After the Fact

Little Susy-Paper Doll
“Little Susy”

When the first spark of creativity hits it isn’t always about the meaning of the piece.  It isn’t always about the reason you are drawn to a specific image or scrap of cloth.  That remains the secret part that will speak to you but only if you seek it out and look for it…after the fact.

At least it is for me.  My approach is serendipitously random that seems to hit in cycles.  Like a seed being planted, ideas germinate, sometimes for years, then life energy enters and it grows.  I start pulling items that speak to me, unconsciously matching color and hues then moving to form and shape.  Accepting and rejecting from my “stashes of possibility” as vintage mixes with contemporary.  Finally, adding bits of the amusing because it can’t be helped.

The pieces surprisingly slide together like a jigsaw puzzle giving the same satisfaction of when a piece of a puzzle fits.  When the last piece is in place you think you are done.

There is a treasured time following that is often overlooked unless you are asked to explain the piece.  By looking under the surface you find another dimension of the creative process…a veiled message with meaning behind it.

Libby Custer Paper Doll
“Libbie Custer”

“Libbie” Custer introduced herself to me and her mission in life.  After the defeat at Battle of Little Bighorn, Libbie took it upon herself to publicly defend her husband General George Custer’s legacy since she was not willing for her husband to become a national scapegoat.  In her own right, as an accomplished author and speaker, it took on new meaning for her at the end of the war.  By my making a paper doll of Libbie, she once again found her voice as she encouraged me to defend and support my family’s honor and legacy.

Little Susy-Close Up
“Little Susy”

There’s more to “Little Susy” than just a pretty face.  It seems that joining the head of Raphael’s portrait of a young woman and a fashion models’ relaxed pose brought out a new version of Gretel from the opera “Hansel & Gretel” written in 1893 by Engelbert Humperdinck.  Imagine my surprise when I realized this Engelbert was not the pop singer of the 60s!

Little Flapper-Paper Doll
“Little Flapper”

When it was all said and done, I realized that the “Little Flapper” was the very likeness of my mother as a young woman.  Speaking more to me than I can say.

If I had started out with the intention of creating a version of Libbie Custer, Little Susy and a Little Flapper I would have been bogged down with my tendency to overthink.  However, by providing myself the opportunity to create, all of that was bypassed and took second place for me to discover…“After the Fact”.

Previously printed in Somerset Studio Gallery