagon full of girls. I had those genes and that of an engineer. Figuring out how to make things . Music always playing at our house.

Here is what haunts me. How we bridge the two worlds. The magical youth where all things are safe and possible and the monster across the street. How do both of these worlds exist at the same time. How does a child manage ? Where do they go to find a place where they are in control , no humans to count on and only a language of shapes, colors, texture, sound and nature above and around her for comfort.

I was raped repeatedly by a teenage boy across the street when I was 7 . It went on for a couple of years . He held a gun to my head then pointed it out the window toward our front door where my mother was . He told me if I told anyone he would shoot her. I never said a word. I remember the window, the floor where he had me stand on a stool so I could see our front door, the sink beneath me the smell of cigarettes, the sight of our yard. Bam. Not a word. Buried.

I have since had years of therapy in my early 20’s and have been freed from this bondage of fear and shame/ My therapist a Godsend who lead me though and out the other side of this dark place.

But what this is about is my creative place. How I believe it came to me. I straddled both an idyllic childhood and this monster who could and did swallow me whole and leave me for dead.

I created a language, land and relationship with another world. When I say language it seems to be the best word . Because it was and is an exchange. These things “talk” to me and I “talk’ back. We have a conversation. And it never hurts me. I am never alone even though I create alone. When I went to college I went on a violin performance scholarship. My violin and I spent hours together. I could master it in private. It spoke to me and for me. That is what Art does . It speaks to me and for me only in the language of shape, color texture and the interaction of us and our time here. It is the translation of my conversation made physical .

I used to look through the pages of National Geographic and wonder at the body adornment they made from their backyards. I got them.

These relationships I formed with the earth....Be it water ( I was a champion swimmer) Art, my violin, the horses. This intimacy was shared with THINGS. I could trust those fully. Not people. So I went back to them. Over and over as my trusted friend.

What obsesses you now and why?

The rot and decay of decency and justice cultivated by the GOP aka Party of Trump. The complete disintegration of our Constitution and millions not paying attention. This is how democracy dies. It is on life support. We now have a President who indeed can do whatever he wants. The War on Truth and facts and expertise .

The last hope i have for us is the younger generation coming out to save their own planet and democracy and racism. I attended the Women’s March in DC with a few friends and my daughter who was a Senior in high school at the time. I have hope in women. I have two sons and two daughters ranging from 20 to 30. I have educated them in the power of the vote. They all voted in the 2018 mid terms . They all took friends to vote in the mid terms. I highly doubt that I am alone in showing our adult children how important it is to having respectable, decent and educated leaders.

Some of my new work focuses on fighting back. On hope . On turning the page and giving this country over to the next generation. On women being the fighter pilots of justice. 

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