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Ellen Anne Eddy
Author of Thread Magic: The Enchanted World of Ellen Anne Eddy Fiber artist, author and teacher
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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Musings: Art Outside the Box: Laughter for Drama Queens

I am a redirected Drama Queen, Daughter of a Drama Queen Delux. My mother was not a happy girl until she had a drama 10 feet high and too wide to get through the door. It was all about telling stories.


Now Margaret Eddy was the queen of all stories. And a serious fan of silly. She told amazing whoppers, one-liners, true tales spun into gold from straw, hopeless lies and astonishing steaming piles. She loved her drama. She had a somewhat loose relationship to truth. She was a devastating school teacher, because much of that could indeed come out in a teacher conference meeting or a family reunion. But she had a special gift for looking within and without. First she's build you a verbal image of herself as she felt about the story. But then she'd draw you into an outer view, where you could see her spinning in what she knew was a silly situation, build for howling laughter.


It happens to me in my quilts. I'm quilting along and I realize that this silly thing I've drafted is someone I know. Or worse, me. There with all my rather small fears and desires. I'm not overly deep. I'm just noisy. At that point, it seems just to the point to let it be silly. I am. It is. And the world is better for it.


This quilt, The Orchid Olympics, wasn't meant to be funny. It just happened. I'd found a great picture of a frog in an odd pose and worked with it. One afternoon in a class demo, I was placing it into the piece and trying to put a sun over his head. It wouldn't go. It just wouldn't go. Not over. Not to the side. 


I looked again at the frog and thought, "If you get into that pose, it has to be for something like the Olympics. No one would willingly bend like that otherwise." The sun fell into her hand like an award and there we were.



Mirror, mirror on the wall, I am my mother after all. But I try never to tell a story on myself until I've found the funny part. Perhaps it helps to be short, round and have a pug nose. My gray hair also makes any silliness forgivable. 

3 comments:

Carol said...

Its a great story.. and wonderful art.

Createology said...

I love your story. I also love your quilt. This saying Mirror Mirror is one that my husband reminds me of far too often as I truly am becoming my mother. I never would have believed it! Your work is stunning. Happy story telling...

wordpoet55 said...

Ellen, thank-you for your honest discussion of the struggles artists deal with in creating their work and having it be acknowledged. Being true to self and self-expression, and having it "fit" somewhere sometimes seems at odds with one another...Congratulations on your success at Quilt National! My Best, joni

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